Welcome to the May edition of the Ringwood Newsletter for 2024! There’s been plenty going on lately and we’ve got some stellar book recommendations for you, so curl up with a hot drink, stay out of the rain, and enjoy!

Moot by Rob McInroy: Hometown Launch a Great Success!
By Andrew Mackenzie.

Thank you to everyone who joined us at Strathearn Arts in Crieff for the Launch of Moot, on Sunday May 26th. It was a fantastic opportunity to hear author, Rob McInroy, give readings from his newest novel, Moot – the third instalment of the Bob Kelty Series of historical crime novels of which, he revealed at the launch, there are many more to come. It was a real pleasure to listen to Rob explaining his inspirations for becoming a writer, for Moot and to hear him answering some fascinating questions from the audience as well.

The venue was of particular importance to Rob, as he explained that the Main Hall at Strathearn Arts was a public library when he was growing up in Crieff, and then spoke of his desire to become a Librarian, having been inspired by hours spent trawling the shelves of the then library. The memories were clearly vivid in his mind, as he pointed out in the hall where the Children’s section used to stand.

Left to right: event chair Andrew Mackenzie, and authors Rob McInroy and Dr Ian Spring

We were joined by Dr Ian Spring, a fellow writer of crime fiction and an academic based in Perth, who asked Rob questions about his inspiration for writing historical fiction, as well as the use of Scots within his novels. This prompted a lively discussion with the audience, which drew some fascinating insights from both Rob and Ian. We’d like to thank Ian for his involvement in the event, for giving fascinating insight into the importance of writing in Scots, and discussion of historical crime fiction as a genre.

Rob was also asked about his research processes and gave us a fascinating insight into the next instalment of the series, and the future plans for Bob Kelty. If you would like to watch the event in its entirety, you can do so here.

We’d also like to take the time to thank Strathearn Arts for opening their doors to us, in particular Angela Lennon, who assisted with the organisation of the event, and Fiona Wellstood, for her assistance on the day.

The event ended with Rob taking the time to sign copies of Moot, and we were pleased to leave with boxes far lighter than they were when we arrived! You can purchase your own copy of Moot here for £12.99.

Cover of Rob McInroy’s latest novel.

Covers Event
By Ciara Robertson.

On Sunday 19th May, we held our hugely successful Covers Event at Hillhead Library. Chaired by Ringwood Board member and head of our Cover Design Committee, Marie-Claire Jones, the enraptured audience heard from Ringwood’s in-house Graphic Designer, Skye Galloway. Skye shared insights into her journey to Ringwood, her design processes and provided tips and tricks for budding designers. The audience had the opportunity to ask Skye about the challenges and rewards of book cover design, including her favourite designs so far.

Skye Galloway (left) and Marie-Claire Jones (right)

Following the Q&A, the ‘Top Five Ringwood Covers’ as voted for by the public were revealed… The Carnelian TreeThe ActivistThe Hotel HokusaiMoot and Millennial Munros: A Postman’s Round. The audience cast their final vote and The Hotel Hokusai, written by T.Y. Garner and designed by Ringwood’s in-house cover designer Skye Galloway, was named ‘Ringwood Cover of the Decade’! Congratulations Skye for designing such a brilliant cover and thank you to everyone who voted!

Cover of The Hotel Hokusai, Ringwood’s Cover of the Decade

Attendees then participated in two workshops designed to get their creative juices flowing. The first allowed them to discuss and give feedback on older Ringwood covers, while the second was a design exercise for one of our forthcoming titles, The Unmaking of Eddie Muir. Using what they had learned from the Q&A with Skye, participants built on Skye’s early cover drafts to come up with some incredible designs of their own. We had three winners who received some special prizes for their fantastic creations.

Thank you to our readers and to everyone who came along and made this event a great success. Thanks also to Hillhead Library for continuing to provide a great venue for Ringwood events, and of course to Skye, Marie-Claire and the rest of the Ringwood team who worked so hard to put this event together.

Keep an eye out for Skye’s upcoming interview with Marie-Claire, and if you’re also interested in volunteering with Ringwood, please get in touch! Email us at: mail@ringwoodpublishing.com.

Revenge of the Tyrants Launch
Written by Emma Clarke.

On April 28th, Ringwood officially launched L.A. Kristiansen’s Revenge of the Tyrants, a follow up to her 2020 novel, Raise Dragon. The event was held at Glasgow’s Hillhead Library and was hugely successful, with the room packed full of people eager to celebrate Lynda’s books.

The event was kicked off by Ringwood Chair member Lynsey Smith, who gave a speech on the importance of historical fiction, and the contemporary resonances in Revenge of the Tyrants, as well as the rest of Ringwood’s historical fiction. Then Ringwood author of the Bob Kelty series, Rob McInroy, joined us virtually to give a fascinating talk about the value of historical fiction.

Paul Ryan (left) and Lynda Kristiansen (right)

Afterwards, Lynda’s friend Paul Ryan read aloud two thrilling excerpts from Revenge of the Tyrants, before senior Ringwood intern Emma chaired a Q&A with Lynda, who answered some insightful and intriguing questions about the book.

If you weren’t able to make the launch, don’t worry! We’ve still got copies of both of Lynda’s books in stock on our website, and you can find them both at the link here.

Scotland, 1306. While the King of Scots wages a desperate, bloody war for Scotland’s independence, four intrepid Scottish knights flee from cunning Templar Knight Geoffrey De Charney’s labyrinth on a treasure barge. What follows is a journey directly to the heart of the conflict, and a vivid depiction of the scheming, treachery and violence it entailed. Meanwhile, Kings Edward the first of England, Philip the fourth of France, and Haakon the fifth of Norway each plot to destabilise each other and become the dominant force in Europe. They each have their own reasons to thwart the Scots, and each will stop at nothing to gain their victory.

The fight for the nation’s soul has begun, and nothing will ever be the same.

The second in a planned series of eight novels on the Scottish Wars of Independence, L.A. Kristiansen’s Revenge of the Tyrants features some of its most famous (and infamous) participants in a brutal struggle for freedom, power, and revenge.

Sandy Jamieson and Isobel Freeman (left), Ringwood interns, and author Lynda A. Kristiansen (centre)

Song of the Stag interview with author R.M. Brown.
By Rachel Harley.

It’s just over a month until the official launch of R.M. Brown’s Song of the Stag! Rachel Harley had a chat with Ringwood’s newest author to discuss her new book, the writing process and musical inspiration.

Rebecca M. Brown, author of Song of the Stag

What part of bringing Song of the Stag to life has been most rewarding?
Definitely watching the story and characters brought to life through the editing process. I’ve been so attached to these characters for a long time, but they’ve only ever existed within my own mind. I’ll always remember seeing those characters’ names on the developmental report for the first time and reading the team’s thoughts on them. I had the biggest smile on my face knowing that the characters that have followed me around for the past six years were loved and understood by other people! It was surreal, but so, so heart-warming to be able to have conversations about something I made up with other people who see the vision.

If Song of the Stag had a soundtrack, what are 3 songs that would definitely be on it?
As a chronic playlist maker, this is such a fun question! I have a playlist of songs relating to Song of the Stag listed in order of the story on my Spotify, but the main ones would have to be…
Epiphany by Taylor Swift. Way back when I first started working on the book, one of my friends told me the song was reminiscent of a scene I had sent her. Since then, it has been the official-unofficial title track in my mind, with its melancholic yet hopeful lyrics, and theme of collective struggle and companionship.

Ella Robert’s version of 
The Skye Boat Song. It’s always been a favourite of mine on the Song of the Stag playlist. In my head, it sits right at the cusp of act 3 as a dramatic rallying call for the characters.

What Do You Do by The Proclaimers. The song is all about hopelessness within a broken system, and the lyrics paint a picture of an inescapable cycle of inequality. This is exactly where our characters are at the beginning of Song of the Stag, and the line ‘What do you do when democracy fails you?’ feels to me like a thesis-statement for what the novel stands for.

What do you hope readers will take away after finishing Song of the Stag?
I’d love for people to be left with a sense of hope, even in the face of tragedy. That’s something that is so prevalent in our world right now, with horrible things happening every day that we feel we can’t control. I’d also like the novel to leave readers feeling empowered, whether that’s being empowered to do something they’ve never felt capable of or empowered to try and make a difference in the world. Plus, if I can convert a few people into Scottish independence supporters, that’s always a bonus!

Song of the Stag will be launched at 7pm on June 27th at the Tinsmith, Glasgow. Make sure to pre-order your signed copy here to receive the book a week before the official launch. You won’t want to miss out on this amazing book!

Meet the Intern
By Megan Gibson. 

Publishing is a hard industry to break into–nearly impossible to get a job without experience, and hard to get experience without a job–but that’s where Ringwood comes in. Ringwood operates with an Intern model, meaning it’s a chance for aspiring publishers to get the necessary experience.

Each month, we chat with one of our interns at Ringwood Publishing, to hear about the variety of roles and experiences our interns are having. This month, Megan Gibson talks to Annemarie Whitehurst. Annemarie has been at Ringwood for 6 months, and currently acts as Sales Manager for 
The Hotel Hokusai, as well as being the co-host of the Ringwood Podcast and a member of numerous editing teams.

 1.      Could you tell us about your background and how you came to Ringwood?
I came to Ringwood through a life-long love of books. I completed my undergraduate studies in English literature in my hometown of Tampa, Florida, then went on to teach English in Japan for several years. While I absolutely loved my time working in Nagano, I grew to miss being a student myself and wanted to continue my higher education. I adore speculative fiction, so when I learned about the MLitt in Fantasy at the University of Glasgow, I knew that was the right fit for me. The combination of teaching English and my love of literature motivated me to pursue a proofreading certificate, which I completed around the same time I finished my degree at the end of 2023. Knowing that I wanted to apply my editing skills and also learn about the process of book publishing, I sought out local publishing houses and that’s how I discovered Ringwood. It’s been a whirlwind of experience since I started working at Ringwood in January of this year, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

2.      What are your roles at Ringwood?
Currently, my roles include Sales Manager of The Hotel Hokusai, By T.Y. Garner, which was launched back in February. I am a co-host for the Ringwood Publishing Podcast along with fellow intern, Júlia Pujals Antolin. Most recently, I was made the Launch Programme and Marketing Manager for The World’s End Murders: The Inside Story by Tom Wood, which will be released on June 23rd. I’ve been a member of the Song of the Stag proofreading and marketing team as well as worked on the big and small picture edits of The World’s End Murders. Like many other interns at Ringwood, I also write reports for the manuscripts that are submitted for consideration.

3.      What has been your favourite Ringwood project / role so far?
Hmm… a difficult question, since there are so many exciting projects I’ve worked on! I was nervous when I got assigned as co-host for the podcast, however, it has not been as stressful as I had anticipated, but truly very excited. Júlia and I have a lot of creative freedom when it comes to what we decide to record, so it’s been a lot of fun choosing which guests to have on and which topics to cover. I’ve never done any audio editing before, so I’ve learned a lot through this role.

 4.      What are your favourite genres of books and what are you reading right now?
As mentioned, I really love speculative fiction, so fantasy, science fiction, dystopian… anything with a little bit of magic or something unnatural (or supernatural). I recently finished Genevieve Jagger’s debut novel Fragile Animals, which takes place on the Isle of Bute and features a taxidermist vampire and a lot of Catholic guilt. I’ve got Piranesi by Susanna Clarke sitting next to my bed, ready to go (I had to briefly put it on hold since I wanted to finish Moot by Rob McInroy – keep an eye out for that dedicated podcast episode!).

5.      What are your future goals?
I hope to pursue a career in the publishing industry, specifically as an editor. I’ve really enjoyed the big and small picture editing I did for The World’s End Murders as well as the proofreading for Song of the Stag. There’s something really rewarding about helping an author take their work, which they’ve poured so much of their time, energy, and passion into, and transform it into the best version it could be. It’s also been really rewarding learning about how books go from manuscript to launch and beyond, and as an aspiring author, that has been an incredible insight.
 6.      What is something interesting you have learned about the publishing industry?
I’ve learned that a difficult process it is getting endorsements and reviews for books. Perhaps this is specific to indie publishing, but I’ve found that much of it is due to timing, interest, and persistence. Timing: the companies or individuals need to have space in their often busy schedules to read the book and then produce some commentary on it. Interest: the recipient of your inquiry must find the book to be engaging or a good fit for their audience, which is often dependent on the way you pitched the book to them. And finally, persistence: sometimes you have to reach out multiple times in different ways to finally grab the company/individual’s attention, since you are competing with many other publishing houses. I learned this recently with Alastair Mabbott’s review of The Hotel Hokusai in The Herald on May 18th, which took several reach-outs via different methods over a few months. But, it definitely paid off.

Thanks for your time, Annemarie!

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Here’s to a sunnier June!

The Ringwood Newsletter Team

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