This isn’t a tribute to Hamilton, although that is an astonishing piece of work. Wonderful. No, this is about the privilege of telling a story in the room where the action takes place, and singing songs inspired by that story there too. The video is below, have a watch. When I started out writing The Light Keeper a long time ago, I was living in a new town by the sea, trying to get used to it all and looking for friends. I walked the landscape around Belle Tout, Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters with an open mind and heart, looking for a way to respond to it as I had the landscape of the Dingle peninsula in County Kerry for the book Hungry for Home. I was hungry for home when we came to live here; hungry for a place to settle, raise kids and belong. So what a joy to be able to go up into the Lantern Room of the Belle Tout lighthouse and tell stories and sing songs from The Light Keeper, which opens and closes with scenes in that very room. The views are breathtaking, genuinely, as you will see during this performance filmed by Neil MacInnes. The song is Come Way, written by myself and David Perry, who is on guitar and vocals, with Bruce Pont and Phoene Cave also singing. Thank you to David Shaw, the lighthouse owner, for making it possible and for the manager Ian Noall for hosting us with a small audience. The great news is that we are hoping to do it again in the Spring, and there will be another chance to win tickets. In the meantime, you can come and hear the stories and songs at the National Trust Cafe at Birling Gap this Saturday at 5pm. This will also be very special, as it is another place where the action of the story happens and it too is right on the edge of the cliff. Tickets are available here. Get yours now because there aren’t many left. But also have a look at this, for a taste of what you will hear.
No, of course not. But there I was, singing a song on board a boat on the Thames when I saw the water was undoubtedly, unnervingly, half way up the glass. People were looking worried. They were looking for the exits. I was worried. Wouldn’t you have been? Look at it …
Thanks to Helen Daniels for the picture. This was an alarmingly literal response by the river to the words of the song: “Let your love roll down, like the wave turn.”
We were on the Tamesis Dock, a barge venue moored opposite the House of Parliament, on the day of one of those big crisis votes. No metaphors there about a sinking ship, oh no. All I could think of was to keep singing, with The Light Keepers, the band we formed after David Perry and I wrote a set of songs in response to the novel. Anyway, we didn’t drown. The windows held fast. Stories were told, drink was taken. Fun was had.
There are more events coming up, could you get to one of them? It would be good to see you there.
I promised free stuff, so I’m giving away a pair of tickets to each one, to anyone who can show they have reviewed the book on Amazon, GoodReads or anywhere else. I’ll pick the winners in a week’s time, so you’ve got until then to stick something up somewhere and get in touch. With a bit of luck we’ll stay dry …
See you there!
I’d love to see you at one of the events I’ve got coming up, where I’ll be reading from The Light Keeper, telling the real-life stories behind my debut novel and singing some new songs written to go with it.
PUBLICATION DAY IS AUGUST 15 AND YOU CAN PRE-ORDER HERE
These are the other dates, do please come and say hello:
Friday August 9 at 1.30pm
Words Pavillion at the Firle Vintage Fair, hosted by Much Ado Books
Thursday, August 15 at 7pm
Publication day party at DC1 Café, Eastbourne SOLD OUT
Wednesday, August 21 at 7.30pm
Sunday, August 25 at 5.45pm
Greenbelt Festival, first ever full performance of The Light Keeper readings and songs
Friday, August 30 at 7pm
The Light Keeper at the Wish Tower, a rare chance to see and hear stories and songs inside an historic venue built to defend the South Coast from Napoleon! Tickets are free but numbers are very limited because of the building, so get in quickly for this one.
Thursday, September 5 at 7pm
London launch of The Light Keeper with stories and songs on a moored boat in Vauxhall. Free entry by ticket only. DETAILS SOON
Friday, September 13 at noon
The Light Keeper in the Lantern Room of the Belle Tout lighthouse, exclusive performance for a dozen mailing list members only, sign up here for the chance to win tickets and/or a room for two at the lighthouse that night.
Saturday, September 14 at noon
Waterstones, Hastings, Meet The Author free event with readings, stories and songs
Saturday, October 12 at 7.30pm
Pies, Peas and Performance event hosted by Paul Cookson in Retford
More to be announced soon. If you’d like me to come and talk, read and sing in your front room, church, pub, club, venue or stadium, get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
My first novel The Light Keeper is a story of love and hope, grief, faith and longing.
A young woman called Sarah stands on the brink, arms open wide as if to let the wind carry her away. She’s come to the cliffs to be alone, to face the truth about her life and to work out what to do, Her lover Jack is searching, desperate to find her before it is too late. But Sarah doesn’t want to be found. Not yet. Not by him. And someone else is seeking answers up here where the seabirds soar – a man known only as the Keeper, living in an old lighthouse right on the edge of a four-hundred-foot drop. He is all too aware that sometimes love takes you to the edge …
The book comes out on August 15 but you can pre-order a copy here at a special discount or sign up to the mailing list and get the first three chapters to read immediately, for free.
Now the lovely people at the Belle Tout lighthouse are letting me give away a night’s luxury bed and breakfast there for two people, again for free. It’s a stunning location on a cliff in the beautiful landscape near Beachy Head in East Sussex, close to the Seven Sisters. You will never have stayed anywhere like it. And this is the setting for much of the book, so you will have a sense of being right inside the story.
I’ll be reading from the book, telling the true tales behind it and singing some of the songs written to go with the book, in an exclusive event at lunchtime on Friday 13 September. This is in the Lantern Room of the lighthouse, with spectacular 360 degree views of the sea and the Downs. It’s exclusively for members of the mailing list and there are only a dozen places available, so you have to sign up for a chance to win a pair. We’ll choose them at random (by number rather than name) on publication day, and also select the person who will be offered the chance to stay with a plus one that same night, in a lovely room with a spectacular view. If you win and you can’t come, I’ll give you a signed copy of the book and arrange a private reading at a date to suit you.
Thanks for reading, and hope to see you at the lighthouse.
Love and strength,