Edinburgh Book Festival last year, Maryom and our daughter had seen Jasper Fforde double acting with Philip Ardagh during a book signing and found him very funny. Since then she's read a couple of his books, "The Eyre Affair" and "First Among Sequels" both of which feature Thursday Next and was looking forward to catching him again 'live'. The challenge was whether he was as funny on his own.
The event was very well attended and sometimes you are left wondering about the make up of the audience. This was something we would later be left in no doubt about.
Jasper took the lectern after an introduction by Shane Maxwell-Atkin, Waterstones Regional Events Manager for Greater Manchester & East Midlands. He started by introducing us to his new book and how it's title changed at the last moment when he realised that the original title no longer fitted the book. And, yes, from the outset it became clear that he was still extremely funny without a partner on stage. At these events you expect a book reading - nay, look forward to it. Although he talked a lot about his whole publication history we didn't get a reading but we didn't feel the poorer for it. He also told us a little of his own book (that came FIRST by the way) called Shades Of Grey and the interesting notion that what we see doesn't really exist - it sounded so plausible when he said it!
He then fielded questions and we found that a significant number of people had read ALL his books and it felt we were attending a convention! Some of the questions reinforced this feeling as the questions at times focussed on the minutiae of the plots - clearly Jasper Fforde is a VERY popular author with many people.
He also told us a little of his next 3 books, a top secret project which will be a standalone of which he told us nothing, a prequel to Shades Of Grey and another book (his words, not mine!).
The book queue was LONG... as it tends to be at these events at Waterstones and a cup of coffee while queueing and chatting would be grand... but Costa is generally closed.