69ers is still selling well – Waterstones on the Isle of Wight have now ordered their third boxfull and my own online store on Amazon has been consistently busy. There are numerous reviews on the web, all of them very complimentary: fans of the book have been most generous in spreading the word.
I have had many editors during my 25 year writing career, of varying abilities, but there is one person whose opinion is more important to me than any other: Natalie, my partner of 16 years. The best-read and most literate person I’ve known, a published writer herself and an experienced BBC journalist (not to mention a fantastic mum!), I trust Natalie’s judgement implicitly: if she tells me a story or book is not worth publishing, it’s back to the drawing board.
Though 69ers is set before Natalie was born, she gave the novel the thumbs-up – though she did find a couple of flaws, I’m glad to say. At 55,000 words, it’s a bit short for her tastes, but then I write for people with a short attention span, like myself!
When a couple had sex in a pile of foam at the 1969 IOW festival, the papers all gleefully reported it, with the usual hypocritical condemnations. The event is woven into the narrative of 69ers, with the hapless central character, Scott, finding his ankle used for purchase by the happy couple, to his considerable discomfort.
Here’s me reading part of the scene at the June event in Isle of Wight Waterstones.
Now that 69ers has been successfully launched, I’ll be making some personal appearances to promote the book. On June 4th (2.30pm), I’ll be at the Hay Festival in the Hexagon: though this session is devoted to one of my recent books for children, I’ll have copies of 69ers with me and will be happy to talk about it informally afterwards – and sell it of course!
On June 27th I’ll be over on the Isle of Wight for what promises to be a great evening at Newport Waterstones (starting 7pm). I’ll be giving readings from the book, then it’ll be over to some local talent to give us some Dylan songs. I’m hoping to arrange a couple more events in the area and will advertise them if and when they happen.
It wasn’t an easy choice to publish this book myself after twenty-seven years being published by the likes of Hodder, OUP, Penguin and Heinemann, so I shall be most grateful to my readers for getting reviews online and spreading the word that this is a well readable book, which of course it is!
To buy a copy from me at Amazon, click on the cover to the right. It will be available in bookstores also: the Welsh Books Council has agreed to distribute it within Wales, and all other stores are able to order it. I see it is even available in India, at a very reasonable price, and am happy to have had fan messages from Alaska, where an enterprising library got hold of it before I did!
There is a facebook page for 69ers, though I haven’t done much to promote this yet, so please join if you like the book.
STOP PRESS: Waterstones Southampton West Quay is now confirmed for Thurs 30 June. I’ll be signing books there from 12 to 2pm.
69ers will be launched, as promised, on Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday, Tues 24th May. The launch will take place at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff, at 7pm. I should have copies by Friday 20th, however, so it’s worth putting in an order now by going to my bookstore on Amazon. Check out extracts from the book here. Unfortunately the horrendously embarrassing sex scenes aren’t suitable for posting, so you’ll just have to buy the book to read these!
Check out the archives here if you’re new to the site, and have a look at the videos – especially the French tv documentary which gives such a unique insight into the 1969 event.
If you know anyone who may be interested in 69ers, don’t forget to send them a link!