Launching The Wonder Girls!
It's taken me a while to process what happened on Friday. The boulder of imposter syndrome that I resisted on the evening made me seize up on Saturday.
It was so wonderful to see everyone there - my children the ones there in person and there virtually. It was especially lovely having them home. I loved having friends come from afar - Plymouth, Deepest Devon, Isle of Wight, Farnham, Reading, London, Whitstable even Paris. Some of them I lured away from Winchester where the SCBWI conference was about to set off. Even my brother came! I LOVED them all being there, especially when a combination of traffic and broken sat navs meant some people missed the 'entertainment'. But this is how wonderful they are - they came anyway! I am overwhelmed by their support and kindness. Not riddled with angst at all. No, not any more.
I had some lovely gifts too - messages full of kindness in cards, flowers, a writery badge, a beautiful orchid, delivered during the afternoon, a book (Deeplight) signed by not one but two properly famous authors and fizz fizz fizz, yay! THANK YOU!
So, what happened...
On the door I gave my book lovers a welcome activity to encourage them to talk to people they didn't know and to have a good look at October Books' shelves. And they did...
(The first random question was a nod to shallowness. I've never read Herman Hesse but in the eighties, I used to love scanning Bowes & Bowes shelves memorising authors and titles. Let's call it trivial pursuit prep. Steppenwolf just stuck.)
Daughter Daisy managed a craft table making fabric W badges. I had to have something crafty, the bunting was my priority last week after all!. If you made a fabric badge, I'd love to see a picture. I did snap Candy wearing hers though ...
After about half an hour of drink, crisps, chat and shelf perusal, everyone piled into the community room at the back of the shop for the entertainment - my prize - a captive audience!
I'd tried to prepare for a welcome thank you speech, but in the end winged it. In one shot I've seen, but can't find, my arms are outspread anyway. The gist of what I said was a heartfelt welcome and thank you.
And then came the bit I'd been so excited about ever since I thought of it. I introduced the marvellous Phil and Jane, who performed The Ghosts of Cable Street, with some newsreel of the Battle of Cable Street playing in the background. Their voices, the words they were singing, combined with the action on screen came together brilliantly. I knew it would! They gave me the perfect backdrop to read a couple of pages from the opening of the story - dreams do come true.
Winging my welcome meant I forgot to thank the publisher, who was either curled up in a corner or demanding pats from likely looking dog-lovers. Unbothered by my omission, Cindy still came when I called her for a bit more adulation.
Resisting imposter syndrome again, I signed books. I could have done it more efficiently but people were so patient and knowing how far some had travelled, I couldn't just scribble my name. Photos were taken. Perhaps the difference between the traditionally and independently published is the media training. All credit to Ally Sherrick (Black Powder, The Buried Crown - both excellent MG historical) trying to coach me but I can feel my photo panic oozing off the screen in some of the pics
Vanity put aside and processing done I'm so glad I did it. Thank you for reading books and these garbled reflections. If you've just read this post, it's a huge encouragement. Thank you for helping to make my evening so memorable.