Posts Tagged ‘book’

The Night of all Nights

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

me at the beginning of the night

Firstly, apologies if I sound unusually muted in this post, but one of my least favourite things has happened this weekend – my usually strong and robust immune system has succumbed to some horrible germ, which has forced me to discover anew that battling sore throats and headaches really does nothing for my writing skills. I’m slightly perturbed because I thought alcohol killed germs; however it does not seem to have done so here, despite my best efforts. Hence the delay in posting this. I bet you all thought the unthinkable had happened and I’d eloped with Boris – sadly not. The truth is far more mundane than that. Anyway, here we are now and I am getting ahead of myself in any case, before I can complain about being ill I need to go back to Wednesday and the Launch Party Night…….wow!

just me

It’s not a particularly erudite description but even as a writer I can find no better word than that. ‘Wow’ and everything that is expressed within it – excitement, awe, the sense of being thrilled, gratitude, having done something amazing – is how my party is best described. It was one of the best nights of my life, truly. This was due in part to the fabulous venue, La Place, who made every effort to ensure that we all had a good night, and in part due to me having a strong idea of what I wanted, but mostly it was down to everyone who made the effort to come along on what was a horrible, rainy night to have a glass of wine and a chat with me and each other and enjoy the occasion. Oh, and buy my books of course. The photos will give you an idea of what it was like (there’s a small selection here and the rest are in the gallery) – and I would like to extend my thanks to absolutely everyone who came and helped make it such a special, successful night. Look out for yourselves in the newspapers and magazines of Hampshire over the coming weeks!

with my books

from left: Jason, Steph, Rob and Kate

It’s hard to pick just one memory of the night that I would hold up as the greatest, but if I had to, I would choose signing all my books for the people who bought them. I discovered that you very quickly develop a ‘place’ that you sign, a ‘way’ that you sign and obviously you have to have a special ‘signing’ signature, which is clearly legible. Unlike the one that I normally use which is just a bizarre collection of lines and frankly, bears no resemblance to my name, it could be anyone’s. It isn’t, it does actually read ‘Sarah Haynes’, but probably only to me. The other tip that I picked up off a fellow writer when she signed one of her books for me is to ask “Is there anything particular that you’d like me to write?” This fellow author had had a bizarre request once where a man asked her to write something specific that clearly indicated that they’d spent the night together. Unsurprisingly, she refused. Nothing like that happened at the launch party and in fact I don’t recall anyone asking for anything specific, but I was pleased that absolutely everyone who bought one wanted it signed. And it feels like a true achievement to be putting my signature in a book that I’ve written, so that was probably the most special part of the night.

The Book

me and my father

And other than that, the launch party marked a real turning point for me. Things He Never Knew has been officially launched, it is now ‘out there’ as it were and it’s time to pick up on the small successes that it has had so far and run with them. I’ve got various signings organised (the details will all be available on this page), I’m hoping the launch event will be covered in a few magazines, I’m hoping for a steady trickle of positive reviews and I’m hoping for an ever-increasing number of sales. It feels like going onwards and upwards, this is very definitely a new phase for me and I am very much looking forward to everything that will come. One of the first things I’m going to do is make three chapters available on this page; one per week for the first three weeks of October. This will give you the flavour of the story and introduce you to Steph, Theo, Mia and Tilly and the complicated world they inhabit.

me signing a book

my daughter(right)and her friend

There were no stories about Rachel Johnson to have me howling this week, but India Knight did post a link to a very funny Clement Freud joke – http://indiaknight.posterous.com/extremely-funny-joke – which had the same effect, as far as my throat permitted, which was nice. I like laughing. And Rod Liddle explained in his Times column exactly why Jo Johnson MP (brother of the gorgeous Boris) turned down his request for an interview. Apparently his rejection was couched in these terms: “Jo Johnson regrets that he will not be able to do the interview but sends his regards. His wife adds that she would prefer it in future if Mr Liddle did not refer to her in print as a ‘stunted loon’”. That would probably do it. But I’ve never called her a ‘stunted loon’, do you suppose Jo Johnson might acquiesce to be interviewed by me? One step closer to Boris and all that………

Southern Daily Echo page

“All she thinks of is sex. You can’t get her away from a penis.”

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

I think my brain may explode. I’ve had to retreat away from the rest of my family to write this because I cannot cope with dinner being prepared (husband), Grease being watched (eldest daughter) and Bob the Builder being ‘read’ to me (youngest daughter, who can’t read) whilst I write this, I NEED to concentrate, I’m too easily distracted today. Plus my house is a mess and I don’t want to look at it any more. I’m hoping by the time I go back out there my husband will have cleared up, sorted the washing out, tidied, vacuumed, done my ironing, bathed the girls, checked their uniform is available for tomorrow and made dinner. Ha bloody ha.

There’s just three more sleeps to go until my launch party and I am so fiendishly excited that it’s perfectly possible I won’t sleep a wink between now and then. And if I didn’t then I stand a chance of completing all the things that I need to before Launch Party Day. Unbelievably, I still lack a complete list of everyone who is coming. This is only important so that I know numbers. And this is only important so that there’s enough wine available. I also need a two hour long playlist full of suitable background music. This will be frustrating because I don’t really do background music, if I’m playing music it’s so that I can listen to it. I’m currently thinking that I might be playing a lot of the Lucinda Belle Orchestra; she is my newest favourite artist. Happily though, my outfit is sorted. I have fears that my dress is too short, but if it is then it’s just going to have to be. My heels are acceptably high without being vertiginous and that’s really all there is to it. My youngest daughter has decided upon a pink dress and cardboard crown for the party, and my eldest daughter has declared that she will wear jeans. I have declared that she will not. I’m so looking forward to seeing everyone there! As I wrote on Facebook, it does feel a lot like preparing for my wedding day in terms of logistics/preparations/guests. But I hope it isn’t like my wedding day because a) I was very drunk that day and b) I didn’t get to talk to everyone who came, which is my aim for Wednesday.

I’ve changed my name on Twitter by the way. If you follow me already you’ll have seen, but for those who don’t/haven’t, I have gone from @SH_Writes to @SoVerySarah. It isn’t an ideal time to change my name but I was getting uncomfortable about broadcasting the fact that I’m a writer. There’s a lot of negativity on Twitter towards people who ruthlessly self-promote and I was worried that I would fall into that category simply by virtue of advertising the fact that I write. I don’t want people to think I’m tweeting at them just because they are fellow authors or agents or publishers. If I do ‘talk’ to someone it’s because I find them interesting or funny. There’s a girl on there for example, @emilyniawatson, who nearly makes me cry with laughter sometimes. Her sense of humour is so dry. But anyway, I thought being SoVerySarah suited me better because I am SoVerySarah, and so I shall keep that name.

After I posted my blog on Friday a couple of exciting things happened. The first was that my book got a mention on one of our local but big-ish radio stations, Wave 105, courtesy of the very lovely Simon Clark. Unfortunately he managed to time his mention as I was out doing a school run so I missed it. Bad Sarah. Then later that evening as I was approx. one bottle of champagne down he messaged me to say that I was also in the Hampshire Chronicle Arts Supplement, which again, I had managed to miss. Bad Sarah. Luckily Simon said he would keep a copy for me – goodness only knows what he thinks of me and my appalling disorganisation…..I’ll find out on Wednesday because he’s coming to the launch party.

Speaking of Launch Party Day, I have inadvertently made the day a whole lot more stressful for myself by agreeing to give a talk in assembly at the girls’ school on genetic abnormalities, ahead of Jeans for Genes Day. It is something that I’ve done before and something that I think is very important in terms of making genetic abnormalities less of a remote concept for children and helping them understand why it’s so important to raise money on Jeans for Genes Day. However – I think I may have been a bit hasty in agreeing to do it on the morning of my book launch when I will be bouncing off the walls with excitement and nerves and general anticipation. Mind you, I suppose if I’m going to bounce off walls an assembly hall is possibly the best place to do it. So do think of me at 8:30am on Wednesday 29th, I will have to be dressed, focussed and thoroughly prepared to give a talk to a hall full of 8-13 year olds. Tricky. Although, thanks  - as ever –  to Steph (who I must mention on at least a weekly basis) for her assistance in finding ways to explain genes and their function to children. She’s coming to the launch party by the way, if anyone is interested in seeing exactly who it is I’m always talking about.

And last, but not least, I’m not an Independent reader, but Julia Budworth’s words about Rachel Johnson (sister of the gorgeous Boris) in today’s edition had me literally howling with laughter. HOWLING. Her line “….All she thinks of is sex. You can’t get her away from a penis….” was one of the funniest things I’ve read this year, hence the title of my blog. Brutal in her honesty, Mrs Budworth made it very clear exactly what she thinks about the editor of The Lady. And that is that she is not one. See here for the full article: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/news/julia-budworth-tea-with-the-lady-2089890.html Well worth a read.

My husband’s just come in by the way, looking peculiarly stressed, but he has informed me that he’s cleared up, sorted the washing out, tidied, vacuumed, done my ironing, bathed the girls, checked their uniform is available for tomorrow and made dinner. Result.

Rachel&Boris

Things He Never Knew has officially been released! It is – The Day.

Friday, September 24th, 2010

And so…..here we are. We have arrived at The Day that I have been waiting for most of my life. The day that I finally become a published author!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s right, Things He Never Knew is officially released today, Friday 24th September. The countdown to publication is over.

If we tally up everything that has been building to almost this precise moment, it’s quite a lot:

-          28 years of life for a start.

-          19 ½ years of full-time education (we won’t calculate the school/Uni fees as I’m not sure that my royalties will EVER cover them. Sorry Daddy.)

-          I estimate 300+ examinations (as in the test kind, not ill-health kind), including 11 GCSEs, 3 A-Levels, an AS-Level and a Law degree. And all the years of work they entailed.

-          One ‘discussion’ with my husband about exactly why I should be allowed to stay at home and write stories, rather than get up and go out to work like most people.

-          Literally thousands of hours of creativity poured into my various stories/poems/manuscripts.

-          Even more hours spent in perfecting Things He Never Knew so that I have told the story in the best way that I can, that it will hopefully draw you into Steph and Theo’s ravaged world and that you will be both intrigued by and sympathetic to them.

-          A LOT of determination and perseverance to get where I am now.

Obviously now that the book is released, it’s available online at www.amazon.co.uk and at www.waterstones.com, as well as at all good bookshops. Well, I say ‘all’, I don’t actually get told where it’s being stocked so the best thing if you hope to buy it from a bookshop is go in and ask if they stock it, and if they don’t or they’ve sold out they will certainly be able to order it for you.

And once you have it and you’re reading it, can I ask – please don’t take against poor old Steph too much. In a sense what she did wasn’t her fault and her best excuse is that it was unintentional, although an excuse is all it is. You will all see the drama that unfolds across the pages and although Steph deserves this, it isn’t a nice thing to have to go through. As for Theo, it would be easy to sympathise wholeheartedly with him, but I would ask that you bear in mind that he hasn’t been quite as accommodating or understanding to Steph as he might have. Over the next couple of weeks or so, a complete in-depth blog about the background to Things He Never Knew will be appearing here which will reveal why what happens in the book, happens. But for those of you who read immediately, do try and keep an open mind for Steph. And whilst I’m on the subject of Steph – I’d also like to make it clear that her character is not me! I wasn’t expecting so many people to make the assumption that it is; maybe I made a mistake in casting myself in the role of Steph on the front cover. But no, she is not me, nor anyone of my acquaintance. She is entirely fictional, she exists only in my imagination and in the pages of the book where the consequences of her rash actions are played out.

I’m going to leave it here for today because I think the events of the day kind of speak for themselves and I am happy to let a brief and reverential silence descend across Revelations and Revelry for now. I am thrilled, delighted and awed to have finally become a published author….it really is a dream come true for me. Thank-you to everyone who has supported me and bought it so far, I really hope that you all enjoy reading it and witnessing Steph’s apparently perfect life coming undone at the seams. I would love to have any comments on the book, either here or on my facebook page or via email, sarah@sarahhaynes.me.uk. I’m impatient to know what everybody thinks! So if you read it and have something to say, please do let me know.

So I shall sign off for now: Sarah Haynes LLB (Hons)…………and  PUBLISHED AUTHOR :-)

My display!