As we continue to open our front doors occasionally and peer myopically out into what passes for an English summer (other nations are available – Italy perhaps, and well done to the Azzurri) to see if any of our neighbours are daring to brave the great outdoors, with or without face coverings, it’s time for another recap.
My last recap, written mid-pandemical lockdown, consisted of the phrase “nothing’s happened”. Well, that is no longer true, I’m glad to say.
It is now 665 days since A Very Important Teapot was published. This translates more readily to about 22 months. I can’t actually tell you exactly how many copies have been sold in that time (this being a secret more closely guarded than the name of Boris Johnson’s hairdresser), but it is definitely in the several hundreds and as I don’t have that many relatives, I guess we can call that moderate success, given that I’m neither someone you may have once seen in EastEnders nor a person who has written at extraordinary length about a non-existent boy wizard and his chums.
The number of complimentary things that people have written about Teapot continues to humble me, especially when you consider that I don’t know quite a few of those people and they don’t know me. Indeed, some of them live in countries I have never even visited. And a couple of them are moderately well-known authors, certainly better known than me. (Incidentally, if you are reading this and are related to or friends with anyone much more than moderately well-known, please point them in Teapot’s direction.) Clearly, my lack of fame is spreading. It wouldn’t be true to say that this encouraging response prompted me to write the sequel which, after a pageful of alternative titles, finally came to be called Bored to Death in the Baltics, because hubris got there first, but it certainly encouraged me to finish it. And it’s coming out on 14th September, which is fantastic. I continue to be gobsmackingly grateful to Katie and her ever-evolving team at Claret Press, firstly for taking a punt on Teapot and then for not moving premises with no forwarding address and therefore sort of being backed into a corner so that Bored to Death has come into being as well. And talking of Bored to Death, if you are reading this and cannot bear to wait another month to buy it, I have a number of advance copies clogging up a cupboard here at Dawson Towers and would be delighted to wing one your way for a tenner, including postage, signed or unsigned (the latter probably increases the resale value). Contact me via this website or on firstname.lastname@example.org.
So, what else has been happening? I recently dusted down the boxes of unsold Teapots that have been residing in the same cupboard throughout the pandemic and lugged them merrily off to the Jericho Book Fair in deepest Oxford where I’m pleased to report I found several people willing to hand over money for a signed copy (despite the rain). I have also discovered a handful of new buyers in my home village (which is a plus for building big new estates in small villages – possibly the only plus). And it being the sort of quirky village that holds a Donkey Derby and Fete on August Bank Holiday, I shall be there with yet more books. My long-proposed talk at Carterton Library, Oxfordshire, has been put back twice and I do not currently have a date for that, but I’m still hopeful (and scared of course) that it might happen. At least I now have two books to talk about. And that goes as well (both the two books and the scaredness) for the talk I am definitely giving to the Friends of Kennington Library at 11 am on Wednesday 6th October (this is Kennington, south of Oxford, not to be confused with the South London one where they play cricket, although ironically I did play cricket there the other day). By that time, Bored to Death will be living (if not exactly breathing) flesh. And then, on 6th November (all day), there is the many-times-postponed inaugural Oxford Indie Book Fair at the Wesley Memorial Hall, New Inn Lane, Oxford OX1 2DH. Come and have a chat. Bring money.
I will endeavour to be more efficient in updating this website from now on, on the basis that someone may one day accidentally stumble upon it.