The official website of Scottish Author David F Porteous
"It's a very small room," he said. "Watch out for the light when we go in".
The room is at the top of Central Library in Edinburgh, a George Washington Brown building constructed eccentrically with Carnegie money in the late nineteenth century. It is an office that would adequately accommodate four people so long as none of them were trying to run a photographic studio.
I'm to be part of a series - authors who have done readings at the library. Those already shot include Ian Rankin and Alasdair Gray - who earlier in the day won the Saltire Society's Book of the Year Award, declined the honour, and was given it anyway. It's an exhibition years in the making and I'm sure whether I actually feature in the final line-up will depend substantially on the sales of the second book.
With the umbrella-sized battery of light tubes a few feet from my face, I adopt the pose that all previous sitters have adopted; turned slightly away, but eyes toward the camera. I'm repeatedly told to open my eyes wide, because as it turns out I've been squinting since the mid-80s.
All of this is a prelude to the event itself - my first public reading and a discussion of what it's like to have written and published your first novel. Certain fathoms below the microstudio the guests are assembling in a basement space, expecting to be entertained. I feel like I felt when I did stand-up almost a decade ago - nervous and powerful, like I'm carrying a static charge that makes all my hair stand up.
"Have a look," the other of the pair of photographers bids me and I shuffle around the equipment to peer at a Mac screen. The photo itself is very good, but is let down by the subject.
"I'd be grateful," I say, "if you could trim it so you can't see the contour of my man boob".
The first photographer nods soberly, adding, "Don't worry: we've done this
Mark Douglas-Home and I pass in the green room as he goes to have his picture taken next. He's the other name on the bill and by far the more credible - former editor of the Glasgow Herald and possessed of enough sense to write a crime novel; you know, something people actually read.
I'm presented to the event chair - Scottish veteran journalist Jackie McGlone, who is an immediately appealing mix of Muriel Spark and Mary Portas. I try to correct a few details in the biography she's been supplied with, but she already knows; she's done her research.
When Mark returns, the three of us are mic'ed-up and we all firmly express no preference as to where we sit.
"I'm sure I have a good side," I say. "I just can't tell which one it is".
We laugh, but I'm not writing that one down. Eventually we settle on me on Jackie's right, Mark on her left and descend to the basement where the audience is waiting, the lights are dimmed and the microphones go live.
"At about nine I sat down to write a book and got as far as numbering and naming each of the chapters, having no idea how to do anything else. The story I’d wanted to write was somewhere between the Elizabeth Shue film Adventures in Babysitting and Harry Potter. I think somebody still needs to write that story".
Read the rest of my interview here: http://tinyurl.com/5u64ch4
The virtual book tour for Singular has been arranged. Twenty dates from 16 May to 30 June 2011 including 7 interviews with me, 8 guest blogs, 3 reviews and at least 5 prize giveaways (including a one-of-a-kind prize to be announced on the 16th). I'm very excited to be working with the Virtual Book Tour Cafe and with all the other bloggers and reviewers involved.
I'll be using the Twitter hashtag #svbt (Singular Virtual Book Tour) and I'll use the SVBT tag on my blog so you can keep track of all the latest posts and updating the Singular's page on Facebook.
A few weeks ago I was on the 101 Show on TMOA. I used to do a news bit for their break about half way through and I was both happy and eager to go back to talk about Singular - which I left the show to write.
I hope the audioplayer works because I've never used it before - let me know if you have any problems.
Thanks to Ken White at TMOA and to hosts Jason Giacopelli and Jason Leonti for having me and letting me post the interview. I'd also check out the photography websites of both these guys as they're pretty awesome.
Technically I’m preparing for my first book event. I mean... Wait, let’s start with the details.
On Sunday, 7pm UK time, I’ll be going on the Industry 101 Show at TMOA to talk about Singular. I used to do a news break for the show, which I stopped doing in 2009 to devote more time to my writing. I haven’t been on the show since, but I’m sure they often talk about me.
“I wish Porteous was here”, “This show was so much better when David was on”, “Wasn’t it good, wasn’t he fine, isn’t it madness he can’t be mine” – stuff like that.
I expect I’ll talk about the book and about self-publishing. Someone will confess they don’t know how to read (possibly me), we’ll be joined by a surprise caller whom DNA tests have confirmed to be my hitherto unknown son. And the hosts will swear at each other. It’s that kind of a show.
If you’re free on Sunday, listen in.
Where Am I?
dfpiii.com is the official website of David F Porteous. Use the tabs to learn more about David, his books: Singular and The Death of Jack Nylund, or read his blog.
(<<< The blog is over there).