Inside a writer’s mind at her first book launch

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Thursday night saw the launch party for my second novel, Dead Write.

I never had a launch event for my first book, Dead Letter Day, so I was a little unsure of how I should set the format of the evening, as well as nervous as to whether anyone would actually show up.

Being a girl who likes her wine, I chose a city pub as my venue. I wanted the evening to be relaxed and fun, a chance for everyone to mingle, have a few drinks, maybe buy one of my books and eat cake.

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Yes, I went all Marie Antoinette and let my guests eat cake.

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These were courtesy of my great friend, Vanessa Hagg, of My Sweet Williams, who produced a fabulous giant chocolate fudge cake in the shape of my book, plus dozens of cupcakes.

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The day of the launch party arrived. I was excited and a little nervous. My publisher and Iceni Magazine were both going to be there to support me, as well as a few of my fellow authors. I had family travelling up from Suffolk who I hadn’t seen in years and lovely readers coming who had been engaging in my Facebook author page, but who I had not yet met.

And then there were the niggling doubts still there. What if none of them came? What if it was just me sat in the pub with a stack of books and enough cake to fill a bakery?

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And throughout the day as I sat in the hair salon having all those pesky grey bits covered up ahead of my big evening, the texts and email came, people sorry that they were unable to make my event due to illness or unforeseen circumstances. I had expected a few such messages, as I know there is a lot of sickness around at the moment. These things can’t be helped and I know many of those affected were genuinely disappointed they couldn’t come, but I hadn’t expected so many last day drop outs.

As my phone continued to bleep with apologies, I began to wonder if my niggling doubts would prove to be true and it would be a book launch flop.

Gulp!

So I arrived at the venue with my mother and my aunt. It was still packed out with after work drinkers as we carted in boxes of books, then Vanessa arrived and brought in the cakes. One drinker glanced across at our eateries before informing his pals ‘reckon they must be having a funeral party or something.’

Well, people do die in my books, so I guess he could have been right by a very big stretch of the imagination.

Eventually the pub cleared out and we were able to set up.

My mother glanced around at the small number of us and helpfully said in that wonderfully pessimistic way of hers, ‘Maybe this is it and no one else is coming. Oh well, your brother and sister should turn up later.’

Yup, thanks for that, Mum.

And then I spotted a couple of familiar faces and the shadow of doubt lifted slightly.

By the time the books were laid out and the cupcakes set up, the room was packed out.

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‘Yes.’ I thought silently. ‘Take that pessimistic mother.’

And from that moment on the evening passed in a bit of a blur.

I said a few words, thanked everyone for coming and for their support. I sold and signed books, people ate cake and a good time seemed to be had by all.

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For one evening I had glam hair, delectable cupcakes and a fantastic crowd of people celebrating the release of my second novel. I felt like the belle of the ball.

If only those same people could have seen me the next day, dressed in sweats with tousled hair and no make-up, washing dirty dishes, scooping up cat poop and taking out the trash.

Oh the heady life of the writer.

 

If Beev is cooking, go pick your gravestone

I am th579211_10151522120531411_487521630_n (2)e world’s worst cook. Do not think I am kidding when I say that. I am, after all, the girl famous for making buns that tasted of perfume (even though there was no perfume present and only standard bun type ingredients had been used). I also once called my sister at university to ask her how to make mashed potato, accidentally fed a vegetarian friend with bacon and have on several occasions forgotten to turn the oven on to cook my pizza. Five star cuisine to me is nuking a ready meal in my microwave, and sometimes I have even managed to mess that up. Seriously, I have considered death by my cooking to be an acceptable form of murder in one of my future books.

Luckily I have more satisfying results when blending ingredients for a story, which is pretty fortunate for you guys, as I wouldn’t want my books giving you food poisoning, and for my very first blog I am going to share with you my recipe for creating a good novel.

Firstly, I take the seeds of an idea. This can come from anything, a song I have just heard, a scene I have just witnessed, something I have just read in the news or an idea that has just popped into my head whilst sitting on the loo. (Yes, perhaps I should be ashamed to admit that I have occasionally had really good ideas while peeing). I throw those seeds into a pan; add a little thought processing oil, stir them for a bit as they cook, then chop up some characters. Now the characters have to taste good or they will ruin the final result. They have to be colourful and full of flavour and I will let them ripen for a while before throwing them into the mix. Once they are in, I season the pan with some twists and turns, add in a generous splash of red wine – just because it’s red wine and should be added to everything – then let everything simmer and the concoction develop its own taste.

Voila! We are done and hopefully I have created a satisfyingly tasty novel. Now Chef Keri suggests that you give her dinners a wide berth and focus on the books instead. If you are feeling peckish then check out the fantastic Dead Letter Day cupcakes my friend, Ness, made to celebrate the book’s launch. You will be pleased to know that I did not have a hand in baking them.