Sunday, August 10, 2008

'Dem Bones'

Eirlys Hunter who gave me a quick lesson in how to sign a book, Beth Braddock who saw Bones in draft,professionally,9 years ago and Fifi Colston...when I grow up I want to be like her....
Author...mind blank... you back Em
John McIntyre and his amazing bookshop...
Jack Lasenby...

Bones is launched!

It was a dark and stormy night...the rain turned into hail and back into rain again, unable to make up its mind, while inside The Children’s Bookshop, Kilbirnie, a sleepy little hamlet, an interesting group of people gathered to launch a small novel that was not a chapter book!

How’s that for an entry in the Bulwer Lytton contest for the worst opening line of a book.

Meanwhile the real report of the night goes as follows...

It was a dark and stormy night....

Wellington turned on its wild weather to launch Bones. The author wishes to thank all the people who ‘braved the elements’ (actually given the state of the weather outside the author is amazed and humbled that people would venture out in it to come and celebrate with her.)

I tried to get around everyone there to thank you personally but if I missed you in the crowd please pat yourself on the back... getting there was a mission!

Jack Lasenbys speech was amazing!

I have seen Jack launch two books before, both of them far more worthy than mine, and he has always left the author speechless. I was so glad that I had written a few notes because when I had to lift my head and face you mind was a total blank...Thank goodness for two year old Ella who filled the silence with her own little speech so her mother could collect her scattered wits. I figured that Jacks speech would be short because the book is A SMALL NOVEL, (yes Jack that is imprinted is NOT A CHAPTER BOOK) Jack took me by surprise when he drew so many parallels with the great children’s books...while he was speaking I kept thinking wow that author must be pretty good, I must buy it...and then something dropped in my head (not a penny, more like an anvil) as I realised that he was talking about me and my small novel.

I didn’t talk about the book, just thanked people really, but for those of you who don’t know the books history. I wrote it in 99. It was liked by a publisher but they felt that my characters needed to be more developed so I put it away and worked on something else, children, another novel etc.

I pulled it out last year and rewrote part of it and the word count climbed from 10.200 to 10,500 ish (more characterisation you understand.)and sent it out to Penguin. I didn’t hear anything for six months so I rang to say “I guess you don’t want it.”

“We want it,” came the reply, “but can you cut 2000 words out by next week.” So out came the characterisation and a few other things. It was accepted after my editor, Catherine O’Loughlin, who did a great job, cut out another 2000 words...

It is a great skill, being able to cut words out and have the author read it and say...”but I thought you were cutting out lots of words.” My husband has this skill...(so why didn’t I give it to him, amazing editor that he is!...I wanted to do it myself...stupid huh!)

I’ll put in my speech notes can fill in the gestures and the rest of the ad libbing and other asides. A note for those who were there, The waiata, Emily, leader of my music group wanted me to sing, probably would have been nice and formal maybe in Latin or Maori and more suited to a BIG I will save it up for another time...(probably Emily is about to make me pay for it today at Mass.) I thought ‘Dem Bones’ was more appropriate.

Here is the speech and some pictures.

Book launch speech

A book launch is a bit like a wedding or a funeral there are so many people here from different facets of my life.

I’d like to Thank Jack Lasenby for officially launching the book. I was asked a few months ago why I love his work so much...I relive my childhood while reading his books. If you grew up in the country you saw drovers and mobs of sheep and cattle, and you certainly met some of Jacks characters...

I’d also like to Thank John and Ruth McIntyre...everybody has a story to tell of the first time they came into this shop.

My first time, I was looking for one good book to read to my class. John, consummate master of putting his hand on the right book, let me leave with only eight.

Ruth is definitely his match, all the committee meetings held in this shop, and just as you finish... Ruth says “have you seen the latest...

I’d like to Thank my family for putting up with me, especially my husband. He goes over my writing with a fine grammatical comb. He’s an expert at his job... rates reasonable.

There are lots of people in this room who have provided inspiration and encouragement over the years. They know who they are...(no you aren’t in this book but there are other books...)

I would particularly like to Thank the Wellington Children’s Book Association. It’s ten years since I joined the WCBA and the people I’ve met, the panels and visiting overseas authors make the business of being a writer so much more enjoyable. There have been quite a few people, over the years in the association, whose encouragement and friendship in writing have meant a lot to me. They are mostly still on the committee or past committee members. Those who can’t make it sent their congratulations through. Kate de Goldi, who said eight years ago, You be the convenor, you’ll have time...I was eight months pregnant at the away celebrating her parents golden wedding anniversary. Fleur Beale and Janice Marriott both asked why I was having a launch when they were at other ends of the country and couldn’t be here.

Every writer has a mentor...who cheers you on ... tells you your writing is crap... gives you inspiration and listens to your moaning... I’ve dedicated this book to that person.



Tim Jones said...

I had a great time at the launch - thanks for inviting me!

Fifi Colston said...

When I grow up I want to be as generous of heart and spirit to this industry as you. You do such an amazing job Maureen and we are the richer for it. Great launch, great and humorous (humerus) book. All due crdit to you xx Fifi

Melinda Szymanik said...

hey congrats on being number 3 on the local children's bestseller list! What a buzz.


Maureen said...

I struggled with posting both your comments....As melinda says in her cool blog sometimes you want to hide away but then publishing a book brings you into the light...and then you feel like a rabbit caught in the headlights...
I'm reading both your blogs and a few others when I should be doing other things!!!! cool title melinda
Oh Fi why did you start me on this...?

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