Launching a new book is an exciting thing, a beginning but also an ending. It marks the moment when the job is truly complete, and provides an opportunity to reveal the finished product to the world and to celebrate everything that went into reaching that point. Well. Maybe not everything.
Writing is an insular, isolated, time-consuming business. An activity that progresses in leaps and bounds … or not. A job that you start without any sense of when, or even if, you will finish – or if, when you do, it will prove worth the effort.
Writing Evie’s War held some absolute highs: the morning I received an email offering me a residency in Belgium to research and work on the novel; the day I typed a sentence which is, for me, the heart and key to the novel, and which came out of nowhere. The response from my very first reader who, on finishing the manuscript, looked up with raised brows and said, ‘I love it.’
Because I was overseas when Evie was released, we deferred the party until I got back – then deferred it again when a minor hitch led to a delay in shipping the books across the Tasman. I think the launch will be all the better for that delay. Certainly it tested the system. This evening I stood for 45 minutes in freezing cold outside the (closed) Hastings Art Gallery to ensure that if the message had failed to get through and someone turned up on the originally advertised date, they would not be unwelcomed. No one appeared, so the postponement emails worked! Unless … maybe no one is coming…?
But I suspect that they will. And that our party will be best yet, for a novel that reviewers are already describing as my best yet. I don’t know about that. I do know I can’t wait for it to be out there, to be read, to hear what you think. And for those who can make it to the launch party next week, to share a few hours with you to celebrate Evie’s ‘coming out’ into the world.