Books will have had posher send-offs, but few will have had warmer ones than my second novel, Claudius, was given last night at Blackwell’s bookshop in Edinburgh.
Around 120 people packed the upstairs venue on South Bridge to launch the epic tale of the Roman invasion of Britain on a tidal wave of good will that was followed by an evening of good company and even better conversation. It was a fantastic turnout and what made it even better was that ninety per cent of them were my friends.
My roots are in the Scottish Borders and we had a big contingent from Jedburgh and Ancrum, made up mainly of family and old school pals. My neighbours from Bridge of Allan filled a train carriage to make the hour-long trip. And my former workmates at the Scotsman turned out in large numbers. There were familiar, but unexpected faces from my past, and unfamiliar ones who had turned up purely out of interest in writing and writers.
I gave a speech and a couple of readings that got a great reception then I signed books until my wrist ached.