Folk'ing Brilliant Book Launch...

I arrived with my partner Kath and my two sons (Laurence 10 and Adam 8) at about 5.50pm and was ushered up to the hitherto unknown to me “backstage” spaces up in the attic of the place. I walked past piles of unsold comic books and glorious figurines and collectables andchatted to Malachy for a while.


Malachy Coney is a former comic book writer and illustrator himself and a bit of a Belfast institution – originally from North Belfast, he has his own blog “Curiouser and Curiouser” and he’s been with Forbidden Planet and its forerunner Talisman since its inception in the late 1980s.

Atabout 6.20 Mal got the call that the place was packed and that lo and behold, the Lord Mayor had arrived. He and I went downstairs to the top floor of the shop itself and before I knew it I was shaking Martín’s hand and to my right was a sea of faces stretching all the way back to the windows at the far end.

I saw friends and family, co-workers and well-wishers, and more than a few people I didn’t recognise at all. Mal said a few words of thanks, my lovely Blackstaff editor Michelle Griffin did the same, and then the old smoothie himself Martín took the floor with his usual effortless patois,embarrassing the hell out of me by talking about the book’s sex scenes with my Mum present! My Mum Patricia has worked in the City Council for almost 30 years and is known from one end of the place to the other. She and my Dad Larry were proud onlookers as I clambered onto a makeshift podium (made out of a hurriedly-found stepladder!) and addressed the crowd, thanking everyone for coming out, Forbidden Planet for hosting and Michelle and Blackstaff Press for taking a chance on a first-time author, as well as Joanne Sayer (who sadly couldn't be there) for publishing Folk'd as an ebook last year and really giving me my big break.

I thanked Kath and my two sons for being there for me for the last ten years and pointed out that while there are similarities between me and the book’s protagonist, Danny Morrigan, the main difference is that everything that went right in my life went wrong in his and I am so grateful for that.

Finally I thanked my Mum and Dad for teaching me how to be me and for all the love and support they’ve given me down the years. I couldn’t resist embarrassing Mum a little more by revealing to all about the time she’d spent trying to get George Lucas on the phone when she heard I’d written a Star Wars story and how when she’d heard I was having a Doctor Who short story published I’d had many a Council employee stop me and ask “so, when’s your episode on?”. I warned Martín that while he may be the Lord Mayor of Belfast, by the time my Mum re-told the story of the night to anyone not present he would have become President Barack Obama...

After that the signings began in earnest and it all passed in a blur of signatures and dedications – it’s not easy to have a moment of inspiration to “write something funny” when you’ve got a queue of nearly a hundred people waiting impatiently!






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