Sunday, 24 October 2010

Wychwood at The Whitby Bookshop

So, my late October resolution has been to make a proper blog. Instead of haphazardly throwing the occasional picture on here, I thought I might actually, y'know... write something. (Writing is, afterall, what I'm supposed to do for a living).

If you've glanced at my Facebook page or blog over recent months, you'll probably know that my first children's book was published by Macmillan on the 1st of October. (You'll know this because of my incessant ranting, whining, grumbling and general hysteria on the subject for the best part of the last 6 months).

Everyone always tells you, or at least I've gleaned the impression from author and
illustrator friends, that having a book published changes your life not one whit. When you're starry-eyed and idealistic, you feel like having a book published would be a shining pinnacle of success in an otherwise unmarked existence. Unfortunately, when it actually happens, and you find that your beloved book ranks 145,000,000 in the miry morass of the Amazon bestseller list, there's a crashing realisation of one thing - that the fate of most books is to be forgotten about (if you're lucky enough to have readers to forget you).

I started this post feeling happy, and somehow seem to have taken a
wrong turn and ended up in some dolorous back alley. Yet, the truth is that I'm still happy, and I'll tell you why...

Yesterday, I held an event at The Whitby bookshop. It's one of my
favourite bookshops in the WORLD. If you imagine a bookshop in
your warmest, most glowing memories of childhood - that would be the
Whitby Bookshop. (It comes complete with a fantastically creaky

wooden spiral staircase, which every good bookshop needs, in my

Yesterday was a bleak, rain-lashed sort of day, and after decorating the
children's section with Wychwood paraphernalia, I traitorously curled up
in an armchair in the corner with an Oliver Jeffers picture book and a
stack of cutting-out. People came and went, my friend Mary popped in
and out, offering (as always) steadfast encouragement an
d support. It was lovely to just sit and chat with people, talk about the book, and help the little ones with their fairy treasure-hunting.

I met a lovely family from Leeds who (despite the weather) had ventured to the frozen Yorkshire coast, a local family with a very bright little girl with literary aspirations, and the fantastic Wynne, organiser of the
Whitby family festival.

Pondering it all this morning, I'm left with a sense of wonder that even in a far from perfect world, you can find the most extraordinary kindness in strangers.

(Thankyou to Mary for being generally wonderful, lovely Catherine for taking the photos, and T, this morning, for the emergency use of a sofa and the beautiful teacups).

I'm at The Whitby Bookshop again tomorrow afternoon (Monday the 25th of October), so if you feel like a chat, a fairycake, or have little ones who would enjoy some glittery craft activities, do drop by!


  1. The Whitby bookshop sounds like heaven! I love your blog's new look, and don't worry about those pesky amazon rankings. Think about how many children are going to be delighted to be given The Wychwood Fairies and to get to open all those wonderful envelopes and twiddle with the fiddly bits and follow Aunt Harriet's adventures. No one who reads your book is going to forget it!xxx

  2. Awww Claire, I know exactly how frantically busy you are and I'm SO touched you took the time to post a comment!

    I'm trying to not be as obsessive over the amazon ranking - a lady posted an absolutely lovely review this morning. (I, loser that I am, cried at it). Thankyou for being so lovely!

    F xxxx

  3. Like the new look blog ;) Whitby bookshop sounds (and looks) heavenly. I know it must be easy to get obsessed about amazon rankings, but your book is adorable and has so much more to offer. I think its a triumph and I'm sure many others will too. That's got to be worth more than pesky ratings! xx

  4. Aw Nix, thankyou! The Whitby bookshop is beautiful - you must come to visit - you'd LOVE it. And you're right, the fact that it's appreciated by the people who read it is MUCH more important than stupid ratings. xxx