Meet the author in the living room of her home town3
November 21, 2012 by astraltravels
Well, what do ya know? I’m heading back to home turf this weekend, and while I’m there I have my first author event for this book.
I’m a little nervous as this is the first time that I’ll have been on home soil as an ‘author’. Add to that the pressure of at least 20 members of the extended whanau, and the absolute realisation that this book is no longer just a folder of files on my laptop. It is real, it is out there and it is RRP$25, available at all good booksellers nationwide!
The rather lovely aspect about this, is that the event will be held at Bruce MacKenzie Booksellers, which is without a doubt a favourite haunt whenever I venture ‘home’ (not to mention that members of my immediate family often have to schedule in times over the last few days before Christmas when we can get to the store & buy up our Christmas gifts without being sprung by whomever we’re buying for).
The bookstore is a lovely space, quite intimate, and I do wonder how it will cope with my rambling bunch of family and friends, but then I remember that the store is tucked in underneath the Palmerston North City Library, and so all should be well.
The PNCL is a thinking person’s retreat in a city of commercial and agricultural daily comings and goings, and a space where I have spent many a daydream and many a researching hour. It is an architecturally-awarded building that provides an area of light and air and somehow makes you feel inspired to search, and then settle with your chosen books.
It is nicknamed ‘The Living Room of the City’, and as if a testament to that, I’ll recount the last time I visited the library, in late December 2011, just a few days after Christmas.
It was a few days before I was due to hit the road for the return trip to Auckland and I knew I had some hard yards of GKF research to do. I find the PNCL actually more ‘friendly’ than the main Auckland libraries I go to, so I wanted to make use of my time.
I scoped out a working space best for my needs (away from the teenagers, texting and giggling, and very far removed from the sniffing and rustling of the man who seemed to be all over the Horticultural section).
I found my ideal space – near a window, but not one with a distracting view. I settled down for a few hours before my lunch-date with an old friend.
Let me say that this was not just some random old friend, but the wonderfully smart, vivacious and genuinely lovely Angela Meyer, an old school friend who was at that moment writing her last few chapters of her very first best-selling book, Sea Fever – From first date to first mate.
Ange — who had walked to primary school with me, from our very first day until we were nine, and had been like a sister to me for decades — had a few questions about how this whole book publishing thing worked. Seeing as I had been there (as an author, as a publicist and as an editor), she wanted a bit of reassurance that she was on the right track. She was, she just needed to hear it.
While we were delighting in coffee, tasty French pastries and each other’s company (not to mention the fact that we were both published authors), we were rather amused to see our old buddy Sean having lunch at the very same café, in the very same Palmerston North City Library precinct.
Sean is a talented musician and wordsmith in his own right, he writes for Farmer’s Weekly, and in the New Zealand music world he goes by the nom de plume of Joe Blossom.
Why am I telling you all of this? Here’s the key: Sean, Ange and I had been in the same English class from fifth to seventh form.
I’m mentioning this simply because I think it is perfectly wonderful that ‘The Living Room of the City’ was the place that a convergence of three wordsmiths found themselves on a hot summer’s day in a city that is known for heartland rugby, agriculture and not much else. I wondered how much of ‘pleased-as-punch’ our seventh form English teacher would have exhibited if she had seen us that day. (Possibly not a great deal; Mrs Ward was not known for fanning the ego’s fires too much.)
When I got back to my favoured spot in the library, someone was playing the grand piano in the foyer. The music surrounded me and spurred me on to write a few lines of what would become part of Chapter Six.
If you happen to be in Palmerston North on Sunday, November 25th, I’d love to meet you at Bruce MacKenzie’s bookshop at 11am.
[…] think it was my fifth form history class that I first spent hours at the Palmerston North City Library coming to grips with trawling through old newspapers as recorded in miniature on flimsy bits of […]
Fantastic Astral, i’m ooking forward to having a read!
Thanks Rob! I learnt a great deal in writing this book, but the biggest lesson was that history can be fun. I wish I’d known that in SPC days!