Well, this it! ‘Fire & Sword’ has now achieved its official launch at the Castle Semple Visitor Centre in Lochwinnoch!
The event opened with a brief introduction by Charles Woodward, Manager of the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park, who soon handed proceedings over to Jamie, 21st Lord Sempill.
Several extracts from the novel were then read by the author, with each fictionalised episode interspersed with more detailed discussions about the real historical events which inspired the book itself, and underpinned its writing. And we took the opportunity to celebrate the life of the man whose story lies at its heart: John, 1st Lord Sempill.
An invitation for questions from the audience led to a lively discussion about events which took place in the late medieval and early modern periods throughout Renfrewshire and beyond, with the final reading followed by a signing session by the author.
From my own personal perspective, it was a very special night! The fictional elements were leavened with just the right amount of factual background, and what made it all the more enjoyable was the number of familiar faces who had turned out to support me: family and friends, each of whom had through the years helped urge me onwards as I faced the long uphill struggle to publication. Including Lord Jamie himself, who recounted in his introduction just how long it had been since I’d first told him about my plans to write a book around events in the life of his ancestor! From a writer’s perspective, it was equally inspiring to find attendees who had come along for the evening not because they knew me, but because they were genuinely interested in the event and they wanted to find out more about the book.
My thanks to everyone who came along for the evening and made it so memorable! A big ‘thank you’ must of course go to all the family and friends who helped with the photography, the book selling and the doling out of wine and snacks (including fellow Hadley Rille writer Harriet Goodchild. It’s a favour I hope to reciprocate once her own debut is launched in the not too distant future!).
Extra special thanks must go to Lord Jamie, of course, who was such a genial host and who gave so generously of his time to be there. And last but not least, I must acknowledge the sterling efforts of the Clyde Muirshiel Regional Council staff: Charles Woodward of Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park for hosting the event, Claire Paterson who worked so hard on the publicity side of things. And last but not least: Ann and Helen, our tireless providers of tea and biscuits for the duration of the evening. The event went on much later than expected, and yet our hosts at the Visitor Centre very patiently put up with all the crowds and the chaos, which was extremely good of them.
Now I think all that remains to be said is… Here’s to the next one!!! Let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later!