Thursday, July 24, 2008

Next week, Agatha Christie

I have suddenly become acutely self-conscious about walking into bookshops. If I do it with anyone else, you can guarantee my book is either not there or stashed on a dusty shelf on the third floor under the heading "We've put it here because we don't think you're going to want to buy it." I walked into a London store for a signing and my Penguin minder told the assistant behind the desk: "We're here for the author signing" and the assistant behind the desk said: "What's the name?" and the nice girl from Penguin said: "Judith" and he said: "Judith who?". That gave me a nice warm feeling. (Infinitely better was the shop we went into which said one of the books had been stolen.) If I am left to walk in on my own, I am forced to wander the shop till I see the book on a table or a shelf; then I have to look at it for a long time to make sure it will not disappear into thin air. When I find a copy, I have been known to move it around to a better place in the bookshop which is a bit sad and apparently what Jeffrey Archer does with his books. The other day I was in a bookshop in the nearest city and was standing next to two women. I was trying to take a photograph of my book because the bookshop had kindly put it in their chart (I know it's not a cool thing to do but hey what do I care? Next time I go in, there will probably be the history of the SAS or a TV cookbook in its place.) The problem was, the two women were right infront of it. I manouvred my mobile phone infront of them by dislocating then telescopically extending my left arm, and just as I pressed the "take-a-picture-complete-with-flash" function, I realised one of the women actually had a copy of Wife in the North in her hands and was saying to her friend something along the lines of "I don't know how she did this." Now, it could have been a prelude to a conversation along the lines of "...set up a blog while being sad and wrote a funny book and had kids and got this shop to sell it. Good on her." Or, it could have been a prelude to another conversation completely which would have sounded more like "...persuaded someone to pay her good money for her wittering, moaning-minny, geek diary." The flash went off at the exact same moment I realised what was happening leaving me no time to scurry away between the 3 for 2 summer reads. I did that breathy laugh thing that announces you to be an utter tosser as they turned around, and said: "That's my book. I wrote that book. Heh, heh." How sad did that look? One of them said: "Really this is your book?" It was definitely one of those moments where you think: "Oh my God. Can I get any more uncool here?" It turned out the girl who was about to tell her friend exactly what she thought of my book (little knowing writer-polizei stalked the shop waiting to pounce on shopfloor critics) also used to live in London and moved to Northumberland. Her friend made me sign the copy. I said: "If I sign it, you'll have to buy it." She said that was OK. I signed it with my name. I felt like signing it: "Walls have ears y'kna."
(On holiday for a week. Back in a while.)

50 comments:

Norman said...

Ah know the feelin, hinny. Like I walk into a gallery that's showing my paintings and try to resist the temptation to not be a fly on the wall.
Then the gallery owner/curator sees me... cover blown! Drat!!

Miriam said...

You are certainly having fun with this book, and that's the most important thing. We're having fun with you, and thank you for that. Have a good holiday, mimi

Tara@From Dawn Till Rusk said...

Having a book stolen from the store has got to be a good thing? Shows somebody wanted is sooo badly they were prepared to break the law to get it. I'd grab that as a cool mark in your favour!

ItsFairComment said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mutleythedog said...

I am waiting for my next copy till it is in the 3 for 2 section is Asda! I am sorry about the one I stole.... also the copies from the book launch? You did know they were dummies right? I got 2.99 on ebay for mine...

mutleythedog said...

also that Fir Comment bloke is a bit of an arse... are they all like that oop north?

Pam said...

It was probably my mate who stole it as I didn't want to buy the American version and she promised to get me one, sorry. I thought the US version might have been different?
Have a fab holiday.

alfmcmalf said...

In Martin Amis's "Experience" (now that really is a funny well written book)- he describes the moment he first spotted someone reading The Rachel Papers on the tube - he thought to himself that he had better get used to that type of experience. He records that sadly that has never happened to him again.

A lesson I think in doing more reading rather than writing or doing more listening rather than talking.

I rather like itsfaircomment's POV.

meet me at mikes. a happy place for crafty types said...

I think it's pretty nice that you bothered to get off your bum and write a book/blog. And why should it matter if you lived in a cardboard box.. or a castle? At least you wrote something. Why is one person's story less important than another's, I wonder? I don't reckon it is.

dollshouselin said...

"Good Manners"used to assist those of an unkind nature that if they couldn't think of anything pleasant to say they should consider saying nothing.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Have a great holiday.

CJ xx

ItsFairComment said...

FYI the writer in her journalist role will have have made some unfavourable reviews,and may continue to do so. No doubt she accepts that not everyone will subscribe to seeing her blog/book in a favourable light. A comment left on ItsFairComment.Com leads to the fact that the work is to some degree fictionalised to enable the readership to continue to identify with it, be it for escapisium or other. The ItsFairComment review is critical as the book/blog is promoted as "real". The main population of Northumberland and elsewhere live very differently.

Retiredandcrazy said...

I don't know why anyone would be unkind to you. Your blog was the first one I ever read. I love it and believe every word. Ok so "the main population of Northumberland and elswehere live very differently", but in all fairness the main population of Lincolnshire live very differently from me too, but I write my life and you write your's.

meet me at mikes. a happy place for crafty types said...

I reckon a little embellishment goes a long way sometimes... who gives a toss if there's a little bit of 'airbrushing' here or there - after all, your perception is probably a world away from mine.. and so what. I'm more interested in the voice, spirit and tone behind a story... and if there's a bit of tricking up here and there - on the days when one just stayed home and watched telly and drank wine out of a box....well so be it. Who gives a toss. A story about a woman who moved north and the tribulations of doing so is just that. I don't care if she said she hard Marmite when she really had peanut butter. I care that that was her life. And I care that she actually bothered to write what she wrote - because it's obviously entertained a WHOLE lot of people. Myself included.

meet me at mikes. a happy place for crafty types said...

oops. i wrote hard instead of had. i'm sure that means something...?!

dollshouselin said...

Having
enjoyed reading this blog and our comments from the beginning I havn't noticed any people incapable of reading between the lines .So thank you blog administrator.Perhaps now I dont have to show gratitude for being patronised or amazement that the book is not Real.....I believe Judith's gift is her ability to show in humerous
light our responses to life , regardless of personal situation.Thankfully her upbringing, education and profession allowed her to achieve this..

occasional northerner said...

Have a good holiday. Bizarrely one of the things I am looking forward to when I move to Northumberland is going on holiday to Scotland!

womagwriter said...

Just popped in to say I am loving your 'wittering, moaning-minny, geek diary' - off to bed in a mo to read more of it. And every author I know moves their books around in bookshops. Actually I move the books written by pals around in bookshops too.

Livvy U. said...

Having been out of the blogosphere for some time, I am so delighted to return and find all these good things being more or less heaped upon you.

The ad made me laugh, it was fun to hear your voice and interesting as ever to get the many and varied takes on all that you accomplish..

Congrats, congrats, enjoy your deserved break.

Livvy

Minx said...

When I am sat amid piles of my book, pen in hand and expectant smile glued to my face I am often asked if I am the author. I resist the urge to say "No, I am the stunt writer, the real one is somewhere expensively exclusive, lapping up the sun and strawberry daiquiri's".

merry weather said...

I am reading it Wifey and enjoying it very much...

Your honesty and humour are most engaging.

And it's better read as a book than a blog I think - a one to one thing perhaps - Well done!!

russelllindsey said...

I just read your book as part of an Early Review program for LibraryThing.com. I'm not sure if the book is on store shelves here in the U.S. yet, but I am very glad that I read it.

In a very real sense I could identify with much of what you wrote in the book, especially regarding your son and bullying.

You see, I was very much in his shoes 20 years ago. My Mom is an elementary school teacher where I grew up, and she faced the same frustrations you did. Unfortunately, she was there every day all day as a teacher. You gave me insight into what she went through. When I was older, she told me that she would run home and cry on lunch breaks from time to time; it hurt her so much to see me excluded. Your book pretty much confirmed for me that bullying is just as hard, if not harder, on parents (especially mothers) than it is on victims (and yes, you are absolutely right to give them proper names).

I want to commend you for working with the school to come up with resolutions. All kids are better off for it, bullies and victims alike. Unfortunately, when I was going through it (and many of my classmates as well), it was still something that no one talked about. It can happen in the best of schools.

I really enjoyed your book.

Lindsey

mutleythedog said...

My blog is entirely fictitious....

Sophie said...

I took your book on holiday with me and couldn't put it down. I have 3 children of similar ages, moved from London to the country 3 years ago and write a column for the local rag on my ridiculous family experiences. I was very moved by a lot of what you talked about in your book - in fact it's the only book I've ever cried over! I feel like I know you well. Congratulations on a great summer read. It got me through my cold, wet camping holiday.

Highland Housewife said...

I have just read your book and I couldn't put it down. I laughed out loud and wiped away real tears. You should be happy and excited and proud. There is a saying we have in the Highlands which is 'Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.' So, if you ever did sacrifice the truth for the story then quite right too . It is your story.

And said...

I heard Jeffrey Archer did that too. The book is well placed at Newton Aycliffe Tesco's, by the way. Thank you so very much for continuing to update this blog- I put down your book after reading it in one go and thought "I want more!"

Enjoy your break, and may it be child vomit-free.

cheshire wife said...

They say that the truth is stranger than fiction, so why shouldn't we believe you? You have enjoyed writing your blog and book and we have enjoyed reading them.

Have a good holiday.

cheshire wife said...

They say that the truth is stranger than fiction, so why shouldn't we believe you? You have enjoyed writing your blog and book and we have enjoyed reading them.

Have a good holiday.

cheshire wife said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
angie said...

am new to your blog and went on hols on the 18th of July, thinking i'd pick up a copy of your book in the airport bookshop (luton, dahling). damn my wishful thinking. a treat for this week nonetheless.

on moving books, i'm a magazine publisher, and i ALWAYS re-merchandise!

Single Mother on the Verge said...

Well done on making the bestsellers, very well well done. You should be so pleased. The reason why you can't find the book is because it is being bought!

(A Latvian lady came to my house the other day, she said, "I've been reading this wonderful book on the train from London, I couldn't put it down, it's called Wife in the North, the descriptions are beautiful.")

Kitschen Pink said...

My parents moved me up to Norfolk when I was 10 - so not quite the same story as yours although at times equally traumatic! Great blog, love the vision of various authors following each other around the shops re-organising the displays. I shall watch other shoppers more carefully next time I'm at Waterstones!

Daddy Papersurfer said...

How annoying - I've just been pointed over here by Sylvied at Fuelmyblog - and it's going to cost me the price of a book ....... tsk....... I hate discovering new authors - it costs a fortune ...... oh well.

tartetartan said...

I don't blame you for moving your book about. Every penny counts!

Pam said...

My second comment, but was hoping you'd be back by now.
I'm 3/4 way through your book and can't put it down. My heart is bleeding for your son being bullied and made me feel so mad and protective. Typical mum reaction. Your description of trying to cross the road with 4 year old, blind mum, and baby refusing to get in the buggy creates such a picture of you being the "one", the caregiver and one they all look to, which sounds nice but in reality can make a woman go bonkers.
It's a great book. Well done.

Winchester whisperer said...

Have you tried this writing test?

http://bookblog.net/gender/genie.php

It analyses whether you write like a man or a woman

Sharon said...

Bought your book in Heathrow Airport! It was on the desk at the very front of the shop!

I really enjoyed the book as I could relate to a lot of the emotions.

I'm from Canada and now find myself near Milton Keynes of all places in the world!!

Miles Away In France said...

Hi, I just found your blog and love it.
I am going to go right back to beginning and read it all the way through.

Well done for having your book published.

Racheal x

nikonfan said...

If ever you need a (cheaper than a train ticket!) "London Fix" read my blog! Confirmed reader of yours, tussling with similar choices of London/Wales life. Just finished your book - great for tube reading with the short episodes. Its amazing how many I could get through between North Greenwich and Green Park, and then Green Park and Warren Street!

Yours Truly said...

For the first time in years, I picked up 2 books in ASDA to read; one was yours! What a brilliant account of your life up North and what a sense of humour you have!

You also come across as an exceptionally great mother who loves her children deeply. Very well executed which left me wanting to read more from you.

Alright Tit said...

Someone likes your blog enough to steal your book... HUGE compliment, methinks! As for moving it around in bookshops, I've been known to do the same on every magazine I've ever worked on. Nothing quite beats the feeling of giving WH Smith punters zero choice in their mag-buying...

hairyfarmerfamily said...

When a friend of mine told me about your blog last week, I thought she had somehow come across my own blog, and was having a bit of a fish. But no! She had heard you on the radio and thought you were marvellous. So do I! I've had a simply fabulous time ferreting through your archives.

The rural idyll is, admittedly, not everyone's cup of tea, and I can particularly sympathise with your blowdry/hairnits dilemma. I was sat in a Stratford cafe a few weeks ago when I realised with utter horror that I had poultry mites perambulating happily about my person. Eeeek!

Suburbia said...

Just read it on my (very wet) holiday.
I loved it anyway!!!

Mu Tai Dong said...

I great fan for you might move NORTH like you!!

nikkishell said...

I just came across your blog via 'Meet me at Mikes'. I must find and read your book (is it available in Australia yet?). I'm living in Melbourne but originally from the North East of England.

Miriam said...

Hi WITN just wondering how the USA launch went? Finally got a copy of your book here in Dublin, and am enjoying it very much, crying sometimes, laughing till my sides hurt sometimes, hope you'll post again soon,mimi

Claire said...

Don't tell me you've stopped posting ???

lynette said...

Yep - I've done this too with all my books. I even offered to sign one once, the book store manager looked a little apprehensive 'it's me honestly, I AM the author, my photo's on the front...see?', 'Mmmm' he pondered, the silence was so uncomfortable I prompted 'I don't have to if you'd rather not', 'Actually do you mind if you don't' see said slowly 'It's just that if no one buys it I can get my money back'. Fab! Thanks for that! I didn't go back! Lynette

sexy said...

情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣,情趣,A片,A片,情色,A片,A片,情色,A片,A片,情趣用品,A片,情趣用品,A片,情趣用品,a片,情趣用品A片,A片,AV女優,色情,成人,做愛,情色,AIO,視訊聊天室,SEX,聊天室,自拍,AV,情色,成人,情色,aio,sex,成人,情色免費A片,美女視訊,情色交友,免費AV,色情網站,辣妹視訊,美女交友,色情影片,成人影片,成人網站,H漫,18成人,成人圖片,成人漫畫,情色網,日本A片,免費A片下載,性愛情色文學,色情A片,A片下載,色情遊戲,色情影片,色情聊天室,情色電影,免費視訊,免費視訊聊天,免費視訊聊天室,一葉情貼圖片區,情色視訊,免費成人影片,視訊交友,視訊聊天,言情小說,愛情小說,AV片,A漫,AVDVD,情色論壇,視訊美女,AV成人網,成人交友,成人電影,成人貼圖,成人小說,成人文章,成人圖片區,成人遊戲,愛情公寓,情色貼圖,色情小說,情色小說,成人論壇免費A片,AV女優,美女視訊,情色交友,色情網站,免費AV,辣妹視訊,美女交友,色情影片,成人網站,H漫,18成人,成人圖片,成人漫畫,成人影片,情色網A片,A片,A片下載,做愛,成人電影,.18成人,日本A片,情色小說,情色電影,成人影城,自拍,情色論壇,成人論壇,情色貼圖,情色,免費A片,成人,成人網站,成人圖片,AV女優,成人光碟,色情,色情影片,免費A片下載,SEX,AV,色情網站,本土自拍,性愛,成人影片,情色文學,成人文章,成人圖片區,成人貼圖

Dunja Supp said...

Hi, Lady in the north! I`m writing from the middle of Germany. I have three kids and a hard-working man. Your book filled my day with laughter, so real. I know, what you`re talking about. Thanks for your honesty. We all need more. Greetings, Dunja