I had a fantastic time at the Angus Book Awards lately.
First of all there was dinner in the amazing Coutts Court, a 17th century townhouse in the heart of Montrose run by host-with-the-most, Marshall.
On award day, I gave one talk about Cross My Heart at Montrose Academy and then another in Montrose Town Hall. Eight secondary schools from all over the county were involved in the day, and guys, you were a wonderful audience.
The award ceremony itself – well, what can I say? There were eight films, two about each one of the short-listed books. My book was last and I was sitting on stage watching each of those films thinking: this story is amazing, it’s definitely going to win.
Then came the two trailers for Cross My Heart and they just blew me away. They were so brilliant and so moving that despite my best efforts, I began to cry. Eeek, soooo embarrassing! Then I had to say a few words, which was all a bit tricky and emotional.
And then it was gold envelope time… and I won!! Blimey! I had to say a few more words. I’m not sure what I said, it all felt like a bit of a mad blur and mainly I wanted to apologise to the other authors #theywasrobbed.
But somehow, I got through that and into the cheerful scrum at the signing tables.
The best thing about the whole day (thanks to the brilliant organisers, librarians, and school teachers) was the mad keen enthusiasm about books and reading.
I loved hearing from the English teacher who said that getting the pupils to make film trailers of the stories had inspired their reading like nothing else! (Top tip there, English teachers: go use the drama studio and the computing department!)
So long live the Angus Book Award and thank you, thank you, thank you. I will treasure my Pictish stone statue, which does, according to my children, look quite like a shark’s fin… or maybe a stone surfboard. I love it!