• Richard James

Into The Lion's Den

For an author, there's nothing more frightening than coming face to face with your readers. Particularly when you're an emerging author (I always think that phrase makes me seem like some sort of creature bursting from a chrysalis). Up until last week, my first novel (The Head In The Ice) had garnered some lovely reviews on Amazon, and I had received some nice emails and tweets from those who were plainly enjoying the story. But this was different. This was an invitation to meet a book club who had chosen to read my debut novel as their monthly pick. Many of them, I was told, wouldn't have ordinarily chosen a book from my genre (Victorian detective fiction), but that was the whole point. The members enjoyed having their literary horizons broadened!

So, over some nibbles and a glass or two of something bubbly, they each in turn told me exactly what they thought. They were universally, I'm pleased to say, impressed. Over two hours we discussed the intricacies of the plot, where the inspiration for the book had come from, and just what it takes to research a novel set a hundred and twenty years ago. They loved the atmosphere and characters, with many of them feeling that they had been taken back to Victorian London. I was particularly pleased that even those who wouldn't have ordinarily picked up the book in a book shop were keen to follow the series onto book two and beyond.

Generously, they let me record the whole evening and so I've put an abridged version of their thoughts here, on my website. Have a listen and see if you agree!

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