Thursday, October 25, 2007

Julie Hearn

On Saturday we welcomed local author Julie Hearn to Mostly Books for the first of two author signings for half-term week. This was the first time we've ever done a straight signing (as opposed to a meet-the-author or themed event) and - in the absence of any ticket sales to give me an idea of numbers - I was a bit nervous about whether anyone was going to turn up.

Abingdon should be very proud of Julie Hearn. She was born here, and returned after spells in Australia and Spain. And her books are amazing. I'm always pretty fulsome in my praise of writers who have come to the shop, but it's been a complete joy for Nicki and I to discover Julie's books, and we're very lucky that she lives on our doorstep.

No matter that the books are aimed at the teen market - it's the ideas that do it for me. Neal Stephenson is my ur-author, and although the style is obviously different, for me, Julie's books have that same heady mix of deeply engaging characters, resonant historical settings and powerful ideas - whether it's witchcraft, social justice or suffragettes.

One reviewer praised her skills at 'weaving together folklore and history' (in The Merrybegot), and another describes her writing thus: "She takes scraps from history and creates characters so vivacious that they walk right out of history, off the page and into life cursing, kicking, scabby and loving.". Spot on.

In the end I needn't have worried about numbers. We had enough to keep Julie signing for the period, but not so busy that she couldn't spend time talking to everyone who turned up. It was a delightful afternoon, and we're really pleased she was able to come to the shop.

Having spent the last few weeks poring over the somewhat meagre offering for girls this Christmas (and for teenage girls in particular), I'd definitely recommend giving her books: Hazel, Ivy, The Merrybegot and Follow Me Down - a try.

3 comments:

  1. Just to say thank you so much for introducing me to this lovely writer. She sounded so fab that I went straight to her website. Then, because she still sounded lovely and her books sounded very much like the sort of thing I love, I to went to my local bookshop and bought the only one they had 'The Merrybegot'. It's already been promoted to the top of the 'to be read' pile.!

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  2. Make sure you let us know what you think! I don't believe you'll be disappointed however...

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  3. Hi Mark

    Good to hear your recent book signing went well. We're having a new pavement in our road too. They seem to be taking an inordinately long time over it, but they did spend most of their first day lookin gunder the bonnet of one of their cars...

    I hope the Christmas period is really busy for you.

    Best wishes

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