Bumper virtual book launch part 3: A word with authors with cancelled events across Scotland

As lockdown looks to be with us for a while longer yet, we reached out to another crop of authors who have books out now or coming soon

Entertainment is pretty high on everyone's priority list right now and it's great to see books continuing to make their way out into the world. That said, it's a very different state of play when all of the usual launch activities are on pause.

So we're back with another instalment of our virtual book launch. I've got my roving mic on hand (yes, I know that's actually just my phone, thanks very much) and I've poured myself some free wine (if I've already paid for it, it counts as free) – please do join me.

As your host for the morning/afternoon/evening, please first let me introduce our authors and their books.

First up we have Laura Lam, launching high-concept feminist dystopian thriller, Goldilocks. She'll be having a variety of online launch adventures, so keep an eye on her website for updates.

Juliet Conlin joins us with news of her thrilling new novel, Sisters of Berlin. Published by Black & White, this pacy story is a reminder that the past can rarely be erased.

Here to celebrate the launch of his new poetry collection (featuring comic poems), cocoon, we also have Russell Jones. It's out now from Tapsalteerie and you can even watch the digital launch.

Nicola White brings us news of her latest book, A Famished Heart. Published by Viper, it's an enthralled closed-room mystery that's also available on Audible.

Sylvia Hehir is with us to launch her new book, Deleted. This romance with a touch of mystery is her second YA novel and is out in May.

What inspired you to write this book?

Juliet: Although I was born in the UK, I have lived in Berlin for most of my life, and I've been meaning to write a book set here for ages. The 30th anniversary of the fall of the Wall provided a perfect backdrop for my characters' stories, and an exploration of a fascinating and unsettling slice of German history.

Laura: I asked myself: what if I wrote a book that was like the best part of astronaut films, but with a group of women front and centre?

Nicola: The story was prompted by a real life case in Dublin which very much got under my skin. I choose to write within the genre of crime as it provides a way to explore societies and their demons as well as extreme personal circumstance. The eighties in Ireland was a particularly fraught time, cracks starting to show in the old pieties, so A Famished Heart gave me a way to explore the idea of lack – lack of nourishment, lack of faith, lack of love. Everyone in the book is on low rations to one extent or another.

What's the one question everyone has asked you about your new book?

Sylvia: Is there a dead body in this one? (Sea Change is a YA crime/thriller!)

Russell: Can I have a free copy? Thanks mum.

Laura: How did you research all the science in it? (Answer: I cheated and asked scientist friends for help to supplement my solo research – my acknowledgements are 5 pages long!)

What's the worst thing about being a writer?

Russell: The uncertainty. You never know if your book will sell. This means it's hard to plan ahead financially or emotionally.

Laura: You've given yourself homework for life and you never feel like you're doing enough writing or good enough writing.

What's the best thing about being a writer?

Juliet: I'm a bit of an introvert, so working from home on my own is definitely a good fit for me. Most writers are experts at self-isolating, so the coronavirus didn't impact my life in this regard at least!

How does it feel, being published at the moment?

Nicola: My book was published on 27 February, and I was in Dublin at the time, doing some radio and press for it, so I did have the bittersweet experience of briefly seeing it on the tables in bookshops before everything shut down. I have to hope it finds its readership through word of mouth and recommendations online – it's out there on its own now.

Does your book have themes you didn't notice until after writing?

Sylvia: The sense of belonging came across more than I first anticipated. And I've probably exposed all my deep seated fears / prejudices etc. but – hey – that's part of the territory isn't it.

Russell: Yes, I hadn't realised it was about transformations and protecting yourself by creating realities / worlds, until a while after it was finished.

I'm afraid that's all the time we have for questions, yes sir, I see you at the back there, perhaps you could follow this up on Twitter after the event? A big round of applause for the authors, whose books are out now or coming soon.

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