Some odd things are going on.
Things that don’t normally happen.
But I like it.
First I see posters with my face on them and I’m invited to an event in my honour at a library where photos were taken of me and I was the focus of a Q & A. Me? Really? And at the end of the event they asked me to send them an invoice. Again — really? She said she would talk to my publisher to sort it! But paid for talking about me and my writing — like really?
I almost whooped when I saw about 10 copies of the novel in shiny dust jackets in anticipation of lots of reads by members of the library. They have it on the front desk and are actively pushing it. Wow.
Here I am (hate photos of me) but this was at my first official engagement as a published novelist …
The people at the library were just lovely to me and while we only had half a dozen people we all chatted about writing and the process and I did a couple of readings. They want me back to a bigger audience as well.
Of course the BIG day was Friday and the night before, after returning from the library, really felt like Christmas Eve. I was so excited and a little bit nervous. But I woke with those butterflies I still get thinking Santa’s been (well you know what I mean!).
The day started with an early nail appointment and some nail art that is still looking good. I hope it lasts for the Showcase Event this Wednesday! I met Mary for breakfast (my lovely writing friend) and then came home and spent most of the afternoon relaxing and practising my American accent! I wanted to chill and I did — and was more excited than nervous 🙂
I donned the glad-rags. (I have all my new clothes in the spare room teasing me as I sit here now in my tracksuit!)
I think I scrubbed up okay although I could have done with losing 2 stone overnight but those miracles don’t happen!
Then off to the hall to sort the food, arrange the chairs etc, with a lot of help from my friends who were total stars! When I have the bestseller (he he) it won’t be plastic cups and paper plates, but hey, free food and wine! And I think it went down well. The evening started with a drink and some book signing before people went into the hall. It’s a lovely village hall although some people had trouble finding it. It’s like a Miss Marple Village Llandygai and I was so thrilled to see at least half a dozen of the locals there who don’t really know me and they all bought books! I have my adopted mum Joy to thank for suggesting the venue!
So all in and lights off to show the book trailer and then Richard Davies from Parthian Books interviewed me about my writing, said some lovely things about the book. He thought I was American when he first read it (must sound authentic) and thought I must’ve worked for a US newspaper to get Gary right (er– no), must know about 15-year-old boys and their dad’s to get the relationship so well (he says he as a 15-year-old son — er no) — don’t think he thought I was once an African-American police psychic (!) even if he says I did get the voice right. But all lovely to hear and testament I think to all my research and obsession with the US. He said he could tell how polished the book was when it was presented to him! So writer friends — hard work does pay off!
I think the real test of that will be when readers in the states read it. Chews fingers — no second thoughts, mind the nail art!
I did also get some great reactions to my American narrative (phew). I am no actress and while I sought authenticity in the voice I heard in my head as I wrote it, occasionally uttering it out loud for the cats, it didn’t very often get spoken. So me standing in the spotlight and speaking in an American accent was weird too! I have never done am-dram or sought a stage so a week before when I realised I had to do it that way I didn’t know if I could! I also have to thank Emma my neighbour for a pizza-eating, wine sipping night last week when we spoke only in American accents to feel the part! She used to go to drama school!
But I did it. And not nervously!
And I was very pleasantly surprised by the great reaction. I know it’s not perfect and I know it could be better but I think I managed it! Not so sure I’d pull it off as well in front of native speakers so might have to call on some readers at my LA launch, we’ll see. Hire a coach?
But I have to say I loved it all. It was a long time coming! I can not thank Parthian Books enough for making it happen. Finally. And taking a chance on me. All of them, from Cerys my lovely editor, Susie, Kate and Claire on the team and of course Richard. And a whole lot of others who made it possible!
The evening then ended with nibbles and drink and I signed more copies of the book.
Attached are a sample of some of the pics.
I was so pleased that Gill James from Bridge House had made it to the event as she brought me home and it meant I did not return to an empty house which might have felt like an anticlimax! We were able to relax, wind down and sup the bubbly she brought for the occasion. Just perfect.
I could be sad it’s over but I know this really just marks the beginning and I can’t wait for the Canvey launch where the slightly tweaked book trailer will be shown before I release it to YouTube on November 23rd.
Thanks to all my friends who came. It was amazing. Let the excitement begin … and to those friends who write — see, it can happen and I’m sure it will for YOU as well!
Think that’s enough photos of me! For now!
But it was a great success, 50-60 people … roll on the Canvey event!
Now another odd thing is my characters have had their debut and now people are getting to know them I hope they treat them kindly. For a long time it was just us and now they are being shown to the world. I await my first review with fingers crossed!
Ps: Did I say I’m excited?