A Year of Orenda – The Orenda Roadshow – Day Three: The Wirral

I bet you thought I’d forgotten to prep this post didn’t you? I haven’t, honestly, but as much fun as it is being back home and seeing the kitties again, the problem with being back home is that I have to do all the ‘being at home stuff’ as well as the ‘having fun with all the books’ stuff. Annoying but essential.

After a chilly but pleasant walk to the station in Thornaby yesterday, I had a relatively uneventful train journey back to Stafford where I think I perhaps saw a representation of all the seasons in one single day. Sunshine, snow, floods … I got it all, thankfully from within a nice warm and comfortable train carriage. Met Mandie at the station and after a quick trip home, headed off for a bite to eat before we made out way to Neston on the Wirral for the third of the Orenda Roadshows.

Held at the Cricket Club in Neston, and sponsored by Lingham’s Booksellers from Heswall, it was a lovely room and all set up for a perfect evening of bookishness. Being a proper function room it even had its own bar, as well as plenty of space for the authors and their lovely, lovely books.

As per tradition, and you are probably all used to the format by now, Karen introduced the authors one by one and they all gave a bit more information about themselves and their latest books. You never know quite what to expect from any of the authors as the week passes, and each time the introductions get more and more playful (or in some cases – risqué) which means it is always kept fresh.

Last night the panel was made up of the same team as in Stockton, namely: Helga Flatland (A Modern Family); Kjell Ola Dahl (Sister); Will Carver (Nothing Important Happened Today); Michael J Malone (In The Absence of Miracles); Matt Wesolowski (Beast); Simone Buchholz (Mexico Street); Antti Tuomainen (Little Siberia); Thomas Enger (Death Deserved); Louise Beech (I Am Dust); Vanda Symon (Containment); Helen Fitzgerald (Ash Mountain); and Johana Gustawsson (Blood Song).

Each of the authors gave a reading, slightly different passages this time to keep it fresh, as much for themselves as anyone. I love hearing them reading from the books as it gives me a reminder of just how brilliant the books were to read, as well as getting me all excited to read the ones I have read yet. I cannot wait to tuck into Kjell Ola Dahl’s Sister, and hearing a bit more from Ash Mountain by Helen FtizGerald, I’m really looking forward to that one too. This time the reading was all about cheese. Who knew the allure of camembert? We were also treated to a reading from one of the Vlog posts from Beast by Matt Wesolowski. I can exclusively reveal he would have made a terrible young woman. I mean the nuances were almost there, but just not quite …

Questions followed with one for Matt W about why he chose to write about vampires – quite simply because he has been obsessed with them since childhood – and to Thomas Enger about writing in partnership with Jørn Lier Horst. Other questions included whether, being international authors, the writers wrote with the idea of foreign readership in mind, and what it felt like seeing their work translate to screen.

One final question was thrown in – which of their protagonists would they want to be and why. Some surprising (and not so surprising answers maybe) – Matt W wanted to be the vampire, Thomas Enger would like to be Emm Ramm, Helen F wanted to be Mary from Worst Case Scenario, Will C had a hankering for being an angry cult leader and Antti wanted to be Jakko from The Man Who Died, but only because he got to eat a lot of ice cream before he died. There do seem easier ways of getting people to buy you a cornetto …

Because I will be around at all events all week, I’m introducing a few authors a day. Today it’s over to three of our favourite international authors, Antti Tuomainen, Thomas Enger and Kjell Ola Dahl. You can do your own reading from the book by following the links below to read the ‘free preview’.

Little Siberia – Antti Tuomainen

A man with dark thoughts on his mind is racing along the remote snowy roads of Hurmevaara in Finland, when there is flash in the sky and something crashes into the car. That something turns about to be a highly valuable meteorite. With euro signs lighting up the eyes of the locals, the unexpected treasure is temporarily placed in a neighbourhood museum, under the watchful eye of a priest named Joel.

But Joel has a lot more on his mind than simply protecting the riches that have apparently rained down from heaven. His wife has just revealed that she is pregnant. Unfortunately Joel has strong reason to think the baby isn’t his. As Joel tries to fend off repeated and bungled attempts to steal the meteorite, he must also come to terms with his own situation, and discover who the father of the baby really is.

Transporting the reader to the culture, landscape and mores of northern Finland Little Siberia is both a crime novel and a hilarious, blacker-than-black comedy about faith and disbelief, love and death, and what to do when bolts from the blue – both literal and figurative – turn your life upside down.

Death Deserved – Thomas Enger & Jørn Lier Horst

Oslo, 2018. Former long-distance runner Sonja Nordstrøm never shows at the launch of her controversial autobiography, Always Number One. When celebrity blogger Emma Ramm visits Nordstrøm’s home later that day, she finds the door unlocked and signs of a struggle inside. A bib with the number ‘one’ has been pinned to the TV.

Police officer Alexander Blix is appointed to head up the missing-persons investigation, but he still bears the emotional scars of a hostage situation nineteen years earlier, when he killed the father of a five-year-old girl. Traces of Nordstrøm soon show up at different locations, but the appearance of the clues appear to be carefully calculated … evidence of a bigger picture that he’s just not seeing…

Blix and Ramm soon join forces, determined to find and stop a merciless killer with a flare for the dramatic, and thirst for attention.

Trouble is, he’s just got his first taste of it…

Sister – Kjell Ola Dahl

Suspended from duty, Detective Frølich is working as a private investigator, when his girlfriend’s colleague asks for his help with a female asylum seeker, who the authorities are about to deport. She claims to have a sister in Norway, and fears that returning to her home country will mean instant death.

Frølich quickly discovers the whereabouts of the young woman’s sister, but things become increasingly complex when she denies having a sibling, and Frølich is threatened off the case by the police. As the body count rises, it becomes clear that the answers lie in an old investigation, and the mysterious sister, who is now on the run…

A dark, chilling and up-to-the-minute Nordic Noir thriller, Sister is also a tense and well-plotted murder mystery with a moving tragedy at its heart, cementing Kjell Ola Dahl as one of the greatest crime writers of our generation.

I topped up my book collection again last night with three more me books – Death Deserved, Ash Mountain and I Am Dust. So thrilled to see my quote on the back of I Am Dust as well as Death Deserved too – super special covers for me there. And now look at my Orenda Shelfie. All of the books so far available (plus a couple of pre-publication proofs) and all but 15 of them will be signed by the end of this week. Yay.

I am loving my Orenda shelves.

Off to pick up Mandie and our friend Lou this afternoon to head off to Southwell for day four. Cannot wait.

Have a brilliant day all.


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