Finally the book launch for Eden’s Garden arrived!
I managed to get the cake into the car without dropping it. I managed to remember to put in the box of little surprises of summer bulbs for my lovely writer friends of the NW Novelistas. I even remembered the copies of the books (arrived at the 11th hour, nearly giving me kittens). And the car didn’t break down on the way. I am an optimist, really, but you never know …..
The forecast had been for howling rain but – as so often happens here between the mountains and the sea – it turned out as a sunny, blustery spring day instead. It’s a good 40 minutes drive from here to St. Asaph, but it’s all along the coast with spectacular views of the sea. I was once even followed by a school of dolphins as I set off for an RNA meeting in London. Luckily, that time I was traveling by train, so I could just sit back and watch. This time, the tide was too far out for dolphins as I made my way along past Penmaenmawr (where Queen Victoria’s prime minister once spent his holidays, wise man) and Conwy Castle, before the road turns inland towards St Asaph.
When I arrived at the hotel where we were meeting, the NW Novelistas were all there, having gathered from all over. And soon afterwards we were joined by my editor, the lovely Janet Thomas from Honno, who had the longest journey, all the way from Aberystwyth.
This was a wonderful, relaxed and happy book launch amongst friends. Living in such a rural area, with winding roads and the odd mountain or so in between, it’s special to meet up in any case and this was extra special. I signed books – remembering to sign them as me and not my alter ego Heather Pardoe! Brave Ruth France read a short passage, for which I was very grateful. I’m only just getting used to the idea that the story I’ve lived night and day for so long is now a separate entity. It was quite strange hearing someone actually read it. One half of me could remember every word and every permutation of every draft of those pages. The other half was astonished. ‘Did I write that?” Not that I mean it was so brilliant, I hasten to add, but in the white heat of being in the writing zone, and then the tweaking afterwards,
Brave fellow-author Ruth France read a short passage, for which I was very grateful. I’m only just getting used to the idea that the story I’ve lived night and day for so long is now a separate entity. It was quite strange hearing someone actually read it. One half of me could remember every word and every permutation of every draft of those pages. The other half was astonished. ‘Did I write that?” Not that I mean it was so brilliant, I hasten to add, but in the white heat of being in the writing zone, and then the ultra-burning white heat of the tweaking afterwards, the writer’s brain goes to some unknown spaces. Sitting there being me, I couldn’t write like that if asked. Even after the champagne!
Friday was a day of wonderful celebration. But this is not an ending by any means, however happy. The publicity for Eden’s Garden has only just begun. And listening to that passage from the book gave me a definite hunger to get back to the new work in progress – temporarily abandoned for a couple of weeks in favour of parties, interviews and cake decorations. Despite the sheer terror of starting again from nothing with the self doubts back to niggling that maybe Eden’s Garden was a fluke and I was just lucky and I couldn’t possibly do it again, and maybe ….
Ha! I wasn’t born stubborn for nothing. When someone tells me I can’t do something – even if it’s me – I can just feel the heels digging in, big time. Besides, ‘Heather Pardoe’ has been quietly carrying on with short stories and her serial all this time without making any fuss at all. And is now prodding me to stop faffing about and get on with it. I’m a working writer, after all.
Meanwhile, there has to be a picture of editor and author with the finished copy of Eden’s Garden – and champagne!
And for all you girlies out there, this is the full outfit. All the way from romantic Venice, years ago, waiting in my wardrobe for just the right occasion to emerge.
(and thank you to Erika Woods for taking such amazing photographs)