My first book signing event | Val McDermid Insidious Intent

Val McDermid has been my favourite author since I became hooked on the Tony and Carol series over ten years ago. She recently visited Manchester and I snapped up the £5 ticket! I didn’t know what to expect at my first ever book signing, so here’s a little guide for fellow newbies.

before the event

I visited the signing at Waterstones Deansgate, the biggest bookshop in the North of England. A few days earlier I bought a ticket and Val’s new book, Insidious Intent, the tenth in the series. On arrival, a member of staff told me to make my way to the fiction floor, surely the perfect location for this event.

Chairs lined the room with eager fans, like myself, waiting to meet their literary idol. I found a seat, mid row. Not too close or far, as I got accustomed to this alien event. Murmurs bubbled around the library whilst we awaited Val’s entrance.

I immediately felt comfortable. There’s something so beautiful about sitting among a sea of books of all shapes and sizes. Their spines teasing you with indicative titles. Words inside holding their own tantalising stories. Bliss.

waterstones deansgate book signing

during the event

Val was introduced and walked down the aisle almost like a bride would during their wedding. Maybe this was in honour of her new book, which centres around a wedding killer. Or maybe this is just the way these events happen.

Val stood on the small stage, front and centre, to discuss her new book (with no spoilers!) and surprisingly her background. It was absolutely fascinating and an unexpected bonus. Following her charming, confident and comedic talk, she opened questions to the floor. Of course I stayed quiet at my first event, but listened carefully to everyone else.

Finally, we were asked to move rooms for the book signing. I stood in the queue, thinking of what to say, ask or do. I spoke about being an event manager, that I’d been a fan for over a decade and that I was her serial tweeter! She was friendly as ever, signed my book and posed for a photograph. Here I am pleased as punch.

val mcdermid and culturebean

Five Val Mcdermid facts

  1. Val’s love affair with crime novels started thanks to her Grandma, who owned an Agatha Christie book. This also sparked a life of crime, as Val would pretend to borrow these adult library books for her ‘ill’ mother.
  2. It took Val an unusually long time to realise she was destined to write crime.
  3. Waterstones Deansgate accidentally hosted Val’s first event. The author she was there to meet was late and so, as a newly published author, was asked to fill in.
  4. The Tony Hill series came to her whilst driving down the motorway. She stopped and wrote down most of the story. When she arrived home, out of character she switched on BBC News and low and behold the guest was a Criminal Profiler. The rest was history.
  5. A casual conversation with her friend sparked the story for Insidious Intent. Of course she would put a murderous twist on a joyous occasion.

Val described Agatha Christie’s novels as a fantastic piece of engineering, and I would argue that she has reached that level too. Thankfully, she also revealed there WILL be another Tony and Carol novel. This event provided a real insight into both book and author; I’ll definitively attend more after such a great experience.

Val McDermid’s works are intelligent, brutal and addictive. Pick one up today. You won’t be disappointed.

Are you a fan? What are your favourite novels?


Image Credit: Waterstones Twitter, Creative Tourist


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