THE WRITING LIFE – Sheffield launch of What She Lost

A very quick blog post this time, because I’m packing to go to London as we speak. So it was the Sheffield launch of What She Lost at Waterstones on Thursday last week, and I think it went rather well. It was a pretty good turnout of somewhere between 50 and 60 people. Lots of friends, obviously, but also some ‘real’ readers, as in people I hadn’t met before, or who I only knew through Twitter or Facebook – it was lovely to be able to put faces to the names.

It was such a relief when they started coming through the doors. As anyone who’s ever had a book launch, or done a talk or a signing will know, there’s always that terrible fear that no one’s going to turn up. There are always quite a few dropouts at the last minute – people fully intend to turn up but things happen, life gets in the way. It can be quite nerve-wracking when you realise there are dozens of wine glasses lined up, row upon row of chairs, and a big stack of copies of your book all waiting for lots of people who may or ay not arrive.

Anyway, it was okay. By 6.45, the Waterstones Cafe was buzzing nicely with conversation. Now all I had to do was get through my talk, readings and questions without making a tit of myself.

That part of it all seemed to go fairly well, too, except that I was competing with a noisy fridge and some people struggled to hear.

There were some good questions at the end, including questions about the process – do I have any little rituals before I start writing? Do I have bits of paper stuck everywhere? Do I write with music on or in silence? And there were some specific questions about What She Lost – had I tried writing in the voice of someone with Alzheimer’s? Was there a turning point in the redrafting of this novel when I knew it was going to be okay? All great questions.

Then I spent some time signing books and chatting briefly – all too briefly. I’d have loved to have stayed there all night. But Orchard Square, where the Waterstone’s store is, locks up for the night at eight, and we were told that if we didn’t make our way out of the square fairly quickly, we could be locked in all night. Of course, almost everyone there thought that sounded like a wonderful idea – locked in a bookshop overnight with wine and nibbles? Oh, go on then.

A few of us continued the celebrations at a local hostelry, and I woke up with just a bit of a hangover. But what a great night! Thank you so much to everyone who came along.

On Thursday 23rd of March, if you’re anywhere near Greenwich in south-east London, I’m having another little launch ‘do’ at Waterstones (near the Cutty Sark) so please come and join us at about 5.30. Full details below.

Apologies for errors and typos – am doing this in a hurry while packing to go to London early in the morning. See you soon…

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