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The One With The Great Book Hideaway

I was going to start this blog post with some kind of whimsical reference to the passing of seasons, the fall of metaphorical leaves from metaphorical trees or the sacred transcendence from the sweet, blinding rays of summer to the muted, cloying grasp of Autumn. But I couldn't be bothered so I hope, instead that I'm not interrupting your pumpkin spice latte and that you've got a few minutes to read about some lovely summer memories.


Image of Abi wearing a stripey top and smiling at the camera - she has a cup of tea in her hand and there's a beam of sunshine coming through the window behind her
No pumpkin spice here Guvnor.

I don't usually like September. Like, at all. If you've been a reader of this blog for a while then you'll know that, and have perhaps been bracing yourself for, Abi's Annual September Breakdown.


Not this year, my friends. Not this year.


And it's not because anything is particularly different, or that I'm saving said breakdown for October instead (#notmakinganypromises). I'm just not feeling it. I am pretty busy, to be fair. Little Lad has started secondary school (how did THAT happen?) and I'm starting a new role at work. The town I live in, Brixham, is positively glorious in its post-summer haze and things are pretty good in the Yardimci household.


I'm just not into a breakdown this year. It can go bother someone else.


However, I do feel time spinning away from me with alarming velocity and can't quite believe it's a.) dark at 8pm and b.) nearly time for Strictly. So, I thought I'd claw back at least a little of the summer by telling you about a l'il project I did.


You might have seen it plastered all over my social media. I called it 'The Life Is Yours Great Hideaway' and it involved visiting my native North East of England and throwing copies of my book around in public places.


Okay, so it was a tad more strategic than that. I'd had a bookish conversation with a friend a while back - one in which I was predictably whining about the impossible task that is Marketing a Book - and she said, "Why don't you just hide copies of your first book in places where people can find it? Like a book fairy?"


Books? Fairies? What's not to like?


Collage of four photos, one of the front of the book, Life Is Yours, one of the back of Life Is Yours and two showing the tag Abi attached to the books she hid, asking the lucky reader to contact her on social media and let her know the book had been found

If you've ever moved away from the place you were born and then gone back at some point for a jaunty break with the fam, you'll know the staggering sensation of being walloped right in the soul with childhood memories. And not just childhood memories, but teenaged memories too. And sometimes early adult memories. And memories that induce a whole spectrum of emotions from soft and lilting happiness to all-out, toe-curling torment. It really is quite the thing when you're busy trying to have a nice day out with the kids.


Anyway, I figured, why not make use of this rollercoaster of emotions? Why not take every last copy I have of my first book, Life Is Yours, and hide it in places which mean something to me? And what with the freakish strength of the sunshine and the teenager willing to show me how to use TikTok and the mental list of places practically calling me to come back and face the emotional fall-out, how could I not?


So, just in case you missed it, I have compiled a list of the places I went to hide the books. Enjoy!



Day 1

The Wishing Stone at Blackhill Park



When I think of this beautiful, slopey, green and gravelly park, it makes me remember skiving off A Level poetry as a slightly sultry seventeen year old, hanging around with a gang of even more sultry, poetry-refusing youths. It's also a place that later in life, I'd take the boys when they were mere slips of things. We'd hike up to the very top of the park where the Wishing Stone stands. We'd throw a few coppers on the top, dance around it a few times and make a wish. Then we'd have fifty billion tantrums on the way home which I'd cope with by dragging us all into Iceland and buying a bumper pack of own-brand Cornettos. #wishgranted

Did anybody find the book?

I have no idea! Nobody contacted me, so it could still be nestled underneath the wishing stone, gathering Geordie dew for all I know.



Day 2

Causey Arch



Did you know County Durham is home to the oldest railway arch in the WORLD? Well now you do. I chose this place because not only does it score big on history and drama, but because my Dad absolutely loved it. He was a keen amateur photographer and loved taking photos there - especially in the winter. On the day of his funeral, we all went for a walk along Causey Arch and it was the most serene and sunny I've ever seen it. Just beautiful.

Did anybody find the book?

Yes they did! I got a delightful message on Instagram thanking me for the find.



Day 3

The Banks of the River Wear, Durham



Oooh, Life Is Yours fans might remember this one as a place where Jess takes part in an impromptu meditation with her new chum, Oliver, or where she reports back to Marcus on his crazy set of challenges as they both sip hot chocolates in the October sunshine. Both of those scenes are based on very real experiences. I love walking along the river in Durham. No matter what time of year it is, it takes on a beauty I like to think is branded by the wit and charm of the North East. have you been there? Do.

Did anybody find the book?

Yes! I got a message from a young lady on TikTok thanking me for this one. A new reader - yey!



Day 4

Allensford Park



Sorry to say this was yet another poetry-dodging site from my younger days. But it's also a beauty of a park, and I have since known it as a perfectly suitable place to tire out toddlers before bed. To me though, it will always be the place where my first proper boyfriend split up with me and consequently taught me what it was to have my heart shattered into a squillion pieces. It also reminds me that it's okay, because we're built to withstand such things. If you'd told that poor 17 year old girl, sobbing on the muddy banks of the river, that I'd be back there in a mere 25 years hiding books for fun, I doubt she'd have believed you.

Did anybody find the book?

Yes! A young lass found it and her mum let me know on Facebook. All good!



Day 5

Terris Novalis Sculptures on Consett Cycle Trail



Despite my poetry-dodging tendencies, I was an extremely artistic-hearted soul whilst growing up. Like most teenagers, I actively hated the place where I lived and regularly moaned about the lack of cultural inspiration available. So, when I one day discovered these weird and wacky sculptures practically in my own back yard, I nearly had kittens. They stand beautiful and daunting, beast-like and unapologetic - they are monuments to the rise and demise of the steel works Consett is famous for. I was never sure if I actually liked them, but I liked that they were there. Little Lad helped me hide the book this time, whilst we actively ignored the crushed beer cans and questionable graffiti. It's character building for him.

Did anybody find the book?

They must have done - we made it so bloody obvious. But no. I didn't get any social media notifications for this one.



Day 6

Hownsgill Viaduct



Stretching over the junction of Waskerley Way and Lanchester Valley, this bridge affords you some of the most incredible views County Durham has to offer. This is yet another place I'd take the kids when they were little, trying desperately to tire them out before bed (are you sensing a pattern here?). Nothing monumental happened here for me, it just kind of takes my breath away every time I visit.

Did anybody find the book?

Yes! I got a Twitter notification about this one almost straight away.



Day 7

The Metro Centre, Gateshead



Not quite as picturesque as some of the other spots I chose but there was no way teenaged Abi would let me miss out the Metro Centre. This massive shopping centre was the first place I was allowed to go to with my friends, adult-free. That meant cinema trips. Shopping all the bargains in Tammy Girl. Riding on a rollercoaster. That's right. You heard me. Rollercoaster. The Metro Centre used to have an INDOOR theme park. I can only assume it's down to modern day health and fecking safety that means it's no longer in existence. It was a crying shame I couldn't hide my book in that rip-roaring, chaos-pit of fun. Oh well. I found this quiet spot instead.

Did anybody find the book?

Yes! Instagram told me so and I'm very happy about it.



Day 8

Gateshead Millennium Bridge



This beautiful tilting bridge between Gateshead's Arts Quarter and the South Bank of Newcastle Quayside is certainly a thing to behold. It first opened in 2001 and remember that younger Abi who was over the moon with the weird steel sculptures in her hometown of Consett? Well this slightly older Abi had a similar feeling when this bridge came to town. Along with new art galleries and concert halls, this bridge showed people all over the world that Geordies could be culturally rich too. I loved it then and I love it now and if you ever get to see it lit up at night your life will be better for it.

Did anybody find the book?

Yes! Which is a bloody good job because I got a fine for driving through a bus lane trying to get this book placed here (shakes fist angrily but pays fine anyway).



Day 9

Beamish Museum



Ah, Beamish Museum. have you ever been? I believe it is the world's largest open air museum and tells the story of life in North Eastern England from the 1820s right up until the 1950s. It's interactive, it's lively, it's engaging and immersive. Not only did I go there for many, many school trips, but I also got a job there as soon as I left uni, flouncing about dressed as a Georgian housemaid, polishing copper and making gingerbread. I've had worse jobs. Hiding the book here was a bit of a compromise because I wasn't going to pay eleventy-billion pounds for a day ticket and instead hid it in the coal wagon at the entrance when the stern Victorian man wasn't looking. High japes.

Did anybody find the book?

Yes! And in record time, I believe.



Day 10

The Angel of the North, Gateshead



Another Life Is Yours alert!!! One of my favourite scenes in my third book, Everything Is Yours, takes place at the foot of Antony Gormley's epic Angel of the North. I just had to include it somewhere in my books because this artwork, for me, is one of the most awesome and uplifting things I've ever seen. It's not everybody's cup of tea, I know. But for me, it's hopeful, it's welcoming and it epitomises the warmth and solidity of Geordie culture. I. Just. Love. It. And to celebrate the final day, I thought I'd share the whole video with you.

Did anybody find the book?

Yes! Twitter told me so and it was the perfect end to his really quite strange yet wonderful challenge.





So that's it! The text you've just read is living proof that I am totally unable to go on a nice, normal holiday with my boys, but I instead need to inject it with book-marketing shenanigans / tainted memory exposure therapy. That said, it did mean that we got to spend time at some of the most iconic and beautiful parts of the North East so everyone was happy.


And all that work definitely wasn't enough to put me off. I've already started thinking about doing another Great Hideaway in a different part of the country so keep your eyes peeled for that. Maybe I will sprout those Book Fairy wings after all.


Have you ever hidden things for people to find? Or have you found something awesome yourself? Tell me!


Right, now that I've got all of that off my chest, I'm off to throw myself into avoiding a September breakdown. Wish me luck . . .


Go well . . .


Abi

xxx





P.S. If you enjoyed this blog post then make sure you sign up to get ALL Abigail's bookish news as and when it happens. You'll also bag yourself a FREE copy of Life Is Yours - the first book in the Life Is Yours Trilogy. Sign up here


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