Thursday, 26 December 2013

The Atholl Expedition is off to a great start


I pressed the "publish" button on Christmas Eve, and sent the Kindle version of The Atholl Expedition out into the wild. My plan was to spend the day monitoring, responding to comments and questions, and generally doing "book launch" stuff; however, fate had another game to play. The storm overnight took out our phone line and broadband connection, and since there is absolutely no mobile signal at my parents' house (where I spent Christmas), I had to go in search of WiFi to do my work!

The local coffee shop saved the day - but while I was in the process of making announcements and writing blog posts, I got a call from my brother. My elderly granny had fallen dangerously ill and was being treated by an ambulance crew.

The situation stabilised, fortunately, but she remains very ill and together with everything else going on I didn't have much time for propelling my new book into the world.

However, my loyal readers stepped up and did most of the work for me. I've been quite frankly humbled by the kindness and enthusiasm shown by dozens of readers both known and unknown to me. Twitter is awash with what I can only describe as "Atholl expedition fever," there was plenty of activity on Facebook as well, and I have already been lucky enough to receive two stunning 5* reviews.

The response

Firstly, outdoor blogger Alistair Young read the book in a single sitting and has written this excellent review. I really could not be more pleased with this appraisal of my work. The fact that this reader understands what I have been trying to convey, and more importantly sees the future destiny of this series mapped out (in the form of ghostly hints) in this first volume, is in many ways a vindication of what I have written.

A few choice quotes:
This is not a mountaineering book. It’s a damn good story with fantastic characters set in fantastic scenery. It’s a book for anyone who loves wild places and cracking good yarns.
There are some wonderfully philosophical gems which are a hallmark of Alex’s writing, such as the evocative summit bivvy during the chase, in the heart of the wild Cairngorm landscape. 
I love the fictional/philosophical mix of Alex’s writing and he has a wonderful eye for the unseen. He can pick a place, add a character or two, get his magic spurtle out, give it a good stir and what comes out is more than went in and you’re left thinking, nodding and smiling.
Here is the other 5* review I have received so far, from Chris Highcock (also a notable outdoor blogger):


And finally, just a glimpse into the Twitter frenzy surrounding the book launch:


Next Steps

This is just the start for The Atholl Expedition. I am about to start work on the paperback edition, which I plan to have ready within 2 months if possible; this will really showcase Catherine's spectacular illustrations. I know many of you prefer to read physical books so I'm doing my best to get this done as a priority.

I am also looking into the possibility of launching the title on Kobo, Nook etc.

Another major task is to start work on Alpine Dawn Book II, which currently doesn't have a working title but I already have a rough idea of what it will involve. The astute reader will probably be able to put together a few pieces of the puzzle based on the events of Book I. Oh and I have another research trip to the Cairngorms lined up at the start of January.

Onwards and upwards!
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