Thursday, 1 November 2018

Publication day

I used to wonder what it'd be like, as an author, on the day your book - the baby you've lovingly and painstakingly brought up for three, four or five years - is finally published.

At one time I imagined lavish parties at offices of the publisher in London attended by all manner of the literati, plus maybe on or two celebrities (the gliterati).

But I've written (and had published) enough books now to know that doesn't often happen. So what does?

Well, let me tell you what happened today - the day on which my latest book, The Glorious Dead, was launched upon the world.

First up (after the daily school run) was a trip to the dentist. Time and tide might wait for no man and a publisher's lead time might be long. But it's nothing compared to the waiting list to see the dentist.

So, check-up and a rather vigorous scale-and-polish over, it was home for breakfast before BBC Radio Humberside phoned for a telephone interview. (You can listen to it here, approx. 17 mins in.)

I really like these interviews. Although you'd think (having been provided with a crib sheet by the publicist) they'd all ask pretty similar questions there's always something new, or a new angle on an old question.

Yesterday it was machine-gun cleaning rods on BFBS (that's changed since the days of Cliff Mitchelmore and Jean Metcalfe). Today it was trench songs, which was appropriate as - straight after - I was booked for a Great War sing-a-long as part of the Remembrance Festival at St Botolph's, Boston Stump.

That's me at the front with the alarmingly bald pate...

And that was about that. I spent most of the afternoon (after an hour's singing) talking to the many people who'd turned up, some of whom had fascinating personal anecdotes about relatives who'd served in the Great War.

Every one of their stories was worth hearing. There was the man whose father served in both World Wars, and the lady whose father survived the trenches only to be lost at sea doing his day job as fisherman in world war two.

Ultimately that's what I hope I've been doing for the last five years of writing: telling some of the stories of the conflict, in my case the forgotten stories of the men who served their King and Country first with a rifle, then with a shovel - stories of men whose deeds are well worth telling.

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