This blog is by way of a thank you: last Wednesday, on a typical summer's day in Scotland (horizontal rain) a crowd of soggy but determined book fans gathered in Waterstone's on Princes St, to help DANDY GILVER 12 down the slipway.
There was wine and there were nibbles, kindly provided by my UK publisher, Hodder & Stoughton, and best of all Francine Toon - the editor who cannot be ruffled - made the schlep north from London on the train to be there.
It's still a thrill to have a book come out even when it's number twenty (!) and it's as amazing as ever that people will come along, listen, cheer, buy it and be genuinely chuffed for Dandy and me. This time, I met a Facebook friend IRL for the first time; I had an Italian teacher buy copies to help her students learn English (which gave me a moment of ethical hesitation. Really? Really???); there was a German speaker using the books to hone her English and there were former fellow academics (formerly fellow, I mean - since I packed it in) not throwing Twiglets as I described how horrible academia was and how much happier I am writing fiction.
What I love about book launch parties, most of all, is how it brings out the creativity in my friends. Whether it's my designer friend Catherine (of Catherine Lepreux Interiors) perfectly matching the flowers to the jacket:
Or my mum and dad (of Jim and Jean McPherson's kitchen) rendering another book jacket in fondant icing:
Or my multi-talented writing pal, Lousie Kelly, with the best yet steam-punk Dandy figurine, complete with a pocketful of magnetic quotes and a fully functioning* nose:
(*although not as a nose)
Life's not all cake, though. And after one of the best bits - the launch party - comes one of the worst bits. Now, a lot of people I care about and/or can't avoid long-term are reading my new book. Or tried to read it and set it aside with a guilty sigh. Or have already written searing anonymous Amazon reviews. Or have already sold the copy I signed for them on eBay . . . or have-
On second thoughts, I'm going to save the fevered imagination for the next book, take a deep breath and let Toil and Trouble go.