Novel London: First Chapter Readings

Novel London takes place every first Friday in the month and gives authors a platform for their recently published novels. These writers read first chapters from their work to an appreciative audience at Waterstones bookshop, Covent Garden and then face a Q & A. This introductory glimpse of their creative work is there to whet the appetite and they turn up prepared with promotional material and book copies ready to sign.

This month it was Andrew Smith reading from political fiction Speech, Helena Halme from The Finnish Girl and Stephen Marriott, Candyfloss Guitar. The title of Andrew Smith’s novel refers to Enoch Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech and how this outspoken, controversial right-wing politician’s views affected those caught up in the Commonwealth immigration issue that emerged in the 60s. It’s available from Urbane Publications, priced £8.99 paperback.

Stephen Marriott’s novella Candyfloss Guitar has a Paulo Coelhoesque metaphysical element in the life-affirming journey taken by Diego as he goes in search of work, carrying his guitar and open to the challenges of life away from parental comforts and protection. This book has already topped the Amazon rankings for travel readers

Helena Halme’s novel The Finnish Girl celebrates her homeland and is a prequel to her The Englishman series of romantic fiction. Fourteen-year-old Kaisa moves with her mother to a Helsinki island suburb and finds herself falling in love with an older man and all the inevitable complications that brings. Published by Newhurst Press, priced £3.99 paperback.

All three authors participated in an insightful Q & A where they answered questions about scheduling time for writing, story structure and marketing. They underlined the importance of having both a creative and business approach to novel-writing and the importance of email lists in this respect.

The event also attracted aspiring writers at all stages of literary development keen to network and swap tips and business cards after the Q & A. Being amongst published authors and newbies alike proving to them it can be done and adding practical purpose to their creative ideas.

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Eddie Saint-Jean

Eddie Saint-Jean is an arts reviewer with a background in art theory, film and theatre.

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