15 June, 2017 – book baby cometh

So on 15 June my bloody child, Godblind, was born (published).

I haven’t actually had chance to talk about it since then, as I’ve been working towards submitting book 2 (which I did with hours to go of my 1 July deadline). The lovely Natasha is now reading it, and I’m in author crisis mode where I convince myself it’s a torrid mess of crap and Harper Voyager realises what a huge mistake they made in signing me.

HOWEVER. We’re here to talk about Godblind’s launch into the world. A 13-year pregnancy isn’t much fun, let me tell you, with labour pains every six months or so (am I pushing the metaphor too far?) but the actual launch event itself was, once I got over my nerves, nothing but an absolute joy.

Lots of people turned up, and I didn’t even know all of them! Some actual strangers attended because they were interested… This is wonderful and scary. A lovely young lady told me when I signed her copy that she was 19 and really wanted to be a writer and it was really inspiring to see someone local and normal (ha, little does she know) make it. That was one of the many highlights for me, that she’d come to see my launch event and, hopefully, got something out of it.

The day itself was a really strange mix of emotions. With the launch being at 6.30 and not being at work, I felt a bit like I was wandering aimlessly around the house trying not to be sick, worrying over my reading, worrying what sort of questions I might be asked, worrying I’d fall off my chair in front of everyone.

We went into town early and checked out Waterstones – I had my photo taken next to the big banner advertising the launch. Top-drawer nerdery, I know. Don’t care.

We went for a late lunch/early dinner – linner? dunch? – and the husband had a couple of pints to calm his nerves. I was on the soft stuff, knowing that because I was anxious if I started drinking I probably wouldn’t stop.

Harry arrived from London and got a bottle of champagne – so much for the not drinking, but really, why not? Though there was no way we’d finish the bottle between the three of us. Fortunately my parents and auntie turned up and were only too pleased to have a glass each, so that solved the not getting drunk dilemma.

I walked to Waterstones feeling a little bit like I was walking to the gallows, and we went to the ‘launch floor’. Lots and lots of chairs facing two other chairs. Gulp.

People started arriving and everyone was lovely and excited and I was still nervous, sweaty, slightly sick. Had a beer. No stopping now.

Eventually we kicked off, I got a big round of applause, and Jamie at Waterstones started the interview. After about two minutes, I totally relaxed – didn’t let go of the beer, though, no sir – and it all seemed to go really well.

I did my reading, which I’d practised to death – I even made the husband sit right in front of me. We’d practised hand signals for if I was speaking too fast or in a monotone, but in the end I didn’t need them.

Then is was the Q&A round, and there were some really good ones from the audience, and a few tough ones on publishing. My father-in-law asked when I’d get around turning his children’s book idea into reality…

I made the lovely Sophie stand up so everyone could see the amazing talent she is – she did Godblind’s map – and then it was time to do the signing. I was surprised how many people wanted signed books, and there were some lovely moments. I met Jamie, who’d done a cracking review of Godblind – and signed his ARC.

And then a large proportion of us descended on the pub. Harry got cornered by several members of Birmingham Writers’ Group, keep to mine his head for publishing secrets, but they were nice and he didn’t need rescuing.

It was an absolute blast, just a ridiculous amount of fun. I can’t say more than that.

And to top it off, we went to London on the Saturday and I signed some more Goldsboro Books stock and then we went and stood outside the Chandos pub in a heatwave and got gently pissed and not so gently baked by the sun. Harry, Stuart Turton and his lovely wife Maresa, and Ed McDonald. It was ace.


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