So the nails were painted with nail art in a little salon in Sherman Oaks, not far from where I’m staying in the valley. I spent the afternoon chilling in preparation for the party and then after we drove to the hip and cool Echo Park, we had a meal in the most wonderful vegan restaurant a block from the book store.
We had the patio area out back for the launch party and offered everyone a glass of wine as they came in (thanks to my lovely publisher Parthian). The microphone was all set up, the seats arranged and we waited for people to arrive. I am so grateful for Jan my lovely friend as she’s invited friends and family and to my wonderful ex colleagues from the science days who all came long offering their support.
I wandered into the bookshop to find all kinds of people sat at computers and handed them postcards about the book , telling them I’d be doing readings.
So we had a couple of those wander through out of curiosity and another lovely couple who saw me setting up and had asked what it was all about. When she said hey loved the British accent I said I would be reading in an American accent I think she was a little unsure at first. And I don’t blame her.
So with people gathered including some adorable children, I started by telling them all about my journey to publication with the take-home message being the one that always seems to come out loud and clear: I am proof you should never give up your dreams. I told them how the day before I came out here I was signed by a London agent and they all clapped! Yay! It seems to be a message that dreams come true is a very pertinent one.
I then gave the first short reading and had to explain the reason for the voice, big breath, I see African-American faces in the audience but rather than think I have to read in this accent in front of Americans, it felt as if Lydia had come home — does that sound odd? So she arrived and the reaction was so so great. Phew.
I then invited questions expecting the usual stunned silence but no lots of questions came including some wonderful questions from the children, how great.
Then the second reading which is the one when Lydia finds out her momma is dead and always one that seems to get a good reaction. It did. I could hear it and the couple who had perhaps wondered about the accent when I said that was what I would be doing were really encouraging and he said he had a tear, loved the voice. They all did. Yay!
More questions and the best came from a really little kid who is Jan’s grandson, who asked me (completely off his own back and he must only be about 4!) if I write because I want to — or I have to! Wow, and the audience reacted to that! What did I tell him? Because I have to!
The final reading was the cur-io-sity, what else and it always has a great reaction.
After that I signed copies and people drank more wine and they said the most amazing things to me. Head swelled so much time for the hat to pop off again!
My old friends from the science days seemed astounded and just kept telling me I have a real gift and they were all so proud and so glad I left that job! Proof you can do it — of course you can. Didn’t I always tell them dreams come true if you put in the work?!!
Also had a great chat with the couple, he is a musician and they said great things too, how they loved the voice. And I have to say my African American friends loved it too and were convinced by it! Can not tell you how happy I was about that!
So no Hollywood directors or screenwriters showed up, but you never know who might’ve been listening.
So it was just an amazing night and I have now had my LA debut!
What this book really needs is a US tour of bookstores because I have a feeling if people know it exists and I am getting that kind of reaction, it needs to be taken on the road! Wonder how to raise the funds to make that happen? I want to do it!
So I will end with some photos and thank all those who came and all those who offered their support and the message — see, dreams really do come true … so about that book tour?