Warning! Squirrels.

‘Do you enjoy murdering people?’ I asked Linda Strachan as we came out from the event with Eleanor Updale and Sally Gardner, where they had discussed killing their characters. ‘I do’ she said, far too enthusiastically for my liking. Linda has a new book out called Dead Boy Talking, and so far I’ve resisted reading it, because I’m scared. And quite frankly, her reply didn’t do much to allay my fears.

Photos at EIBF by Chris Close

Early Sunday morning started with some real Stirling haar, but by the time I was sweeping along in the wake of three Portuguese paragons in Edinburgh, the sun was shining and then it shone and shone and it got hotter and hotter. So did I, and towards mid-afternoon I was willing to kill for a cup of tea. Which isn’t free, unlike the coffee. I know I’m a moaner, but I really don’t get the difference. Other than that it’s £1.75 a cup.

Sunny Charlotte Square

Anyway, before I got so thirsty, I ran into Lindsey Fraser and introduced myself. We hadn’t met before, although I’d seen her in action here last year. As she ran off for an event, Linda Strachan strolled past, and we chatted a bit as I hung around waiting for the events ticket promised me by Eleanor. It was eventually delivered into my hand by none other than Mr Update himself, aka James Naughtie. I almost had a giddy fan moment there.

(Btw, Update is Son’s updated name for Updale. He tweeted, and got it a little wrong.)

Vivian French, Lindsey Fraser, Lauren, Eleanor Updale, Nina and Sally Gardner

Lindsey was, in fact, chairing the Historical Fiction talk with Sally and Eleanor, which was very interesting, even without those murderous thoughts. Sally was given a new surname, which came as a surprise, but I can assure you it was ‘the Gardner woman’ who was there. Updale can also cause problems, because your books can end up on the floor when bookshops run out of shelf space, although Eleanor has often been saved by the presence of Jacqueline Wilson, who’s got it even worse. They both read from their latest books, The Silver Blade and Johnny Swanson. And then they discussed Americans. (More of which later.) Sally confessed to feeling that killing a couple of her characters ‘was delicious’, and Eleanor has problems with her daughter who is furious over her killing a beloved character in Montmorency.

Eleanor Updale and Sally Gardner

In between a desperate need to eat my two-day-old sandwiches, we hung out with these killers in the bookshop for a bit, finding a few more authors hanging out as well. Took them back to the greenery at the opposite corner, and then dashed off to photograph Cornelia Funke, who got the ‘sexy’ style of photo session. Men!

Cornelia Funke

This aspiring astronaut and pilot has left her native Germany for Hollywood, and I bet that was a real sacrifice to make. The woman behind me gasped when she heard that Cornelia still writes her books in German, which personally I find isn’t odd at all. We had a world exclusive, hearing the first chapter from Reckless, her new book out in a month’s time.

Barry Hutchison

It was a relief getting to the Corner Theatre for Barry Hutchison after being baked in the main tent with Cornelia. I noticed the enormous queue trailing all round the square, which should have been a relief to Barry. And it did say outside the bookshop that he would be sighing there afterwards. Sorry, signing. Barry had been nervous about his Edinburgh debut, but it all went perfectly. He is scared of a lot of things. The squirrels are his. He’s scared of them. (Which reminds me of the story of the Shetland squirrels, which we’ll save for another day.)

Barry Hutchison fans

Barry is a good story teller, who has already managed to scare his own son witless with the latest book. He hopes to have traumatised a whole generation by book six, and considering the two fans on the right who looked normal before the event, you can tell it’s hard to escape unscathed.

I finished the day by getting thrown off the spotty table outside the yurt, as I was trying to do emergency internet stuff like posting a blog and sorting out photos. At this rate I’ll need both my own desk as well as a pot of tea to carry around.

Mairi Hedderwick

Whilst internet problems persist (We think it’s BT’s fault. Hi, BT!), my blogging behaviour will change, and I will post new blogs during the day from Charlotte Square. Always assuming spotty table is available.

Crossed the road against a red man in the company of two policemen, reckoning they’d be hit by the oncoming cars first. (I’m a caring sort of witch.) And I got off the train in Stirling right behind a piper in full tartan regalia, including the nonchalantly draped blanket nonchalantly thrown over his shoulder. As I thought about how hot HE must have been, he turned round and said something to me. I didn’t understand a word.

It can’t have been regarding my piece of smelly Brie, because I’d eaten that.

6 responses to “Warning! Squirrels.

  1. And Mairie Hedderwick? Just a random picture? Nice to see you working the crowd, Witch. A person might think you have some kind of a calling for this business.

  2. If your career is killing people, I certainly think you should do it well – and enthusiastically! And you´ll never catch me killing for tea (no guarantees when it comes to my characters), but it is great fun killing *with* tea.

  3. Mairi Hedderwick just happend to be sitting there when the photographer passed by. Would have loved to see her myself.
    I’m trying to murder with water. Hot water, carried round Charlotte Sq, because it’s the only way to get tea.

  4. Dear Witch,
    Edinburgh bulletins making my day. Marvellous. And there’s lovely Nina Douglas from Orion (in my opinion World’s Best Publicist) behind the equally lovely Sally Gardner. Wish I was there NOW but have to wait over a whole WEEK before my events. 😦 Now where are those squirrels?

  5. Squirrels are where they can scare Barry the most, which is only right and proper.

    Yes, those ladies came out very well, I think. Just waiting for you, now.

  6. Pingback: Dead Boy Talking | Bookwitch

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