Posts Tagged ‘Book Signing’

A weekend of firsts!

Friday, October 15th, 2010

According to the countdown on my blog site I have just one day and one hour to go until my first-ever book signing! It’s clever of it to know that because I haven’t confirmed with Waterstones what time I’m starting yet. I’m sure they said 9am but I personally think that 10am would be a much more sensible time. Those customers who are in at 9am will want to ease into their day gently by browsing shelves and not talking much, it will take until the people who have stayed in bed so long that they didn’t make it in till 10am arrive before anyone begins to engage with me. I’m sure. And also I don’t like getting up early. No, I’m joking. I do quite like getting up early actually. I think it’s because it takes me a long time to wake up in the morning, I’m not one of those people who can bounce out of bed at 8am and start earnestly discussing Pythagoras’ theorem over a cup of tea. To be brutally honest I’m not sure that I could discuss Pythagoras’ theorem at any time of the day or night. Is it something to do with triangles? It fascinates and slightly horrifies me that anyone could be so interested in triangles that they come up with a theory about them. Can you imagine how bored you would have to be? I find maths in its entirety frighteningly boring. But at least it’s easy to date Pythagoras’ theorem – it simply must have been before the days of Sky + and Coronation Street. I wonder how many new theories are developed these days? Not many, I’ll bet. Everyone’s too busy watching Come Dine With Me and Michael Macintyre’s Comedy Roadshow.

Anyway, that’s why I like getting up early so I can have a good long time to properly wake up before I need to be coherent. But don’t worry, I shall be fully awake and coherent by the time I start signing books tomorrow. I am going to spend today flexing my book-signing muscles and deciding what pen to use. I normally use a fountain pen but I’m not too sure how good an idea this is; it certainly looks very nice but the ink can be unreliable sometimes and there’s nothing worse than signing a book for someone and having to go over the words again. I know because it happened at the launch but luckily it was someone I knew. I think if a person buys a book tomorrow and I sign it they have a right to expect a decent, legible signature. Not something that looks like someone’s old aunt has signed it. Mind you, if someone’s old aunt starts signing my books in Waterstones her signature will be the least of my worries.

And talking about getting up early it’s a good job that I don’t mind doing it because on Sunday I shall have to be up and about super-early to be on the radio! I don’t mind admitting that it’s something I’m mildly nervous about, simply because I’ve never done it before. Fear of the unknown and all that. But everybody that I’ve spoken to has said there’s nothing to it and it’s just like having a conversation with someone. Let’s hope so……..! For those who don’t know, I am going to be a guest on the Nick Girdler Show on BBC Radio Solent between 9:30-9:50am. With that and my book signing this is a real weekend of ‘firsts’ for me. It’s certainly the first time I’ve ever turned down an invitation for Saturday night in favour of going to bed early and getting a good night’s sleep.

And finally, some of you will be pleased to hear that progress on Manuscript Number 2 is well under way. I’d already written a few thousand words (20,000 to be precise) but they needed heavy editing which is nearly completed. I’ve taken bits out, simplified some of my characters and generally made it as good as it can be – and I’m very pleased. As an author you know when you’ve got it right because as you read your own words a sense of excitement sort of fizzes up inside you and you think – yes! I’ve done it! I have the basis of a very good book and I am excited about writing the rest of it. It’s going to be a fun thing to write. I need to do more planning which I find terribly dull and frustrating, I don’t want to be planning what will happen, I want to be writing it, creating it, bringing it all to life and seeing what happens next. Because a lot of the time the characters write themselves and I’m sometimes surprised with what they say and how they behave. I censor them occasionally, they can’t be allowed to run amok, but I have a good collection of characters this time which is nice to work with.

I shall leave it here for today as I have several thousand things to do and nowhere near enough time to do them all. I would like to say a massive THANK YOU for all the feedback I’ve been getting. It’s both rewarding and useful to know what people are thinking about me and my book. And I’m so pleased that so many people are reacting to Steph in the way that they are meant to, it means that my writing has worked.

The countdown on my blog site now reads just twenty two hours to go, so you can all see how long it has taken me to write this! What can I say……I’ve been so distracted by developing my new theorem for triangles that I couldn’t concentrate properly on writing this. If there is sufficient interest then I shall publish the results of my theorem next time; it can form the first sentence of my blog.

Orange and lemonade lifestyle

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

I love weekends. I love the fact that they’re so promising, full of potential and that if you approach them in the proper manner then anything goes; Saturday and Sunday are very hedonistic in our house. It’s rare that anyone is dressed before midday (unless my eldest daughter has Saturday school because I’ve learned that the school don’t like you turning up in pyjamas. I did actually do that once on a very rushed morning but I don’t think anyone noticed because I had a sort of flashers mac on over the top). As far as I’m concerned the weekend is a chance to eat anything, drink anything and generally indulge yourself. Saturday has to be my favourite day of the week, I always feel a bit excited on Saturday mornings for no discernible reason. I quite like Fridays because I treat them as a dress rehearsal for Saturdays. I also like Thursday nights because I know it will be Friday when I wake up. I always feel like I can be a little bit frivolous; wear a slightly shorter skirt, slightly higher heels, maybe have a glass of wine at lunchtime if I’m in the right company on Fridays. And by ‘right company’ I mean those that drink alcohol when in a pub. I know, instinct to most of us, but I promise you there are those people who order wine for me and then something boring like orange juice and lemonade for themselves. That to me always has the air of “Well I can control myself but she can’t, better indulge her.” Usually thoroughly compounded by answering “Large, obviously” to the inevitable “Large glass or small?” question. It makes me feel like saying “Oh sorry, did I say large glass of wine? I meant large glass of water. Silly me.” There is nothing more off-putting when you’re drinking wine and feeling that slight alcohol-induced glow come over you than to be with someone who remains steadfastly and determinedly sober. Just no fun. And Fridays and Saturdays and their nights are designed for fun.

This of course is unless you’re me next weekend. There will not be much wine drunk next Saturday or Sunday (by me at any rate, I can’t speak for the rest of Hampshire) because on those days I am getting as close to work as I get. And I understand that one does not drink at work. Next Saturday I will be signing books in Waterstones in Fareham between 10am and 4pm which I’m very excited about. It will be lovely to actually talk to people as they buy my book, I think it’s fantastic to be able to see the person whose mind this creation has come from and hold that thought as you read the book. I know I’ve said this before but whenever I read a really good book, and I’ve just finished a tremendous one by Rosie Alison called The Very Thought Of You, I always want to know as much as I can about the author. How old are they, what do they look like, where do they live, are they married, did they go to University, how did they get into writing, how have they been successful – ad infinitum. I’ve been frustrated by Rosie Alison because I really cannot find out much about her. Lots, if not most, authors have their own website or blog or both, they’re on twitter and if you look you can generally find a lot of information which helps you build a picture of them as a person which helps in understanding their story. That’s why I’m as open as I am in this blog and generally on facebook and twitter – if people are going to bother to follow you as a writer then I believe the least you can do is share a little of yourself and your life with them. This is no comment against those who choose not to, I do understand that some writers prefer to stay quiet and private, it’s just that I prefer to share every single thought with as many people as possible. Anyway, I digress. So to come back to it – Fareham, next Saturday, I shall be delighted to be there signing books for as long as I am required. It is my first-ever book signing so I shall be learning on the job as it were, but I expect it to be a fun and rewarding experience.

And then we move onto Sunday. Obviously. But this Sunday will see me doing something that has never happened before – being up at 6am to scan the newspapers in preparation for being on the Nick Girdler Show on BBC Radio Solent at 9:30am. I have very kindly been invited on as a guest to talk about myself and Things He Never Knew and review the Sunday papers. This isn’t as daunting as it sounds, I’ve been told by the producer that all I have to do is choose three stories from any paper on which to comment. So I thought I’d go for something from the Sunday Sport.

Joke. Big joke. HUGE joke.

The red-top papers do not generally feature in my life. But joking aside, the stories can be as high-brow or superficial as I like. So I could talk about the previous night’s X-Factor if I want, except I don’t watch X-Factor so that would be a little silly. My husband has advised me to stick to my strengths which means that I won’t venture into political comment as I have a history of disasters in this area, and probably to focus on lifestyle stories. It was sod’s law this morning that I found at least seven separate stories that I could comment on in The Sunday Times; I only hope for such luck next Sunday. That said, I do always comment if I find an article that I’m interested in, I just don’t ever have hundreds of people listening to me. I’ll have one, if I’m lucky.

Well I’ve written 1,024 words so far and my Sunday night awaits. This means ironing school uniform and watching Downton Abbey, to which I am unashamedly addicted. Already.  With the slight disappointment that Rob-James Collier is playing a gay character, about which my husband crows weekly because I think he’s absolutely gorgeous. Rob-James Collier, not my husband I should clarify. Although the latter is pretty gorgeous too. But – we should not forget that it is Sunday which means the wheels of hedonism are still turning. I shall rush to drink orange juice and lemonade. This girl knows how to live.

So people listen to me apparently!

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Sarah Haynes is pleased to announce the arrival of her brand new laptop! Oh yes. No more putting up with my inebriated computer:  unexplained overheating/shutting down apropos of nothing every two minutes/the screen freezing/untold amounts of faults necessitating the immediate shutdown of Google Chrome and the consequent loss of important work (not to mention the loss of important Facebook conversations). I woke up on Tuesday morning and, as is my wont,  thought – right, enough is enough. I cannot work like this. I cannot be a highly successful author with such a ridiculous piece of machinery. My husband disagreed and saw no real problem with the situation; in fact I would go so far as to say that he didn’t listen to a word I said.  So I had no choice but to ignore him and buy a new one and I LOVE IT!! There will be lots of writing and emailing and Twitter-ing and Facebook-ing and Skype-ing going on with it. It’s an HP one and a sort of burgundy colour. I wanted a pink one but it was about £300 more and the proverbial foot went down.  Pretty hard.  Anyway so that’s quite exciting in itself, but what is more exciting is that I have organised my first ever, ever, ever book-signing!! After the raw excitement of receiving my books and then business cards, the excitement for book-signing went off the scale to a level that my brain didn’t recognise and I felt sort of……numb. Like it isn’t true and won’t really be happening to me. That said actually, I’m not sure that a great deal will be happening to me. As a completely unknown debut author I don’t imagine that people will be flocking in their droves to visit me. But just in case you live near me and fancy coming along, it’s at Waterstones in Fareham on Saturday 16th October. All day. And I would love to see you. So do come along and witness me doing my first ever day’s work! Shamefully that is not an exaggeration.

AND I am very pleased that have agreed to review Things He Never Knew. I love the website, their reviews are honest and straightforward and provide good parameters by which to judge a book – she says with some trepidation……I just hope they like mine. But that’s part of the appeal of the site; honest reviews.  But just in case my excitement levels were dropping off, this bit of news served to perk them right up again. Honestly, Christmas is going to seem such a let-down after all of this.

So – I was going to write about my characters this time and how I create them. Having given it a lot of thought,  the answer is that I don’t really. I decide on a basic plan, for example, I am going to have a 2.4 family, the father will be called William, the mother Mary and the children will be Daisy and Michael and I will have an idea of how William, Mary, Daisy and Michael are going to interact and why. I then sketch out the rest of the plot, pretty thinly as I tend to find it twists and turns as I write it, and then I get going. I am very, very bad at planning individual chapters. I wish I weren’t because it would make my job a lot easier but I’m always too impatient to throw myself into the actual writing. So I do. And then William and Mary and whoever will come to life as I write. Just like Enid Blyton described, I watch my characters and listen to them. I don’t decide what words they’re going to say, I just write down what they do say. This often leads to me being surprised at what’s happening, and if it’s too absurd then I will change it, or if I find they’re going off in the wrong direction, like wayward children. I can’t have William and Mary misbehaving. Obviously at some subconscious level I am deciding what my characters will do, and this is where outside influence comes in. I will often hear things that anger/amuse/outrage/fascinate me and these get stored away for me to use on specific occasions. For example, in my new manuscript there’s a line where a parent is describing the terrible conditions of rooms at their child’s school and she says “Oh goodness – they’re practically third world!” which a friend of mine did actually say to me and I’m  pretty sure she doesn’t mind me repeating it (never mind publishing it…) and which I then filed for future use and created a scene where I could use it because it amused and interested me so much, for lots of different reasons. That’s an easy example. More difficult to pinpoint are the smaller elements that I draw in, as I said in my previous post, the colour of someone’s hair, little mannerisms, modes of speech, those sorts of things that make a person who they are. I must have quite a collection in my mind now and I suppose I just pluck a few out at random and try them for size on my characters. There’s no doubt though that they make themselves, I just help shape them.  And then clothe them, because that’s important.

I’m not much of a psychic but I do foresee that my life is going to get very, very busy over the next two weeks and beyond. Actually, that reminds me, I have three different web ‘areas’ for want of a better word ( and I’m sure there is one); here, my website and my facebook author page and information is liberally sprinkled over all three. Yet I’ve noticed that people ask me the same question time and time again, and that’s “When is the book being released?” This both amuses and confuses me; it’s a fairly major detail but obviously one that people just don’t take on board. Interesting. Anyway, so back to being busy – and I really will be. I already have a litany of tasks mapped out to be achieved and not enough days in which to do them. This could be interesting. However I always make time for the truly important things, which should come as a relief to some. And I tell you what, having a laptop that I don’t have to keep re-starting and giving little breaks to should make a world of difference.  Honestly, it was like taking an elderly relative out for a stroll and stopping to have little rests and cups of tea to make sure that they don’t keel over completely. And watching with a keen eye to prevent any unorthodox behaviour. But no more, my newborn laptop is working brilliantly, if confusingly (I am not clever with computers) and on that note I’m off to check progress on my facebook fan page (135 last time I checked) and twitter (100 followers!), so just think – assuming some overlap there are still in all probability over 200 people willing to listen to what I have to say on a regular basis. I must email my husband and tell him immediately.