I’ve done a few intimidating things in my life: I’ve been circled by a tiger shark while diving the Great Barrier Reef; I’ve hitchhiked through the Karoo desert without any water; I’ve even stood in front of a dart board while my older brother threw darts and tried to ring them around my head.
But I’ve never done anything quite so intimidating as speak at my own first book launch.
At A Different Drummer Books in Burlington, Ontario, some 80 people crowded into this beautiful bookshop and took part in what actually turned out to be just a wonderful night. There was a great mix of family, friends and strangers having a good time, and everyone seemed excited about being part of bringing something new to life in the store. I signed my first book – a big moment for me personally – followed by a hundred and nineteen more. What did I write in them? I have no idea.
Now, admittedly, once I got going I was okay, but the lead up was a killer. My long-time friend, Phil Hebert, kicked things off and instead of taking a series of (admittedly well deserved) shots at me, he went and said some of the nicest things I’ve heard in a long time. This, of course, ruined my planned response, which was filled with anecdotes designed carve him up into little pieces in return – which is the established nature of our friendship. And so when he painted me as a dedicated, passionate guy who’s been chasing publication for years, it threw me entirely. So much so I just clean forgot to say a thing about him. Poor, poor form indeed. (I feel awful about this, but some part of me thinks perhaps this was his evil-genius plan all along.)
One of the highlights was a video sent over by my editor, the always affable Mr. Emlyn Rees, which brought the house down with the sting in its tail. (Click here.) As I’ve said before: a natural in front of the camera, Mr. Rees may be wasted in the writing game…
The night was also a good one for the bookseller himself, unloading copies steadily throughout the hour-and-a-half launch and smiling all the way through it. We supplied coffee, mini cupcakes and The Clearing bookmarks – all of which were swilled, gobbled and snatched up with enthusiasm… I’m not sure it could have gone much better.
I’d like to thank Ian from A Different Drummer for hosting us, George for all his lens-work, Phil for his kind and unmet words, and my wife, Laura, for all her hard work in making this night the huge success that it was.