Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Coast to Coast for the Appledore Festival

Once you have a book published, you'll notice a strange thing. Invitations to speak about your writing flow in from all over the world... London, Belfast, Malta, and San Francisco are just a few of the places I've visited as a published author. Yet we are rarely asked to attend our local events! Writing about the legendary King Arthur, though, I've had the pleasure of doing a bit more local publicity, and this week saw me visiting schools in my home county of Devon for Appledore Festival.

I should probably explain for those who don't live in the west country that North Devon and South Devon are two distinct areas, since Devon is the only county in England to boast two separate coastlines. I live on the busy south coast, known as the English Riviera, connected to London by the mainline and a soon-to-be-finished bypass. Appledore is a small fishing village on the north coast. Getting from here to there might not be very far in miles, but it's still an adventure on a rattling branch line (called the Tarka Line after one of my favourite childhood books Tarka the Otter), where a very short train crawls past scenic little stations and makes its way through the local foliage looking for stray passengers who might want to board - it doesn't stop unless you wave at it! But it carried me safely to Barnstaple station, where the lovely Polly fortified me with coffee before driving me to our first school, Pilton Community College, so I could introduce Year 8 to Rhianna Pendragon and friends:


Rhianna Pendragon, Prince Elphin, Squire Cai, and Maid Arianrhod

Today I am reading... Sword of Light
With many Merlin fans in the audience, the books went down well, and afterwards I signed bookplates for readers keen to get hold of the series. (Muse: they were nicely done with a border of small knights riding around the edge, but I can't show you one since Katherine left all the spares with the librarian in case anyone who couldn't get to the talk wanted to buy a book later... if that's you, remember to ask her for one!)


After a short drive through the Devon countryside, we arrived at Great Torrington and took a detour into town for a quick cup of tea (and cake) at a family-run bakers, served us by a 91-year old famous enough to have had his portrait painted... by the time I get to 91, I hope I'll be famous enough for a portrait too. Then Polly drove me to Great Torrington Community School, where we were treated to lunch in the library (and more cake), before my talk to their Year 10 history group.

Now, I know 'Year 10' and 'history' might sound rather serious when said in the same breath, but here we are proving that you're never too old for a bit of dressing up...

Me wearing the Crown of Dreams

The girls with Excalibur* and Pendragon books
* Muse safety note: plastic sword, not the real one - which to my knowledge is now in Avalon.

After school, fellow Templar author CJ Busby, who writes a King Arthur series for younger readers, picked me up at the gates to take me home for tea and delicious homemade scones. (Muse tip: do not wear tight clothes on an author visit if you want to make room for all the cakes!)

Here is CJ at her local station, where she expertly flagged down the train so she could get rid of me I could get on.

CJ Busby, author of the "Frogspell" series
Another rattle back down the Tarka Line, one last quick gallop over the platform bridge at Exeter station, and I was on the home run...watching the sun go down over the Teign estuary, even as I had watched it rise on my out.



If you missed my talks and would like to know more about my books, please visit my website www.katherineroberts.co.uk or leave a comment below.
 


 
GRAIL OF STARS publishes in hardcover on 1st October and is available for preorder now:
from my publisher
from amazon
 


   

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