I start my events asking who supports the local football team.
Exeter City? Very few, sadly.
Exeter Chiefs? Most of them.
The knowledge that I was in a rugby-friendly city gave the confidence to read from my new rugby novel for children, Combat Zone, for the first time. I was thinking tomorrow’s trip to Leicester would be my first big rugby event. But Exeter got in first.
I got a good reaction. It made me feel happy. There’s nothing like reading something you have written out loud and feeling that it went okay. It’s a big moment for a book.
One boy amazed me with his rugby-loving and rugby reading. He was a regular Rugby World reader, the glossy monthly magazine. He had read my book Scrum. And – most impressively – he had read my favourite rugby book, Calon by Owen Sheers.
‘But I am three-quarters Welsh,’ he added.
Calon, by the way, is about Welsh rugby. But it’s universal. It is about a country that is passionate about rugby. It is about the passion the game stirs. And about the tensions that come with preparing to play for – and support – your national team. An awesome book.
Exeter was brilliant.
So, I am happy to say that I will be back in Exeter in the summer of 2015, running my World Cup Rugby reading Game on behalf of the RFU. Part of a tour of all the libraries near the 13 host stadiums for the Rugby World Cup.
It’ll be good to hear how rugby reading has been going when I go back.