Last night was a first for me. I was invited to a book group to talk to people who had been reading 'The White Rajah'. Someone there had noticed the death of Anthony Brooke and asked about him. They had photocopied a couple of letters about this from the 'Daily Mail', one of which mentioned Reuben Brooke, who may or may not have been James' son. I explained why I think it was unlikely that Reuben was James' son. (James was desperate for an heir and it seems incredible that he would have adopted Charles as his heir if a son existed.) Of course, James could have fathered a son even if he was gay, but the fact he had such limited contact with women that it was widely believed he was impotent (as a result of his war wound) suggests it was unlikely.
It wasn't how I'd imagined the evening starting but it certainly made for a lively discussion and it was followed by other questions about James and Borneo and only later did we get onto all the boring stuff about how I wrote it.
I was lucky that everyone seemed to have enjoyed reading it and they were very kind with their comments. It made for a pleasant evening.
Book groups are really important for less well-known authors. Even mainstream publishers will not give much publicity to most of their new writers, so we all rely on word-of-mouth and book groups are one of the best ways to get the word out. I'm happy to visit any book groups discussing 'The White Rajah' in the London area. (I've even been invited to visit Brussels to talk about the book and I will if I can.)
If you (or a friend) are a member of a book group, please do consider making 'The White Rajah' your book choice.