Being a natural show off I love giving talks. When writers first get published people assume that they are good at this. Most writers are absolutely terrified of gettng up in public and talking to an audience and not just writers, apparently it's one of the things that bothers people most.
I was nervous at first and then one evening I decided to go for broke and talk without notes or cards and it worked much better. I made eye contact with the audience right from the beginning and they are there because they want to be there so they urge you on to do your best.
When I first went to private school my dad decided that I ought to try and cultivate a better way of talking, being brought up in a pit village I had a thick accent. So he decided to pay for elocution lessons at school. That brought into my life a wonderful teacher by the name of Margaret Marshall. It was quite funny really but when I came to take the exams along with a lot of very middle class girls some of whom had been 'taught to talk proper' from birth I got several distinctions. I think we had all imagined that I wouldn't be very good at this but then nobody had thought about my grandmother.
My grandma, Elizabeth Gill had a very clear speaking voice. Thank you again, Grandma, for giving me something so useful. I'm the woman who never needs a microphone. When I speak at a library in Durham you can hear me in Newcastle. There isn't a hall so big that I can't be heard good and loud at the back.
My daughter is the same, she doesn't fear getting up in public because I too encouraged her to have lessons on how to do such things and more and more people are required in their jobs to get up and give presentations so I always thought it was a useful thing to learn. You can go on courses for it now. My dad had to pay for elocution lessons all the time I was at school because I enjoyed it so much and I also got good parts in the school plays. I never did lose my Tow Law accent, I'm pleased to say and I'm proud of where I come from.
Writing is one of these solitary things that it's lovely to get away from. I really like meeting people, librarians are amongst my favourite people of all, they read the books I read and will happily spend hours discussing them, they are enthusiastic and wonderful and organised.
This is me, wearing my new Monsoon dress at Houghton yesterday. I had such a good time. It's Houghton Feast where they do up the town with decorations and have all manner of events and invite lucky people like me to give talks.
I am giving talks at other libraries soon, so in case anybody is nearby and wants to go to one I'll list them. The Crook group is having a history event this autumn.
I'm at Langley Park at 2.30p.m. on Friday October 29th
Esh Winning at 2.30p.m. on Tuesday November 2nd
Shildon at 2.30p.m. on Tuesday November 16th
Cornforth at 4p.m. on Tuesday November 23rd