Well, it’s official. The photographs, apart from this rather poor specimen, from my Christmas book signing in the delightful Quinns of Market Harborough were corrupted on my phone. Such a shame. So, I shall attempt to describe the evening in words…
Quinns is nestled in a nook within the heart of Market Harborough, an eighteenth century red brick building with sash windows. Access is via a side alley from the main street and through a cobbled courtyard, decorated with pots of winter flowering pansies and lit by lanterns. Peering through the windows on a dark evening this time of year will transport you into an old fashioned world of the written word: walls lined with floor to ceiling bookcases, rustic tables and sideboards filled with books, the odd chair scattered about for one to take a moment and ponder; a positive delight for any book lover.
I spent the evening in the fiction room, the exciting smell of new books tickling my senses. Beside me was a pile of homemade mince pies, courtesy of my 11 year old daughter, next to a couple of bottles of wine and an array of glasses, then my own pile of books. Eager anticipation filled my face.
Due to its location, Quinns doesn’t enjoy a lot of passing trade. Most of its patrons are seasoned bookworms who come to peruse the shelves for new releases, particular authors, something different, a cover that catches their eye, an unusual blurb. I met local people passing the time, some who’d travelled to area and had heard about the quaint bookshop, regulars searching for a new read. One lady said I was the image of her daughter in law (also a reader of crime fiction), another was spending Christmas in South Africa and looking for presents to carry on the plane; a family had been to the local night market and were looking for a quiet place to relax. Everybody was in good spirits, feeling festive and enjoying the peace and tranquillity of the surroundings, and everybody had a story to tell.
For me, that’s one of the special things about these events: the people you meet. Some buy your book, some don’t. It doesn’t really matter. Every one of them adds something interesting to the experience.
Of course, some of our friends stopped by too. I’d like to thank Nigel, Sasha and Hannah Thompson, June and Barry Robins, and Marcus, Becky and Emily Mae Buckby for being pillars of support and making the evening extra special. And to my wonderful husband and daughter who came along, helped to set up, chatted to people and made them smile. And also to my daughter’s friend, Thomas Dark, who came along and was a wonderful help in handing out bookmarks, mince pies and carrying books.
Huge gratification goes to Chris, Beverley and all at Quinns for organising the event and being so warm, friendly and supportive to a new author. If you ever find yourself in Market Harborough, do pop into Quinns and take a look around. It truly is a magical experience.