• December

    2001 - all events


    Wednesday 24 - 11.10 - Two School events at Park Hill Junior School, Croydon, London. I THINK this might have been the first time that I used a fake plastic hand in my Cirque Du Freak scene!! I noted in my diary that this was "one of the highlights of my tours so far".
    Thursday 25 - p.m. - School event at Centre for the Child in Birmingham City Library.
    Thursday 25 - 18.00 - After-school event with Northfields Teenage Reading Group. approx 9 people
    Friday 26 - a.m. - School event in Ealing, arranged by Children's Book Centre.

    Wednesday 28 - 10.30 - School event in Eason's, Dublin. approx 30 people

    Thursday 1 - 10.00 - Two school events at Longsight Library, Manchester, for World Book Day.
    7th to 9th - I was scheduled to do events in Dublin on these dates, but a Foot & Mouth outbreak led to all public events of htis kind being cancelled for a while!!!
    Friday 30 - a.m. - School event at Sutton Park School, Dublin.
    Friday 30 - p.m. - Two school events at Mount Temple Comprehensive, Dublin. This was where the boys from U2 went to school when they were kids!!

    Saturday 7 - a.m. - Two public events at the ELF Fantasy Fair, Alphen a/d Rijn. My second trip abroad, and another disaster!! This was the fair's first year, and they hadn't quite thought it all through. When I got there, I discovered they hadn't arranged a place for me to give my talks! They stuck me in an utterly inadequate, echo-filled room for my first event, then in a public walk-through for my second go! I was meant to do a third event, and three more the next day, but I'd had enough! I stormed out and caught an early flight home!!!!

    Thursday 3 - 08.45 - School event in Croom, County Limerick.
    Wednesday 16 - a.m. - An event for HarperCollins sales representatives.
    Monday 21 - 08.10 - Two school events in Birmingham Library.
    Monday 21 - p.m. - Public signing at Waterstones in Birmingham, with Jenny Nimmo. Nobody came to see me -- my second no-show!!! Jenny fared better -- one fan came to see her!!!
    Tuesday 22 - a.m. - Two school events in Gorsemere Primary School.
    Tuesday 22 - 19.30 - Public event in Halesowen theatre.
    Wednesday 23 - a.m. - Two school events in Earl's High School.

    Friday 1 - a.m. - School event in Gaelscoil O'Doghair, Newcastle West, County Limerick. I launched Vampire Mountain at this event.
    Sunday 3 - night - Went on a Haunted Tour of Edinburgh with a small group of children.
    Monday 4 - a.m. - School event at Royal High School, Edinburgh.
    Tuesday 5 - a.m. - Two school events in Waterstones Newcastle.
    Wednesday 6 - a.m. - Two school events in Halfax, arranged by The Children's Bookshop in Huddersfield.
    Thursday 7 - a.m. - Two school events in Sutton, arranged by The Children's Bookshop in Sutton.
    Friday 8 - a.m. - Three school events in Pinner, arranged by The Children's Bookshop in Pinner.
    Friday 8 - p.m. - Public signing in The Children's Bookshop, Pinner. This was my first public signing (as opposed to public event) where I got a large crowd. In my diary I said "I felt like a real star -- just a pity it had to end!!!"
    Saturday 23 - 14.00 - Public signing in Easons, Limerick. Was signing for an hour.

    Sunday 19 - 16.15 - Public event at Edinburgh Book Festival. Bigger crowd than year before. Signing for an hour.
    Monday 20 - 10.30 - School event at Library in Leith.
    Monday 20 - 16.30 - Public event at Edinburgh Book Festival. I did a second solo event at the Festival this year, in which I spoke about the creative process of writing my books. Didn't enjoy it much, and haven't done events like that very often in the years since. It's why I never do workshops or the like -- I prefer having fun at my events!!!

    Thursday 11 - 11.00 - School event at the Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea.
    Thursday 11 - 13.15 - School event at Waterstones, Swansea.
    Monday 15 - 14.00 - School event in Wexford library. approx 30 people
    Tuesday 16 - 10.00 - School event at Raheny Library, Dublin.
    Tuesday 16 - 11.30 - School event at Charleville Mall library, Dublin.
    Tuesday 16 - 14.00 - School event at Donaghmeade library, Dublin.
    Wednesday 17 - 11.00 - School event at Clondalkin library, Dublin. small group
    Wednesday 17 - 12.30 - School event at Lucan library, Dublin.
    Thursday 18 - 11.00 - School event at Ballyroan library, Dublin. small group
    Thursday 18 - 12.30 - School event at Castletymon library, Dublin. small group
    Friday 19 - 10.00 - School event at Shannon library, County Clare.
    Friday 19 - 13.30 - School event at Ennis library. The library hadn't confirmed with schools that they were actually bringing in students, so nobody turned up!!! They managed to rustle up a small group of girls from a nearby secondary school and I did my event for them.
    Friday 19 - 16.15 - Public event at Killaloe library, County Clare. approx 5 to 10 people
    Monday 22 - 11.00 - School event at Ennistymon library, County Clare.
    Monday 22 - 14.00 - School event at Corofin library, County Clare.
    Monday 22 - 16.00 - Public event at Ennis bookshop.
    Tuesday 23 - 10.30 - School event at Dooradoyle library, County Limerick.
    Tuesday 23 - 13.30 - School event at Adare library, County Limerick.

    Friday 26 - 14.00 - Signed stock at Alexander Book Co, San Francisco, CA. They only had a handful of copies in the store!!! Not the most promising of starts to my first ever American tour!!!
    Friday 26 - 19.00 - Public event at Kepler's Bookshop, Belmont, CA. approx 20 people
    Saturday 27 - 09.30 - Public signing at Milligan News, San Jose, CA. A book fair where people came to buy books at a discount.
    Saturday 27 - 16.00 - Public event at Barnes & Noble, San Jose, CA. approx 10 people
    Sunday 28 - 12.00 - Signed lots of stock in Copperfields Bookstore, Petaluma, CA.
    Sunday 28 - 16.00 - Public event in Codys bookstore, Berkeley, CA. approx 20-25 people
    Monday 29 - p.m. - Signed stock in Storyopolis, Los Angeles, CA.
    Monday 29 - 15.30 - Public event at Torrance library, CA. a handful of people
    Tuesday 30 - 16.00 - Public event at A Whale of a Tale bookshop, Irvine, CA. a handful of people
    Tuesday 30 - 19.00 - Public event at Newport Beach Libraray, CA. approx 15 people
    Wednesday 31 - 10.00 - School event at Yellow Book Road, La Mesa, CA. approx 100 people

    Thursday 1 - 10.30 - School event at White Rabbit Bookstore, La Jolla, CA. exactly 2 people!!! The store owners "couldn't get" a class to come in, but rather than cancel, they let me come, then rustled up two bewildered girls to come and chat with me. Worst school event I've ever been involved with!!!
    Thursday 1 - 19.00 - Public event at Borders, San Diego, CA. the first really good turn-out of the tour.
    Friday 2 - 12.30 - Signed stock at Marshall Fields, Chicago, IL. A few people dropped in to have their books signed while I was there, including a boy who had driven 5 hours to see me -- my first encounter with the kind of hardcore American Shan fans who would make later tours of the States a true pleasure!!!!
    Saturday 3 - 14.00 - Public event at Amderson's Bookstore, Naperville, IL.
    Sunday 4 - p.m. - Public event at Crocodile Pie, Libertyville, IL. a handful of people
    Sunday 4 15.00 - Public event at The Bookstall, Chestnut Court, Winnetka, IL. a handful of people
    Monday 5 - 09.15 - School event at Waubonsie Valley High School, IL. approx 60 people
    Tuesday 6 - 16.00 - Public event at Tatnuck Booksellers, Worcester, MA. a small group
    Wednesday 7 - 10.00 - Two school events at Gates School, Scituate, MA.
    Wednesday 7 - 12.30 - School event at Deerhill School, Cohasset, MA.
    Wednesday 7 - 15.00 - Signing event at Buttonwood Books, Cohasset, MA.

    Tuesday 20 - p.m. - School event in a bookstore in Strasbourg. approx 120 people. This was the first time I did a translated event. It went more smoothly than I feared, though obviously it was a bit more stop-start than my usual events!
    Wednesday 21 - 11.00 - Signing session at a bookstore in Paris. As at my last signing event in this city, nobody showed up!!! Another no-show in Paris -- merde!!!!!
    Wednesday 21 - 15.45 - Another signing session at a store in Paris. This time I got a handful of people -- hurrah!! In my diary I noted, "More proof - if any was needed - that public signing sessions just don't work." And I stand by that statement -- if you're a children's author, you need to have a VERY strong, established fan base to make a public signing worthwhile.
    Thursday 22 - a.m. - School event in a book store in Lille. a small group.

    U.K. / Ireland
    Friday 23 - p.m. - School event in Sheffield, at the Lyceum Theatre. I was here for the Sheffield Children's Book Award -- Cirque Du Freak was nominated, and it received 2nd place, behind Holes by Louis Sacher. It was my first award -- and it would be a long time until my second!!!

    Saturday 1 - 14.00 - Public signing at Easons, Limerick. A great crowd -- was signing for two and a half hours, my longest signing session to date!!! A nice way to finish my touring for the year.

    * * * * * * * * * *

    This was a year of learning curves. I'd done a lot of touring in 2000, but this was the first time I did a lot of concentrated touring, with many events packed into a short space of time. The tours I undertook in June and October became the template for what would eventually become my regualr touring pattern -- hit fast and hard!!!! It was a frustrating time in many ways -- two years after the release of Cirque Du Freak, I still hadn't built up the sort of fan base which would allow me to do lots of public events or signings, and I was still having to endure lots of small school and library events. But that was all part of the growing process. Things rarely happen quickly in the world of children's books, and even if your books are doing well (and while I wasn't coming anywhere near bothering the top of the charts in the UK or the USA, my books were selling very well), you have to go out there and EARN your audience. As small as many of the school and library events were, and as sparsely attended as the public events and signings were, I gave my all and put on the best show I could, and those who did come went away impressed, and told their friends, and spread the word ... and that played a very important role in getting word out there and helping the books to reach much bigger audiences. Touring when you're a new author takes a lot of time, and it can be disappointing, and you have to work hard, and there will be days when you feel like you're achieving nothing -- but in the long run it IS worth it, and a writer must always have at least one eye on the long term!!!!!
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