Image Credit: Unless otherwise stated, all images were taken by Allison Symes
Book events can be like buses. None for ages, then two at once! This week’s post is about Richard Hardie’s book signing and reading event at Eastleigh Library last Saturday, 14th October. I was able to get to this event and was promptly enrolled into Richard’s Temporal Detective Agency as a result but more on that later.
The library was packed with Cubs and Brownies. Richard had been asked to open the Eastleigh Library Uniform Day and the youngsters were also working towards their Book Reading badges. The Uniform Day was also part of the Love Your Library Week. The youngsters all had clipboards and were working their way through questions.
Richard was a mine of information and his top fact of the day was knowing exactly how many books/magazines and articles are in Eastleigh Library. If anyone would fancy a guess at this, do write in via the comments box! All I will say it is an impressive amount.
Richard also came prepared with props for his book table. I liked the Sherlock hat.
Cub and Brownie leaders were on hand, directing the youngsters to the book events going on at the library. (Richard’s event wasn’t the only one).
I must admit it was good to see a packed library. The more we can support the libraries, the better. Where writers are concerned, it is very much a two-way relationship, as it should be. Writers draw people into libraries and people can often discover a favourite author for the first time thanks to having discovered their works on the library shelves.
Book events like the Uniform Day help boost the profile of the library, the authors taking part, as well as encouraging youngsters to read. Any one of these is a good idea. Having the three together in one big event is even better.
Richard himself was a Scout Leader and wrote and produced Gang Shows and met the late great Terry Pratchett as part of that.
Richard read from his YA fantasy series, Leap of Faith (which was followed by Trouble With Swords. Summaries of both books are below).
The books follow the adventures of 14-year-old Tertia, her friends Unita and Marlene, and Merlin who form the Temporal Detective Agency so they can solve crimes across time, past and future.
Richard signed books, chatted to parents and children about his characters and how his fiction is based on facts. (A lot of fiction often is, it is what gives stories their “ring of truth”).
Leap of Faith
Merlin is a good-looking woman and madly in love with Arthur, but that’s only the start of the story. Tertia, Unita and Marlene know what they want to be… detectives with a difference. Bored with the lack of opportunity in 5th century Camelot they start up the Temporal Detective Agency and use the great Merlin’s Time Portal to relocate from Camelot to the 21st century mostly because the cases are more interesting, but also because the toilet facilities are so much better.
Trouble With Swords
When Arthur’s sword Excalibur is stolen the Temporal Detective Agency is called in to protect not only Arthur and Merlin, but to stop a very clever and cruel person from destroying Camelot itself. To make things worse, this time the TDA has no idea who they’re fighting.
The books are a good fun read (and will be available at the forthcoming Book Fair on 28th October too, so if you missed Richard at the library, do come and meet him at the Age Concern Centre in Brownhill Road. A wide range of other local authors will be there covering a good range of genres – I know, I’m another one!).
Richard enrolled enthusiastic youngsters into his Temporal Detective Agency with a special stamp. This brought back memories for me of belonging to the old I-Spy club – anyone remember that?
I trust those of us enrolled into the TDA will now NOT be sent off across time and space to solve adventures as I honestly think we are better off leaving that to Tertia and friends in Richard’s highly entertaining novels. And now for Richard’s report.
“Hampshire is one of the most progressive counties when it comes to its libraries and the events it holds in them. Today I had the honour of being asked to open the Eastleigh Library Uniform Day, as part of their Love Your Library week. The uniforms were mostly worn by 38 local Cubs and Brownies working towards their Book Reading badges, and for the most part achieving them. The kids were great, as were their parents, and of course so were the wonderful staff and volunteers in the library who made sure everything ran smoothly.
The event started when I gave a talk on the magic of words and what makes a book. In other words the What (plot), Who (characters), When (what era), Why (how do the characters relate to plot) and How (does the whole thing work as a whole). I then gave a reading of the first chapter from my first book Leap of Faith, which was loosely based on one of the Scout and Guide Association Gang Shows I wrote many years ago.
The kids seemed to like it, especially the humour!
The event started at 11.00am and finished at 3.00pm and was a phenomenal success. It just goes to show what our libraries can do when they’re allowed to. They add so much value to the community and we need to do anything we can to help them remain vibrant.”
Well done to Richard and all at Eastleigh Library for a successful and fun event. Many thanks also to Heather at the Library for providing tea for Richard and myself. You do a lot of talking at events like this (even when you’ve gone to support a fellow writer as while, they’re busy, you can talk about what is going on to others who pop along to visit the stand). The tea was much appreciated!
I hope the Cubs and Brownies, once they have their book badges, go on to develop a life long love of reading, whether they read YA fantasy or other genres. There are incredible books out there, fiction and non-fiction, and the Library Service is a great way to explore these and to help you discover what authors are out there. So keep reading!
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.
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