The North East Spreads the Word

After its successful launch at the Appledore Book Festival, Off-the-Wall Walking’s promotion in the North East was given a huge boost when Northumberland’s daily paper, The Journal, devoted a double page spread to it entitled 'Bust Sparks Wall Odyssey'. 

Book Signings Reunion

One happy outcome was the unexpected arrival at the book signing in Borders Store, Newcastle, of Geoff who’d donated his sandals to Laurence at a critical point on the walk and had seen his name mentioned in the article. Laurence was delighted to present him with a signed copy of the book.

New Outlets Opened Up

Apart from very good sales at Borders, Northumberland National Park HQ ordered copies for their main visitor centre, as did Hexham and Haltwhistle Tourist Information Offices. The National Trust are currently considering it for their prime Housesteads site and Waterstone’s can now also supply the book countrywide.

Independent Bookseller takes 60 copies

The Cogito Bookshop arranged for Laurence’s talk at Hexham Abbey. The tactics he outlined for enhancing any journey were applauded (and hopefully acted upon later!) The bookshop ordered 60 books, most of which they have now sold. One mother took three copies as presents; one for each of her grown-up sons.

Story Book Ending

While at Hexham, Laurence met up with Elizabeth Tait, the now 90-year-old lady who rounded off his whole story and joined him at the end of the walk. She told him about the stone in Hexham Abbey crypt which recorded Caracalla’s vain attempt to wipe out all traces of his brother and joint emperor, Geta, whom he had arranged to be murdered. The story had started with Caracalla’s bust at the Metropolitan Museum, New York, so it was most fitting to return to Hexham Abbey where a reminder of Caracalla’s crime is forever carved out of stone. And thanks again to Elizabeth who, though frail in health, is as lively-minded and staunchly independent as ever.


North-West Passage Navigated!

These were the highlights of an action-packed promotional tour in the North-West:

Book Signings

The most rewarding aspect of the book signings over two days at Waterstones in Carlisle was meeting people, from those who bought the book for fellow walkers, a brother's birthday, a husband in bed with a broken ankle or a thank-you gift, to the four young sisters thrilled enough at meeting a writer to have their photograph taken with him and hopefully inspired enough to write their own stories. Having a special aide to attend to the writer was a novel experience and a first for the newly appointed in-store assistant


Laurence had the honour of opening the proceedings of the Greenhead W.I. group, who were celebrating the 81st anniversary of their founding. He talked about the remarkable women encountered on the walk and was delighted to invite Eileen - the lady who entrusted him with her husband's sandals - as his guest. She was given a wholehearted round of applause for her pivotal role in the book.

The talk at Tullie House Museum on the meaning of walls was very well received. Transcriptions from the Whispering Wall exhibit were read out and it is hoped that the interest raised will encourage the restitution of some of the recordings within the wall which are no longer operative.

Reviews of the book were published in Cumberland News, Cumbria Life magazine - April/May issue and simultaneously in The Northumbrian. You can view excerpts from the book that appeared in 'Country Walking', February issue, by clicking here. Dramatic photographs of Hadrian's Wall and two of Hilary Paynter's wood engravings were also featured.
First Printing Sold Out

Now into its first reprint, the book continues to sell well with new outlets such as WHSmith stocking it.

Off-the-Wall Walking at the Double! 

Having won the Local Interest category of the National Self-Publishing Awards, Laurence was taken by surprise at the Awards Ceremony to also be presented with a Silver Cup and Certificate for the Self-Publishing Marketing Award.

An article describing his marketing approach appeared in the July 2008 issue of Writers’ News.

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