Today Rosy Thorton is my guest to celebrate the release of her fifth novel, Ninepins here at FLY HIGH! In her lovely guest post, she tells us about a dream she had the night before the launch party for her book (two days ago!) I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did. Congratulations to Rosy on her new release, many thanks to her for writing this piece especially for our blog and good luck to you in the giveaway contest! Because, YES! there is one linked to this post. For the details, see at the bottom .
A party in your favourite bookshop, to celebrate the publication of your new novel – it’s every writer’s dream, right?
Or maybe it’s a nightmare…
Today my fifth novel, ‘Ninepins’ was published, and last night I held a launch party in my local independent bookshop, Heffers, in Cambridge. Five novels is nowhere near enough to begin to get over the jitters that such events induce and, as ever when something like that looms, the night before the event I found myself having a dream about it…
It began with a change of venue. The events manager from Heffers had rung me to say that due to a re-fit, my launch party would not be held in the bookshop as usual but in a community hall somewhere else in town – not one with which I was familiar. On the day I found the hall OK. I checked with several people on arrival; this was definitely the place.
As I walked in, there was already a decent crowd gathered. This was a good start; my main worry, when a bookshop has agreed to host an event, is that no one will turn up. But as I began to mingle, thanking people for coming and chatting about this and that, it was odd that there appeared to be hardly anybody I knew. Many of the friends and colleagues who’d said they would be here didn’t seem to have showed, but maybe they’d be along later. Those who were here also seemed to be rather more elderly than expected: many were in their seventies or even older. One, I noticed, had a huge, old-fashioned ear trumpet.
Who were all these strangers, I wondered as I chatted to them about my book? It didn’t seem polite to ask. But, after all, the invitation had gone out to a good many people I didn’t know, or not by sight: several internet friends, for a start. Perhaps that was who they were.
The refreshments were there, as arranged. Or rather, not quite as arranged because I’d mentioned white wine and olives, and instead there was a tea urn and a trestle of home-made cakes – but they looked pretty good.
Then the disco began. (I know, I know – but this is a dream, remember.) I thought I ought to dance, as it was my event, so I showed willing, though I am an extremely reluctant dancer. I particularly remember being taken hold of somewhat too closely by a gentleman in his eighties, and turned creakingly round the floor to ‘Blue Moon’.
After a while I began to worry that it was time that the music stopped and the book-launching began. Where was the bookshop events manager, who was due to introduce me? The first bars of ‘Blue Moon’ struck up for the third time, and people, I noticed, were beginning to leave. This was no good. I looked about rather wildly for the bookshop person; I asked a couple of people near me whether they had seen her, but they only shrugged.
‘I really think I might do my talk now,’ I said, raising my voice a little in the hope it might attract people to stop dancing and gather round.
A kind woman in a nurse’s uniform heard me and came to ask what the problem was. When I explained she took everything in hand most efficiently. She headed more would-be departers away from the door, silenced the disco and shepherded the company into a circle. Nervously, I coughed and began.
The speech, I thought, did not go too badly. My audience appeared reasonably receptive, and even laughed a little in one or two of the appropriate places.
It was only as I was reaching my concluding thank yous that it occurred to me. I still hadn’t see the person from the bookshop – and nor had I seen any copies of my book. This was the part when I was supposed to sit and sign them for people. But how could they buy books if there were none to buy?
Rosy ThorntonThey were all getting their coats on now, and drifting away. No bookshop manager, no books, not a single sale. They’d be left with all that unsold stock, which must be back at the shop somewhere. How embarrassing – what a fiasco! But at least people seemed to have enjoyed themselves, and maybe they’d remember me and order the book when they got home. Where had that bookshop woman got to? I checked my phone: no message, no text, nothing.
Pulling on my on coat at the door, I asked an elderly man what time it was. He pulled out an oversized pocket watch on a chain, for all the world like Alice’s white rabbit. ‘Nearly four o’clock,’ he said.
Four pm. My book launch was at half past six.
I had just given a talk about my new novel to a crowd of polite, bemused strangers – at an event which wasn’t my book launch.
Maybe it’s a good thing that not all writers’ dreams comes true!
NINEPINS is an isolated former tollhouse in the Cambridgeshire fens. There live single mother Laura and her twelve-year-old daughter, Beth, in the carefully controlled cocoon that Laura has built around them. But Beth is brittly asthmatic, lonely at school and increasingly distant from her mother. And into their lives like a brisk fen breeze comes Willow, a seventeen-year-old care leaver with a mysterious past, together with her social worker, Vince. Laura must decide: what does she want of Vince, and he of her? Is Willow dangerous or vulnerable, or maybe a little of both? And are all Laura’s painstakingly constructed certainties about to come tumbling down like ninepins?
Ninepins’, is published today by Sandstone Press.The novel is available as a paperback and will shortly be out also in e-book format.
Learn more about Rosy Thornton at her site.
You have the chance to win a signed copy of Rosy Thornton's brand new novel. Just leave your comment or question for Rosy, add your e-mail address and ... fingers crossed! This giveaway is open worldwide and will end on 28 April when the name of the winner will be announced.