A Year of Orenda – The Orenda Roadshow – Day Five: Penarth

So that is that. Another year of #OrendaRoadshows draws to a close with one final event at the Glamorganshire Golf Club in Penarth, hosted by the town’s own Griffin Books. Despite the terrible weather, cancelled and delayed trains, land slips and upcoming the threat of Storm Jorge, a really good crowd made the journey to what was a fun, funny and bookish filled night. The perfect swansong for another brilliant Orenda tour.

This time around we have yet another slightly different set up with the lucky audience getting to hear from thirteen!!! authors, with local author Matt Johnson joining the throng for the final night. Attending the Penarth session were: Matt Johnson (End Game); Thomas Enger (Death Deserved); Will Carver (Nothing Important Happened Today); West Camel (Attend); Simone Buchholz (Mexico Street); Vanda Symon (Containment); Johana Gustawsson (Blood Song); Matt Wesoloswki (Beast); Antti Tuomainen (Little Siberia); Michael J Malone (In The Absence of Miracles); Kjell Ola Dahl (Sister); Louise Beech (I Am Dust); and Helen FitzGerald (Ash Mountain).

There were some absolutely brilliant readings from all of the authors, resulting in a lot of oohing and ahhhing. More importantly, it resulted in a lot of book buying and Mandie and I spoke with a few people who had been enticed into buying books by the authors because of the event – exactly what it was designed for. Antti Tuomainen caused a few laughs as he compared the … intricacies (?) … of the Welsh language to that of Finnish – both being completely incomprensible 😉. And Louise Beech stirred up the laughter in telling the audience how one of her characters was beaten to death with her own theatre awards. That hasn’t failed to draw a laugh all week for some reason. It was possibly only beaten by her description of her soon to be scripted (?), madonna-esque erotica novel which had Karen Sullivan looking on in a mixture of dread and despair …

To finish off the week, it’s time to shine the spotlight on the remaining authors of the tour – Will Carver, West Camel and Matt Johnson, all three of whom write absolutely brilliant books. You can join in with a read-along of their books by following the links below:

Nothing Important Happened Today – Will Carver

Nine suicides
One Cult
No leader

Nine people arrive one night on Chelsea Bridge. They’ve never met. But at the same time, they run, and leap to their deaths. Each of them received a letter in the post that morning, a pre-written suicide note, and a page containing only four words: Nothing important happened today.

That is how they knew they had been chosen to become a part of the People Of Choice: A mysterious suicide cult whose members have no knowledge of one another.

Thirty-two people on that train witness the event. Two of them will be next. By the morning, People Of Choice are appearing around the globe; it becomes a movement. A social media page that has lain dormant for four years suddenly has thousands of followers. The police are under pressure to find a link between the cult members, to locate a leader that does not seem to exist.

How do you stop a cult when nobody knows they are a member?

Attend – West Camel

As the threads of their lives unravel … they find magic under their feet…

When Sam falls in love with South London thug Derek, and Anne’s best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah.

Seamstress, sailor, story-teller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, the mysterious world that lies beneath their feet and, ultimately, the solution to their crises.

With echoes of Armistead Maupin and a hint of magic realism, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters that you will never forget.

End Game – Matt Johnson

Robert Finlay seems to have finally left his SAS past behind him and is settled into his new career as a detective. But when the author of a book about secret operations goes missing, along with his agent and an explosive new manuscript, it’s clear that Finlay’s troubles are far from over.

With his friend and former colleague, Kevin Jones, in trouble, and police complaints branch gunning for them both, Robert teams up with MI5 agent Toni Fellowes to find out who’s behind the growing conspiracy. Their quest soon reveals a plot that goes to the very heart of the UK’s security services.

End Game, the final part in the critically acclaimed Robert Finlay trilogy, sees our hero in an intricate and terrifyingly fast-paced race to uncover the truth and escape those who’d sooner have him dead than be exposed.

Some great questions followed on how important setting was to the authors – opinions on that one varied greatly, from Matt Wesolowski making his up, many of the authors, including Simone Buchholz and Michael Malone saying that setting was absolutely key and Will Carver not wanting setting to be important at all as he never wanted his readers to feel comfortable. With additional questions including how Johana chose which period of history to write about, much of which is actually stemming from her own family history (apart from Keeper as she is not knowingly related to Jack The Ripper), if Louise Beech sees each of her stories as reinventing herself (hence the Madonna comment above), and which books in their genre the authors wish they could have written and why, it was a great night with a great crowd.

I topped up my Orenda collection and so I now have all the latest releases (and pre-releases) up to date and signed. I’ve done my good deed for the week and so there will be a few lucky folks receiving signed copies of books from their favourite authors next week, plus we picked up a few books for giveaways on the blog too – watch this space.

It has been an absolutely fabulous, if tiring, week. Lord knows how the authors cope as they have to stay alert and entertaining while I just have to listen and take a few pictures, and I have to say a thank you to them all for indulging me (I must have had multiple of so many of their books signed over the course of the week and I am sure they were sick of the sight of me by last night). They’ll be glad to hear that there is no more stalking planned until the summer (well – next week for two of them but they have been warned …).

This was another absolutely brilliant week of Orenda Roadshows and if you managed to get to any, I’m sure you will all agree with that sentiment. The events were all so well received, and the bookshops did a cracking job and a roaring trade so thanks to all five for making it a brilliant week. It was fabulous to see so many familiar faces attending the tour, as well as getting to meet some fellow bloggers like Lorraine of My Journey Finding My Voice, Susan of Books Are My Cwtches and Karen of Booker Talk for the first time last night.

If you’d like a reminder of the week that was, or to see what you may have missed and what you can expect when you join them next year (because you will want to join them next year), you can find the other roadshows spotlights here:

Day One – Glasgow
Day Two – Stockton
Day Three – The Wirral
Day Four – Southwell

I hope you all have a brilliant week. I am going to be catching up on both reading and sleep (probably in that order although I’ve had a nice nanna nap this afternoon, hence the late post). I don’t know about you but I cannot wait to see what else Orenda Books have to offer this year as I already know of one or two absolutely amazing sounding titles heading our way. And so many more festivals to stalk them at for those who missed out this time. A ‘little birdie’ tells me that if you’d like to meet one of Orenda’s newest stars, a trip to Newcastle Noir or Crimefest might be a very good idea. Just saying …

See you soon.


5 thoughts on “A Year of Orenda – The Orenda Roadshow – Day Five: Penarth

    1. Thank you. It’s definitely a fun evening and a highlight of the calendar. This is definitely a one off for our ongoing feature though. I genuinely have no idea how the authors do it!

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  1. It was a fabulous evening – so much talent on display. Really impressive that Orenda brought authors from all over the world, creating a very international feel.
    And yes, it was great to meet you at last 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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