Autumn Exhibition Lake Road Chapel

13th September - 23rd September (closed Sundays)

10.00am – 6.00pm daily Closes at 4.00pm on the last day

OASIS AT ALL SAINTS’ Starting a new season of services after our summer break will be an Oasis Service looking at the Desert Fathers’ and Mothers’, early Christian hermits who had a major influence on the development of Christianity

Come and join us at 6.00pm on Sunday 8th September Refreshments afterwards All welcome!


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I’ve been doing quite a lot of promotion for my book recently, giving talks about it and signing copies of it at literary festivals, in libraries, bookshops and museums. It’s great fun but after doing this for all these years, it still feels very strange to sit and have people come up to you shyly and ask if you can sign their book. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to that. I mean,

something real writers do,


that’s Not

someone who clatters

away on a cat-hair-covered laptop with the hairs’ owner melted over their legs like a Salvador Dali clock.

It’s now almost a year since ‘A Cat’s Guide To The Night Sky’ came out - crazy! I know! And almost three years since I handed in the proposal. Of the nine books I’ve had published to date, it’s by far my most successful yet: it’s on sale in 20 different countries; it’s won an award and been up for several others; my publisher, Laurence King, is so delighted with its success, that we’re looking at follow-ups. In some ways that are hard to explain, that book has changed my life and every time I see it on a shelf, or being taken to a counter, I feel enormously proud.

But it’s time to move on.

The publishing world moves on quickly and without mercy which took a bit of getting used to. Before your book is published, things are reasonably calm, even though there’s a deadline hanging over you like that T-Rex looming over the guy in Jurassic Park who took shelter in a toilet. Then, as publication day approaches, it goes a bit nuts. There are writing blog interviews to give, promotional material to write, daily craziness - and then it’s P Day, Publication Day! Thunder booms! Lightning flashes! Suddenly it’s real and you’re bombarded with congratulations and best wishes and attention and it’s all a bit of a haze. Scrolling through your social media feeds and shaking hands at your book launch, you feel


like Sally Field at the Oscars. “You like me! You really like me!”

...and then a couple of months later, the spotlight sweeps on to someone else and your

book of is just

another book on the shelves

under the weight of millions Your their

publisher is just has next book to

promote and things go quiet again. The thunder rumble

a in

distance lightning away...

and has

the the


But that’s ok, that’s just the way it works. Then you have a choice - you either sit back in the shadows and watch that spotlight slide away, or you grab a torch like Jeff Goldblum did in Jurassic Park, wave it at the T-Rex, shout “Hey! Over here!” and organise your own promotion. And that’s what I did - with the full support of my publisher I hasten to add. I organised my own ‘author events’ just to keep my book in the light and out of the shadows. It’s hard work but great fun.

But it is time to move on. And maybe take this writing lark a bit more seriously.

So, I’ve started the Quest all serious writers eventually embark upon: the Quest to Find an Agent! As Quests go in terms of difficulty and danger, it’s right up there with the quests to find the Holy Grail and the One Ring, or a parking space in Kendal but it must be done. It’s possible to go it alone but you have more chance of success if you have someone in your corner fighting for you. And as supportive as Jess is, she can’t negotiate contracts for me, or tell a publisher I’d be ‘perfect!’ for that new book they’re planning.

So. Ok then. Here we go! Time to leave the comfort of The Shire and go out into the world with my laptop and Lembas Bread.

I’ll let you know what happens... Stuart Atkinson

ISSUE 434 | 22 AUGUST 2019 | 3

groaning books.


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