(photo shamefully stolen from Liz!)
So, I couldn't let another day go by without blogging about Caroline's book launch the other week.
I'd never been to a book launch before - I was supposed to go to the Your Messages (which contains two of my flashes) book launch earlier this year but was ill - so was really excited about finally getting to go to one. Not just about attending a book launch but about attending Caroline's book launch and meeting up with some of my fellow Novel Racers. When you're a writer there are so few occasions to be sociable with other writers that I leapt at the chance to go along.
And a bloody good evening it was too.
The second I stepped off the escalator on the third floor of Borders, Oxford street I spotted CC Devine and Jude (who I'd never met but recognised straight away. God bless Facebook!) and then (oh dear, it's a bit of a blur now), Leigh, Juliette (and the Ginger Guitarist), Kate, Cathy and Helen (and the man I mistook for The Welshman. Sorry about that). In fact, there were so many of us that knew each other the circle we formed as we got together for a gossip and catch-up, glass of wine in hand, took up most of the space at the top of the escalator!
And then lovely Caroline arrived! (with her lovely family)
Poor thing. She looked a tad bewildered at the mob that descended on her the second she stepped onto the floor but she looked the picture of elegance in her black dress and heels (I want to be an elegant author damnit!) and her family so was damned adorable I wanted to squeeze them all! I had a quick chat with Caroline and then she was whisked away (where I'm not sure) and we all chatted a bit more, drank a bit more, then took our seats. The book launch couldn't have been more different from the gallery showing I went to a few weeks ago. It was so wonderfully friendly, fun and chilled and I felt like a real part of it instead of a casual observer.
Anyway, Caroline reappeared from wherever she'd been hiding and her editor, Clare Christian, said a few - wonderfully supportive - words and then presented Caroline with some flowers and a present and then Caroline said a few words (which were really lovely) and then sat to read from her new novel, Black Boxes.
And then I felt nervous for her. Actually I wasn't nervous for her (she seemed so assured). I was nervous for me. Wondering how the hell I'd ever manage to do a reading in front of ALL THOSE FACES with a microphone in front of my mouth. And I felt a bit sick at the thought but I tell you what, I learned a lot about doing a reading from Caroline. She read so, so beautifully. There was such a lyrical, melodic quality to the way that she read and the rise and fall of her voice, the words, that transfixed the audience. I didn't want her stop.
But she did. She had to. She had to answer some questions on her book! And then a representative of One in Four (the charity Caroline generously supported with the proceeds of her novella Disraeli Avenue) said a few words and thanked Caroline for her support.
And then we queued to get our books signed and I met Liz Fenwick at last (and lovely and effervescent she was too) and her friend Biddy, Pierre L blog-reader extraordinaire AND I got to meet writing legend Sarah Salway at last (and discovered, via a Facebook connection, that we both knew someone not connected with the writing world) AND I got to meet the superfit journalist Julia Buckley whose blog (and magazine/newspaper columns) I'd read but never actually talked to in the virtual world.
So finally, signed book in hand, it was time to go. And there were lots of goodbyes and hugs and "we should do this again" and then I got lost in Black Boxes all the way home (it's the kind of book that sucks you in and you just can't stop reading). I haven't finished it yet as I'm currently reading about 3 books at the same time but I can't wait to dedicate a rainy Sunday afternoon (and I get the feeling there will be a lot of those over the next few months!) to lose myself again in the world of Ana and Pip.
And why do I love the The Friday Project nearly as much as I love Caroline? Because of this...
... my prize for winning Caroline's Black Boxes photo competition. Will you look at that loot! How wonderful to get my hands on so many books that I've read about on the net and wondered about (and wanted). And two mini twixes too! Clare Christian sure knows the way to a woman's heart. Books and chocolate. Perfect! :o) Thank you so, so much.
p.s. Sorry if I've forgotten to mention anyone I met/talked to at the launch. It's all a bit of a bit of a blur now and not just because of the wine involved!