Posts Tagged ‘Boris Johnson’

My weekend!

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Outside the studio

Triangles have three sides. There. That is the official “Sarah Haynes theorem on triangles”. I don’t think Pythagoras has a rival in me just yet. It’s possible that from this you would think that I don’t have the wherewithal to write a book, but I promise you I do. And not only that but one book is rapidly turning into two! I have written a few thousand more words of my second manuscript and I am ever so pleased and excited with how it’s coming along. Such a great feeling to watch a manuscript unfold as it’s supposed to. I am also working on my chick-lit/lit-fic blog, which interestingly was something that came up both in my radio interview yesterday morning and at the book-signing.

First of all – book signing! Thank you very much to everyone who came along. It was a great experience and a rapid learning curve. It felt a bit surreal at first to be sitting there surrounded by copies of my book and knowing that they were just waiting to be signed by me. But I very quickly got the hang of it; the shop was quite quiet for a couple of hours so I had plenty of time to people-spot, which I LOVE. Just trying to guess from the way they look and what they’re doing what their job might be, are they married or single, happy or sad in life? It fascinates me to watch people drifting by because I am so incurably nosy. I also got the chance to read some of Mrs Fry’s Diary which I quickly realised was a bad idea because it made me laugh so much I was shaking, which is just not a good look at your own book-signing. I imagine for anyone glancing over at me then I looked like a bit of a lunatic. But when I was reading things like “…We told Stephen Junior that he was adopted tonight. He isn’t, but there was nothing on TV.” I really couldn’t help it. Great book, very funny. And I am now consumed by curiosity as to who Mrs Stephen Fry is. More about that later.

I didn’t have an easy start to the signing; the first chap who came up to talk to me spent a long time looking at the back of the book before saying to me “I can’t read, you know,” – to which I didn’t really know what to say. Short of offering to read him the entire thing I didn’t see that there was a lot that I could do. I suggested audiobooks, but he told me that he preferred to attend talks and get his information that way, so that was that. And then the second lady who came up picked up Things He Never Knew, looked at it suspiciously and said “It’s not chick-lit is it?” in tones that suggested that she equates chick-lit with pornography. Obviously I didn’t know quite what to say, as the answer is probably yes, if I’m brutally honest. To the chick-lit bit, not pornography. It’s certainly on the chick-lit scale, but as quickly as she had said that she announced that she liked the sound of it and could I sign it for her? I was quick to reassure her that it is slightly more cerebral than some of the books out there, and that I had in fact written it myself. It was interesting to watch people react to me – some stuck like glue to the shelves so that they didn’t have to come near me and some people came straight over the minute I caught their eye and smiled. I was particularly interested in why people picked up Things He Never Knew, I asked one girl and she said it was the colour of the front cover, which is nice, I’m glad I got the cover right.

And in the bits when I wasn’t signing books or chatting to people I was able to look around the shop and see all the books that I don’t have time to read, e.g. The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. She is one of my absolute all-time favourite authors and I’ve been waiting for her latest book to be released for ages. But I simply don’t have the time to dedicate to reading it and I don’t want to read it in fits and starts so I have forced myself to delay buying it. The other thing that I noticed as I glanced around the shop was the calendar stand – and I was astonished. The first one that caught my eye was a 2011 calendar entitled “Beautiful Sheep”. BEAUTIFUL SHEEP???? Swiftly followed by “Girls on Chairs” – which has a slightly kinky ring to it if you ask me. Which probably no-one will after this. What extraordinary things to do calendars on. Whatever happened to naked WI members and Chesney Hawkes?

However I didn’t have time to think about it because I then had to get home and go to sleep essentially, to be up at 6:30am to read the Sunday papers ahead of being on the Nick Girdler show on BBC Radio Solent. Or I thought I had to be up at 6:30am, my mother had different ideas – she texted me from America at 5:38am and woke me up, thereby ensuring that I lost almost an hours sleep. But no matter, the interview went very well and it was lovely to meet Nick, he’s so nice. I didn’t dare listen to the show for about twelve hours in case I sounded awful, but I don’t. I don’t even sound as nervous as I was. I chose to comment on stories about fraudulent benefit claims (which nearly gave my husband a heart attack as we had agreed that I would steer clear of politics), overly thin women which I think are becoming a serious issue in terms of role models for young girls, and then the recently revived rumours that Prince William and Kate are getting married. Again. I hope they do – I think they will – it would be absolutely lovely. And Kate must be getting fed up of waiting by now. And then to my absolute delight I found a story on page 11 of the Mail on Sunday about Boris! Dear old Boris, who, according to the paper, is no longer sleeping at his family home but instead in a flat 100 yards away. But why is this????? How can Marina bear those 100 yards?????? I’m glad he is though because it meant that I was able to mention him on the radio, ending my contribution perfectly.

So all in all it was a thoroughly good weekend full of firsts for me. Oh – I was going to talk about Mrs Fry’s Diary. As I said, I read it on Saturday and that evening I sent Mrs Stephen Fry herself a tweet saying how funny I’d found it. The next thing I knew ‘she’ had replied to me and re-tweeted it and my number of followers leapt by thirty in a matter of hours! Including a follow by Mrs Stephen Fry which I’m pleased about seeing as ‘she’ has over 71,000 followers and follows less than 3,000 ‘herself’. I feel ridiculous saying ‘her’ because I’m sure it’s not. And I’m so curious now as to whom it actually is. I’m delighted to have so many new followers though; I look forward to hearing from them all.

As some of you will have seen from facebook and twitter, I have a very quiet week ahead of me this week. My eldest daughter is in Portugal and my husband is away on a course. Rather delightfully this means I can eat what I want, watch what I want on TV, go to bed when I want, get up when I want and also spend hours and hours crafting my new manuscript – which is a thrilling thought. Lucky me!

Fareham book-signing

And the countdown begins….

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

I’m officially on a countdown! 9 days until publication and exactly two weeks until the launch party. It has suddenly occurred to me that I have no celebration arranged for the day that I finally become a published author. WHAT an oversight. I think it’s because actually, nothing will really be happening for me that day. I know the book will be released, but that’s like knowing that Boris Johnson is alive and out there somewhere – it’s interesting and terribly exciting but has little impact upon me. Unfortunately. I’d be more likely to organise a celebration if he were going to come along to it.

Yesterday was a VERY good day for me. I am still smiling this morning! The first good thing that happened was that I heard that ‘really enjoyed’ (and I quote) my book! This came as an absolutely massive relief to me; I’d been scared ever since I read a bad review on their site. It struck terror into my heart in case mine got the same treatment. They are entitled to post bad reviews obviously, this is a subjective thing, and in fact I would wish them to do so because it makes their reviews very genuine ones and therefore reliable. A book should get what it deserves. I’m just rather keen that mine deserves niceness for its first review, poor thing. But it seems that it will, as I heard via the veritable jungle of drums that is Twitter. Tweeting is a skill, I have learned. It’s like being involved in one massive conversation and you must learn where, when and how to interject and add your thoughts. I’m a bit annoyed with it at the moment though because people keep un-following me, and it won’t tell me who which is frustrating. It alerts me via email every time someone new follows me, but when tweeple (nauseating word but I’ve never used it before so I’m going to on this occasion) drift off, Twitter’s lips are sealed. I wouldn’t mind, but I just want to know WHY they un-followed. Did I annoy them? Offend? Irritate? Or did I simply manage to bore them away???? It’s a mystery to me.

The second piece of good news was that fifty copies of my book have been ordered THIS WEEK! Bearing in mind it was Tuesday when I got this news, which counts as early in the week in anybody’s view, AND this is pre-publication, it does sound promising. As ever I am hugely grateful to anyone who has made the effort to order it. It means a lot to a debut author! Plus by my reckoning I have access to approximately another one hundred people that I can coax/cajole/bribe and ultimately force into buying it. This not a mercenary outlook you understand (fat chance of that on royalties) but just to raise my profile a bit.

The guest list for my launch event is looking pretty healthy too. I’m pleased with progress so far. I’m managing a good balance between personal friends and more ‘professional’ attendees (not that my friends aren’t professional) plus some people are coming whom I haven’t seen in ages and I’m excited to see them again. Could I put in a small request at this stage: if anyone knows Boris, do invite him along?

This week was also supposed to bring a brand new experience to me (and there aren’t many of those left) but unfortunately it turned out not to in the end. I was meant to be doing my first ever radio interview. It was a very last minute thing, I had an email from my publishers in the morning saying that an author had let them down for an afternoon slot and could I possibly replace them? I won’t mention what the station was for reasons that will become apparent, suffice to say that it was fairly small and low-key and not one that I was especially concerned about impressing. Hence my immediate agreement to do the interview, despite not being prepared and never having done anything like this before. So a time was arranged, I was told the presenter would call me about ten minutes before to put my mind at ease and then I would be interviewed for approximately five minutes. Not a problem, I thought. So I disposed of my youngest child, reminded myself what my book is about and made sure stock answers were available to things I might be asked – name, age, career history, etc. etc. and settled back to wait. Unfortunately, perhaps twenty or so minutes before my call it occurred to me that maybe I should go online and have a listen to this particular radio station – so I did, which was a mistake. The music they were playing was – er – unique, shall we say, and I couldn’t stop laughing. If any of you have gone into an interview in fits of laughter you will know that this is just not a good look. Luckily they didn’t ring me for reasons unknown so I was saved any potential embarrassment/disaster.

Also in this week it is my husband’s birthday. I think he is twenty-seven……however I know it was a mistake to allow my youngest daughter to choose his wrapping paper. And then the day after that I am going to Winchester for the day. This is partly a promotional visit, and partly shoring up last minute plans for the launch event – about which I am very, VERY excited. My guest list is getting there, my outfit is sorted (minus shoes), my cut-out is ordered – I can’t remember if I have mentioned this? In case not – I’ve ordered a cardboard cut-out of just the figures from the front cover and it should be approximately ¾ of life-size. I’m not sure of its exact purpose but it seemed like a good gimmick to have.

So now it’s just final arrangements for the launch – two weeks today ladies and gentleman! I’d like to reiterate that it’s an open event, all are welcome. And any questions can be sent to me at or put up on my Facebook author page. On the note of questions, I’ve recently completed a Q&A sheet, which some of you may be interested in. It was compiled by me out of a list of the questions that I am most often asked – in my capacity as author, I hasten to add. It makes interesting reading and if you want an insight into my mind as a writer then keep an eye on my website, where it will be appearing shortly!