My neighbour came to the door last Sunday afternoon. Said she had a favour to ask. I thought she was going to ask me to look after her cat for a few days. But no, that wasn’t it. She is president of the local branch of the Scottish Women’s Institute (SWI) and the speaker lined up for Tuesday evening’s meeting had just cancelled. The speaker, a lecturer in catering and hospitality at the local college, had been going to give a cookery demonstration and my neighbour wondered if I could step in.
Thankfully for me and the prospective audience I wasn’t being invited to do anything cookery related. But if I could come and give an author talk that would be fantastic.
Without pausing to consider that I would have very little time to prepare, I agreed.
And I’m very glad that I did.
I found, as I often do, that I work better under pressure and by recycling and redrafting previous author talks that I’ve given, I’d soon tailored what I was going to say for my prospective audience. The short notice also meant I didn’t really have time to get nervous.
I was made very welcome by the SWI members and thoroughly enjoyed doing the talk which was warmly received. I spoke a bit about myself, about my journey to publication, and about the inspiration behind my various books. I was also able to do some publicity for my new novel – due out at the end of August. Then I finished by reading a couple of extracts from two of my books.
And the bonus was I completely sold out the box of books I’d taken with me – and took orders for more copies from those whom I couldn’t supply on the night.
It has been lovely too, since the talk, to receive cards and other correspondence from audience members saying how much they enjoyed the evening.
All-in-all, it was a very successful – if impromptu – author talk. Actually, quite invigorating. And a great chance to do some pre-publicity for Settlement whilst encouraging people to read Displacement, the first book in the series.
So thank you to the SWI – which you can read more about here if you’re interested – and here’s to seizing the day.
Do you enjoy speaking about your work – writing or other? Have you ever had to give a talk at short notice? Did it go well?