On Wednesday evening a small crowd gathered at Marsden Library, eager to hear Colne Valley author Dave Rigby read from his first novel, Darkstone.
Dave was the first author to take part in the Friends of Marsden Library’s Local Writers Reading events, which aim to showcase the talents of local authors and bring pleasure to book lovers. As it turned out, it was also the first time Dave had been the star of a book reading, so new ground was broken all round.
Dave began by reading from Darkstone, his novel of a not-too-distant dystopian future, set in Scotland (Glasgow, mainly). One of the unsettling things about Darkstone is how only too easy it is to imagine the society Dave describes emerging from current events: insufficient resources to support infrastructure, leading to the countryside being abandoned; fuel and food shortages; a powerful quasi-military ‘police’ force operating in a legal structure that has been pushed and pushed by fear of terrorism and lack of control so that freedom of speech, movement and thought has been seriously curtailed, and ‘the end justifies the means’ seems to be the guiding principle of national security; almost complete separation between the lives of the rich, unaffected by shortages, and the poor, getting poorer. Dave says it’s set only about 10 years into the future – which is not encouraging.
The story itself features a wolf, a young-man who is forced to examine and reconsider his personal withdrawal from society, love, redemption and a whodunnit (MINOR SPOILER: not to mention, who was done!). There’s lots of undercover work, and some fun to be had (a playful leavening of a tense, unsettling atmosphere) working out who’s spying on who, and which of the many ‘C’s is ‘C’. Intrigued ? You’ll have to read it to find out more! (See below for how to get your copy)
Dave also talked about his approach to writing, and how he got into writing at all. It was interesting to learn that it was all a bit of a surprise to him. He got started prompted by an ad for a creative writing class and went along just to try something new. When he finished Darkstone, he hadn’t thought of actually publishing it until encouraged by friends. Asked about ‘marketing’ he shuddered, and confessed that he wasn’t very good at that sort of thing!
Well, sorry Dave, but you’ve started now and we look forward to having you back in due course to read from the new book. You were a terrific guest. We really enjoyed having parts of Darkstone read to us – and your care in not spoiling it for anyone that hadn’t read it was much appreciated. Since you managed to sell all the copies you brought with you – even to one person who only dropped in by accident and wasn’t able to stay for the reading! – you can see it would be rude to keep the pleasure to yourself …
Dave’s next book is Shoreline:
Harry Vos, a retired man in his 60s and a part-time private investigator, is on holiday on the Belgian coast. When he takes an early morning stroll along the local beach he and a woman walking her dog are shocked to discover a body washed up on the shore. Unable to get a signal on his phone, Harry hurries to a bar on the other side of the sand dunes to call the police. By the time he returns to the beach he finds the body, the woman and the dog have all disappeared …
Copies of Dave’s books are available through Enjoy Art in Marsden (the latest one is just in), or online:
Or … why not request it from the Library!
And thanks to Bob Bray for the photography! (All photos copyright: Bob Bray).