I’ve just returned from a wonderful UK mini-tour for A Superior Spectre, which is now released there by Saraband. My first reviews, in the Daily Mail and The Herald Scotland (both linked here), have been positive, thankfully, and I’m still processing all the events, and the people I met and hung out with along the way. The Edinburgh International Book Festival was the central event, and I shared the stage with Sue Lawrence, whose novel Down to the Sea (I would probably call the genre cosy gothic?) I very much enjoyed. Sue is a well-known cookbook writer in Scotland, and I had the great pleasure of going to the launch afterwards of her Scottish Isles cookbook, which is one of the 15-odd books (!) my partner and I brought home with us.
I am far too jet-lagged to write about every aspect of the trip, but I wanted to get in a quick blog post before work takes over. There are some pics from my events across various social media, and what I am thinking about now, mainly, is people. The people who interviewed me so generously; the people who showed up to support me, including the couple I stayed with and worked for at a guesthouse six years ago in Scotland while the idea for the book was coming together; the writers I chaired, shared stages with, and and got to chat with around events (many of whom I have no doubt I’ll continue to be in touch with); my amazing UK Publisher, Sara; my partner’s family members who ate with us and showed us around; the warm AirBnB hosts we had; and of course my partner, Chris, who was with me the whole time and who helped me balance work with some much-needed patches of time off. Also a shout out to my sister, housemate, and dog-sitter who were ‘team Mallory’ while we were away!
One of the other amazing aspects of the trip was being back in Edinburgh and the Scottish Highlands and islands (all too briefly), and some of the very places that inspired the novel. I spoke at the Tomintoul and Glenlivet Discovery Centre, which was one of the main places of research for Leonora’s setting and time. That was nerve-wracking. The audience was very receptive, though, and I hope they all enjoy the book! I was interviewed by the Highland News and happily the journalist said the book seemed very authentic, so that was relieving. In Edinburgh I went for a walk to find the building that I chose as Leonora’s aunt’s place. And we travelled to the west of Scotland but not quite to the places Jeff goes. Chris discovered (at Talisker) that he does like peaty whisky so returning to Islay one day is definitely on the cards. As we were driving west and the landscape began to change, Chris said things like: ‘I see what you meant by the purple-grey rocks.’ That was satisfying.
While I was away, it was announced that A Superior Spectre made the shortlist for the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction. Wow! This is the fourth shortlist for A Superior Spectre, and I am so honoured to be among such brilliant writers here. You can buy all of the books for Readings via these links:
- A Constant Hum by Alice Bishop
- Inappropriation by Lexi Freiman
- The Flight of Birds by Joshua Lobb
- A Superior Spectre by Angela Meyer
- This Taste for Silence by Amanda O’Callaghan
- The Glad Shout by Alice Robinson
Now that the physical tour for A Superior Spectre has ended in the UK, a blog tour is beginning. Here are the details:
Finally, a list of other things I have coming up:
- Sat 7 Sept: Melbourne Writers Festival | Readings Recommends: New Voices in Local Fiction, with Alice Bishop and JP Pomare
- Sat 21 Sept: Midwinter Words Satellite Event, Portarlington, with Fiona Lowe, Anna Snoekstra and Robert Gott
- Wed 25 Sept: Writing the Rainbow Festival, Melbourne | Speculative Writing, Fearless Storytelling, with Quinn Eades and Marlee Jane Ward, chaired by Justine Hyde
- Thu 26 Sept: The Martians are Coming, Melbourne | Event for War of the Worlds: Battleground Australia. Guest authors include: Jack Dann, Kerry Greenwood, Carmel Bird, Janeen Webb, Sean Williams, Lindy Cameron, Narrelle M Harris, Lucy Sussex, Rick Kennett and Dmetri Kakmi
- Sat 12 Oct: WORKSHOP | Conflict and tension: essential elements of page-turning fiction | Writers Victoria
- 14 Oct to 11 Nov: FABER ACADEMY COURSE (Melbourne) | Editing Your Own Writing
- 31 Oct to 5 Nov: Terror Australis Readers and Writers Festival (Huon Valley, Tasmania) | Various events
- Dec: release of Joan Smokes, my novella
Work is also very busy, as always, and among all this I’ll be working partly from NSW as I have some family stuff going on, so I expect to catch up on sleep around Christmas time… Not to mention work on my new novel!