Matters of Life and Death

It’s been a while and I’m sorry about that, folks. Sorry, too, for the lack of reply to the emails, over the last few months. I will be replying to each and every one, over time.

I’ve been very busy since the book came out on March 1st, via Five Leaves Publications. I think I can speak for my publisher, Ross Bradshaw, as well as for myself, when I say we’ve been chuffed to bits with the response. The first edition was gone in a couple of weeks and the second took a battering, too, very quickly. I was overwhelmed at its reception. People really seem to love it and the dozens of emails from readers made worthwhile every single second of terror, self-doubt, excessive drinking, alienated family, unwanted weight-gain and sheer panic that comprised the writing of the bloody thing.

Reviews have been, without exception, excellent and it’s a buzz to have the critics as well as the readers respond so positively to my work. I can only say thank you; you’re all wonderful people.

The promo work was a great deal of exhausting fun. Talks, signings, lectures at literary festivals, trade union events, bookshops and appearances on TV and radio. One particularly mental scheduling clash sticks in  my mind; after speaking as a guest of North Ayrshire Unison, on a Friday night, I crawled from hotel bed at 3.00am to drive to Derbyshire to attend a very special event for a close friend.

I’ve also been very fortunate to receive outstanding support from people like Seumas Milne and Paul Mason. Seumas, with whom I had the honour of appearing at the excellent Five Leaves 30th anniversary strike celebrations, on my adopted home-turf of Nottingham, wrote a very generous endorsement-line for the front cover and Paul Mason, who is surely now one of the UK’s very best broadcast-journalists, wrote a moving afterword.

On a more personal note, I recently became a grandfather after my eldest son, Adam, and his partner, Katy, blessed us with the arrival of Fae Iris Paterson. To say I’m smitten is understating the case by some considerable distance. Fae’s arrival also underscored what has been a year of births and deaths. Beginnings and endings. The joy of her arrival contrasted with the horror of so many Palestinian deaths, many of whom have also been children. 2014, so far, a bitter-sweet symphony and no mistake.

So, as you can see, with one thing and another, the last few months have been busy, eventful but very enjoyable. Thanks to everyone who stuck with me during that time and for the support of some of the best readers an author could possibly have.

Apart from the bread-and-butter day-job commissions of a musical nature, I’ve had most of the summer off before I start the next book in the autumn. I’ll be spending as much of the down-time as possible with my granddaughter and getting involved in the various pro-Gaza and pro-Palestine campaigns that have, sadly, become vitally necessary over the last few weeks and about which you’ll be reading much more on this blog.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, folks, and remember; use the hashtag #SupportGaza when you Tweet.

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