Book launches are not the only promotional fruit! Last night’s public lecture by Gloucestershire author Professor William Fairneywas a great example of how to raise the profile of The Knife and Fork Man, published in 2009.
Bill gave an engaging and memorable talk to a meeting of the Local History Society in Cotswold village Hawkesbury Upton. Like most organisations of its kind, this group is always on the look-out for speakers who are prepared to give up an evening to share their interests by way of an illustrated lecture.
Bill is a local resident and a member of the group himself. He is very involved in community life and a popular and outgoing character. Even so, this was the first time that most of the group had heard so much about his book.
I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who had previously thought of his subject as inaccessibly high-tech: the development of various engines by the pioneering designer Charles Benjamin Redrup. Yet for over an hour, Bill held his 50-strong audience in his thrall with a well-planned explanation supported by intriguing slides. Most memorable was a shot of a small early aircraft refuelling on the forecourt of a rural high street garage! The family portraits of Redrup with his wife and children over the years injected human interest and broadened the appeal of an otherwise technical tale.
By the end of Bill’s talk, I could totally understand the fascination that had compelled him to write his book and I was very glad I’d been along to his lecture. While I might not read a copy of the book myself, I’ve made a mental note that it might be a great gift for a more technically-minded friend, especially if I arrange for Bill to write a dedication on the fly-leaf.
I was also touched by the story of how Bill came to write the book. While developing engines for his company Fair Diesel, he came across a pioneering early engine by Charles Benjamin Redrup and wanted to find out more about the man behind the design. He discovered Redrup’s daughter-in-law was still alive and persuaded her to meet him. She invited him to visit her at home, where after introductions over a cup of tea, she took him into her confidence. She invited her into her bedroom to see…. a wardrobe full of Redrup’s old papers and technical drawings! Surely every historian’s dream find!
“This was clearly a story that was waiting to be written!” enthused Bill – and so he did.
Bill has a substantial online presence that will help you find out more about his work with engines and his books, which include other biographies. Please click on the links below for more information:
TIP FOR AUTHORS: Look out for local speaking opportunities to spread the word about YOUR book, whether it’s newly published or has been available for some time. It’s never too late to promote a book!