In the build up to the wonderful Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival 2019 I faced several challenges:
- Firstly, which excerpt was I going to read from my book No More Water and how to fit it into exactly three minutes?
- Secondly, how was I going to avoid implicating people who I had been involved with in a past life as fraudsters?
- Thirdly, how was I going to see all the other events that the programme had advertised?
Fortunately, our chair, AA Abbott, made the preparation for the panel session ‘Novels Inspired by the Day Job’ a lot less daunting than I had anticipated by expertly briefing Wendy H Jones, Susan Grossey and myself, including checking whether we worked for the police or were criminals. How closely did events described in our stories relate to what actually happened in a previous manifestation? Given my book features fraud, deception and big money wielding power I was careful to steer clear of the dark and secret past when discussing day job experiences. I was very grateful that we had active audience participation during the event, which helped break the ice so well, and there were also plenty of questions afterwards.
Later in the afternoon, again in the Bethesda Chapel, I read an extract from my book alongside eight other authors under the caption ‘Around the World in 8ish Books’. Listening to the others read was great as there was so much diversity and depth in performance and subject matter. It was uplifting and fitting that the final reading was by Debbie Young herself!
I was so lucky to be appearing in not one but two events and, after lunch at The Fox Inn, it was clear that I was not going to be able to attend the panels and talks and see all the authors I wanted to in the day.
I did, however, manage to catch an informative session ‘Beware of the Ghost (writer) and Other Publishing Trade Secrets’ featuring Rachel Amphlett, Edward Weiner and Katharine E Smith.
Rachel’s title of ‘authorpreneur’ demanded attention and she exuded ideas and creative energy; she also possessed a mine of tips for fledgling writers. Rachel told us how she combined a full-time day job with creative writing, publishing and marketing. On her daily forty minute commute to Brisbane, Rachel was able to find an end-of-carriage seat (the advantage of the train starting at her stop), set up for her writing and ensure nothing preventing her from hitting her daily word target before breakfast time; in the evenings she attended to publicity, promotions and correspondence.
Rachel left us in no doubt that producing only two books a year was slacking. She advised that we should have been working on the third book by the time we were ready to publish the first one; this sent me away from Hawkesbury Upton at least planning the second one but realising I’m about two books behind where I should be. Time to put the skates on.
About Hugh Arthur
Hugh Arthur has worked and lived in Paris, Istanbul, Madrid, Edinburgh, London and now lives in Cheltenham. He has travelled extensively in the Middle East. ‘No More Water’ is his first published book and draws particularly from his experiences living in Istanbul and Madrid. More crime novels with an international flavour will follow. For more information about Hugh Arthur and his books, visit his website: http://www.hexfordhouse.co.uk