Every chair in Chester Library was squeezed into the reference area upstairs to seat an audience of over 50 keen readers, eager to hear and talk to Lindsey Davis.
This was a launch event in a series of activities planned by Cheshire West and Chester Libraries for Pages Ago and it felt very right to be listening to a writer of Roman period novels, in the North West's most Roman city
Another happy coincidence (bearing in mind Pages Ago's purpose to promote Fic and Non-Fic equally) was that Lindsey was launching, not one, but 2 books; no 20 in The Falco series Nemesis and a non-fiction volume Falco The Official Companion
Lindsey gave a well-practised talk about her writing career which entertained and informed readers and writers alike. What came through most strongly was her apparent enjoyment of her writing life; she doesn't plan too meticulously but allows the stories and characters to take their own course. She enjoys visits to the places she writes about, regularly and makes sure she builds in variety to what she writes.
Although describing the Falco series as "the Roman Archers" and playing down any notion of hard work, she clearly does take the responsibility of being a historical novelist seriously and believes that she should get the details right. If she doesn't, she gets plenty of feedback from her readers, which might inspire a new storyline in the next book. Story always comes first, followed by careful research.
Unusually, in my experience, she seemed to listen to her readers more than many a writer, writing the Falco Companion to answer questions that crop up from them. Because of readers, she claimed, characters have become much more important than plot and readers who want to follow the fortunes of Falco's large extended family, need to read the series in chronological order.
It felt as if the questions could have gone on for a long time but after an hour the formal proceedings were brought to a close, so that readers could talk to Lindsey individually and of course buy books. I don't know what time the library managed to finally close its doors, as yours truly had to leave for a train. I guess it was quite a late evening.
Many thanks to Cheshire West and Chester Libraries for arranging such an appropriate and enjoyable event.