Well where to start? The last two weeks have been fascinating, surreal, intimidating and delightful, all at the same time.
The week before NZ launch day I went up to Auckland and left Mum for two days. That was hard and she was VERY pleased to see me when I got back, but the publicity stuff was fun. I did a pre-record TV interview and a pre-record radio interview and filmed a book trailer (which was glorious) and then on the way home, a print interview in a pub.
One of the central features was also an MRI scan. Because they were scanning my heart I was not right in the middle, I could put my head back and see daylight at the other end of the machine. They strapped a foam thing with a camera in it across my chest and I had to lie very still. The headphones helped, although my Michael Ball concert was interrupted by a voice telling me to “Breathe in, breathe out, stop breathing…..breathe normally.” There were some pretty long pauses between the ‘stop’ and the ‘normally’ in the middle of the session and I was counting to 25 at times. At the end of it I was a bit dizzy from all the breath holding and couldn’t believe I’d been lying there for an hour!
Friday June 21st was New Zealand launch day and I got to see my book in a shop window display and on the shelves, that was a moment! I took Mum down to have a look and there were lots of “oh” and “yes” floating around.
I talked to Kim Hill on the Saturday morning on National Radio, she was in a studio in Wellington and I was in a studio in Hamilton. She played some of my favourite music and we chatted. It seemed to go well.
Then Monday was LAUNCH NIGHT! I’d put a lot of work into this and it went very well. Lots of people turned up and that was heart warming, people I’m related to, people I’ve met in the last two years, other writers. I signed, I spoke, I called out numbers for the spot prizes, I signed again. There seemed to be a great deal of food, but most of it was eaten so I was right, people are hungry at 5.30 at night. The cupcakes with the cover of the book on them were a great hit and people were delighted to take one…and they loved the book marks too. Hamish, the wonderful owner of the bookshop, tells me that he sold over a hundred books, a record for his shop on the launch of a book written by a NZ author. And best of all, Mum came. She sat there like a queen and everyone came and chatted to her and she ate. I thanked her last of all in my speech and ended with the fact that she says “Famous…” and right on cue she said “Daughter!” so everyone could hear and they all clapped. It was a GOOD night.
Since then I’ve done radio interviews and print interviews and next month I have a live TV interview on TVNZ. Today I have a radio interview on the leading radio station, newstalkzb. Yesterday I went round some shops in Te Awamutu and Hamilton and signed what stock they have. There was an article in the lift out magazine of the New Zealand Herald yesterday morning and one poor retailer had had four people in and had no stock left to sell them.
So my life should settle down a little now and I can concentrate on writing “The War Brides Club.” I am a published author. My book is out there on the shelves, selling. People have come up to me in the street and told me they’re reading it, or how much they loved it. I got a Facebook message last night from another paediatric cardiac patient who is my age and had his operation when he was six, two years after mine. His parents were told there was one younger who had survived, a girl. Wow.
This is a remarkable journey and one I feel blessed to be on. I have achieved something and that is good, but it is only the beginning. Now I have to ‘step up to the plate’ and keep writing. Make my wonderful fortnight the beginning of many. Happy Days.