Two weeks ago, I travelled to Lagos, Nigeria, where I had been invited to take part in a literary festival. For security reasons, due to the risk of robbery and kidnap, I was met by an armed guard. Yesterday, arriving at Edinburgh Airport for a three day author tour of schools across Angus, I came through the Arrivals door to be greeted by two short ladies from the Scottish Book Trust.
Straight away, I knew that Beth and Antonia had prepared for the drive to Montrose – just south of Dundee. They packed sandwiches, not guns, along with a selection of chocolate treats. I was in safe hands.
Today, after a night clinging to life in a hotel room generously described as ‘a bit parky’, I visited Arbroath High School and Monifieth High School. Both sessions were brilliant, with full central heating and a great deal of enthusiasm from the students.
We talked about the family at the heart of my novel, The Savages, and their particular taste in people, as well as focusing on the importance of staring out of the window as part of the creative process. The questions were great. A highlight for me was ‘What’s the worst mistake you’ve ever made on the radio?’, which had me mentally thumbing through the dossier in my mind.
I’m also deeply touched by the presentation of gifts at the end of each session. Is this customary around here? Either way, after meeting so many enthusiastic young writers and readers I look forward to tomorrow’s events with great enthusiasm (and a taste for chocolate).