I went to another book group last night. They were talking about 'The White Rajah', rather than 'Cawnpore'. It's difficult to tell how much people enjoy a book when you're in the room with them. You'd have to really hate something to be rude about it in front of the author! But it seems to have gone down well. There was some discussion about what sort of a man James Brooke had been and I was interested that a few people had decided he was too much after personal glory and didn't really care about the natives. I don't think I agree, but I'd deliberately tried to leave people room to draw the own conclusions about his character and I was pleased that this had worked. He did a lot of good things and a few truly terrible ones and people will have different opinions on which side of him was more important. When the book was just being read by friends and family, I was interested that some people felt that it vindicated Brooke and others agreed with Williamson that, in the end, the killing was too much to live with.
Someone said they wished that there was more about what happened to Williamson after he left Borneo and I read the opening of 'Cawnpore' that has him setting off to India to be caught up in the Mutiny. No one asked me to sell them a copy, but, with luck, some of them might go on to read it.
It's always fun to meet readers and Book Groups make a big difference for books that don't have the marketing department of a major publisher behind them. I'm always happy to turn up, if anyone wants to read either of my books at their group. I live in London, so I do need to be able to get to you, though I'd consider traveling if I can combine it with some sightseeing or whatever.