Saturday, 14 September 2013

In the Moors Book Launch Success

Nina with Professor Ronald Hutton

What a blast we all had at my book launch for In the Moors! People have been tweeting and messaging me to say that they really enjoyed the event. Sarah said...It was a lovely evening Nina! You spoke and read really well, and I'm looking forward to reading the book. Sue said, Great launch, Nina!. Kit said, Fab evening and wonderful to see so many. Am reading book already. Love it! Ali said... loving it too, and finding great examples of good writing for my workshop  - all those lovely verbs … And book me that lovely professor for my next book launch. He was so informative and entertaining all in 5 mins. Charlotte said, enjoyed it  - lovely to see you in your element x 
Jane said...Well done Nina! A great launch. And I hope you've recovered from the shock of Becky NOT being in Montenegro after all!

Yes, I must admit that although the entire thing was a ball, and there were fifty people laughing, chatting, sipping wine and queuing to have their books signed, the most wonderful moment in the evening for me was when I saw my daughter’s face in the crowds as I had no idea she’d be there, living as she does a long way away.

I spoke about how the setting came to me as my son and I walked in the Somerset Levels one day. It became gloomy and we were almost lost because each field is surrounded by water; rivers,dykes, rhynes, ditches and canals. We came upon the areas where they extract peat industrially; huge chunks like empty back swimming pools are cut from the earth and they slowly fill with water becoming reed beds and marshes. I thought that would be a great place to bury a body. And it was at that time that Sabbie Dare was first entering my mind; how being a shaman would introduce her to a bunch of very disparate...a bunch of quite strange...people.

signing a book without looking!
I'd asked Professor Hutton to speak on shamanism because I didn't think a lot of the audience would quite believe in Sabbie's job. Ronal Hutton has written books on many aspects of Pagan History, including shamanism. He's a very lively and sought after speaker (you may have seen him on your TV's) and he spoke for several minutes on the history of Celts in these islands, making everyone laugh and sit up and take notice. He explained what shamanism is and how it works in the 21st Century and  linked this with In the Moors and Sabbie Dare. He had been kind enough to read and review the book while it was still in the manuscript stage and so had previous knowledge of what's between the covers.

I then read  from my novel. Here are the shortened extracts;
 From page 24;
I knew I was going to shudder as I read the next words and shifted on my seat to disguise it. Cliff was watching me intently, while his fingers twisted at his ponytail, playing with it as a girl does. Some of the earth-coloured strands weren’t long enough to be caught up, and fell over his face. I looked back down at my page.
“There was only one other thing in the room – a Hessian sack with knots tied around its rim to keep it open, like you see in cartoons. Something glinted in the sack, but in the dim light I couldn’t work out what it was. I can recall not wanting to look more closely, but I walked the few paces over to where it stood and dipped a hand in. I think I had been expecting money, or jewels or treasure of some sort, but a softness caressed my fingers.”
I paused. I knew I was stalling. I could not bring myself to go on, and I wasn’t sure if that was because it had frightened me, or because it might frighten Cliff.
“What?” said Cliff. “What was in the sack, for the love of God?”…
 From page 314;
He didn’t reply. Without taking his gaze from my face, he stretched a hand over the side of the sofa. I could see his laptop case lying against it, but he wasn’t reaching for that. I was looking at a gun. A rifle as long as my arm. Its butt was of glossy yellow wood and along its length was a complicated sight of polished steel.

I took a breath to steady myself. “Did you get that from your loft?”

Ivan smiled. His eyes lit up. He lifted the gun onto his lap as if it were made of crystal glass. “I’d forgotten what it was like to use it. I took it out for a practice run and I’m still pretty good.”

That smell I’d detected in the hall was much stronger now I stood in front of its source. It was the overwhelming odour of control, of the power that certain things give certain men; money, authority, or in this case, the clout of a loaded weapon.

“The fox has gone.” I managed. “There’s no need for a gun.”

His eyes were sharp as slivers of glass. “Isn’t there?”

My whole body became ice cold

My thanks must go to Foyles Bookshop in Bristol, and Robb, who did all the organising, for making the event such a great success. And to all the people who came; without them, it wouldn't have worked! thanks again, and enjoy your copies of In the Moors. Some of you came a long way to be there. My student Pat wrote afterwards; I arrived home around 2200 hrs  Friday evening after a whirlwind stopover in Bristol.  It started by getting up at 0500 hrs on Thursday in order to catch a National Express coach from Gatwick Airport. I soon discovered that there was a Premier Inn next door to the coach station and Cabot Circus was not too far away either - which was very convenient!  …t
he highlight for me was attending your book launch.  I'd never been to one before and was unsure what to expect. But I must say it was truly great.  It was lovely to meet you Nina, and to find you in such an ecstatic mood.  Especially, the moment when you spotted your daughter in the crowd and not in Montenegro as you had thought.  I can relate to how you must have felt, since my son did something similar many years ago when he was much younger.  He was based in Singapore at the time but working off shore all around South East Asia as a commercial diver.  We hadn't seen him in three years but he turned up unexpectedly about two days before Christmas and surprised everyone.  It was really exciting!  He still loves to do that kind of thing. 

I enjoyed the whole event, your reading an extract from your book and the Professor's talk on Shamanism.  It was all very interesting.  I'm glad there was a good turn-out for you, Nina and of course, much book signing.  It was also lovely to meet other writers, so thank you for introducing me to some of them.
Best regards,

If you weren't able to be at this pre-publication event, you can order the book from my page at Amazon. The ebook version is available now! The paperback can be pre-ordered for 15th October. Or you can go to your local bookshop and order one in (and do recommend they stock it if they're not planning to - I can provide you with information for them). The book should be in the shops by the start of November.

And if you do purchase via Amazon, don't forget to leave your comments about your experience of In the Moors on their website. If you bought the book at the launch, do consider joining  which is fun to be part of and really helps you keep up your reading and find books you'll enjoy. You can leave a review of In the Moors at Goodreads as soon as you're a member. 


  1. Congratulations, Nina. I remember your mentioning a few years ago that you were writing a crime novel and here it is, published. What an achievement. I'll definitely order a copy on Amazon (there are no bookshops where I live)!

  2. Yes, it's been a wonderful experience all round; not that writing a novel isn't hard work; there's been times when I wanted to rest my forehead on the keyboard and forget the word 'book' altogether.
    Be assured; it can be done!