Hello, how was your week? Mine was extremely busy! I had the book launch for JOANNA, of course, and I’ll tell you about that in a minute. First, I will tell you about the animals (because they were quite high impact this week).
Do you remember me telling you that the ducks had nested in random places hidden around the pond? Well, last Sunday, when I went up to feed them, there was a mother on the bank, completely traumatised, with 5 ducklings and a ring of cats. I had told myself, that if the ducks chose to nest in weird places, I would let nature take its course, and they could take their chances with all the predators. When it came to it, there was no way I could let 5 ducklings be eaten if I could help. So I called husband, told Mum (who had arrived for a relaxing Mother’s Day lunch) that dinner would be late, and we attempted to catch them. Never easy. I grabbed the cats, one of which was angry when he realised I was heading for the workshop, and who stuck out his claws. (Which meant when I got to the book launch I had big scratches down both arms.)
Anyway, we managed to catch all 5 ducklings AND the mother, which was brilliant. They’re all now safely in the aviary until they’re big enough to survive on the pond.
On the day of the book launch, my daughter kindly came home to help. She wanted to see the ducklings, so went up to the pond. For some reason, when the chickens saw her, they freaked. Perhaps they’ve forgotten her – they’re not the most intelligent of animals. Anyway, all 8 chickens scattered – some flying into trees, some running into their cage, and one cockerel headed onto the bank of the pond, paused for a second, spotted the island in the middle of the pond, and decided to fly to it. Cockerels are not great at flying a distance. He got about half way, then crashed, loudly, into the pond. Great. I assume chickens can’t swim, so prepared to wade into the muddy water (this was not what I was hoping to be doing an hour before my book launch). However, he managed to use his wings like oars, and to propel himself, getting ever lower in the water, up to the island. He hauled himself up and stood there, completely bedraggled, making “I don’t know what to do now” noises.
I decided he could stay there for the night, and went to get everything ready for the evening. When I went up to the pond later, he saw me and decided he could now fly back to the bank. He couldn’t. He again landed in the pond, but managed to clamber onto an over-hanging bush. I waded out, picked him up and shoved him into the cage for the night. Stupid bird! He did look completely forlorn, dripping wet on his perch. (He was fine by the next day, in case you’re wondering).
The book launch went well. I will add a section to the bottom of the “how to publish a book” page on the main blog, explaining what I did, and how the costs worked out. My family were brilliant, helping me set up the hall and serving drinks and selling books. About 60 people came, which was a relief (I was terrified it would just be me and my Mum!) I fed them wine and cupcakes, and did a short talk about why I wrote JOANNA.
I explained that we are all influenced by our family, and I wanted to show how having a psychopath in the family affects everyone else. I told them that part of the book is written in the first person, so the reader sees the world through Joanna’s eyes, they will see what motivates a psychopath, how she thinks and feels. The rest of the book shows how those around her cope with living with her, loving her, being hurt by her. The story examines the idea of choices and forgiveness, and what those things actually mean.
There was one funny moment, when a man walked in, marched purposefully through the group of people chatting, and then went and stood still, staring at a wall. I suggested Husband should check he was okay. Apparently, he had come to see the art exhibition that was advertised outside!
I managed to sell lots of books, which was wonderful. Chloe Hughes, the brilliant young photographer who did the cover photo for me, was there, so it was nice for people to meet her too. She’s very talented. (Even if people don’t like the book, they should buy it just to own a Chloe Hughes photo – she’ll be famous one day!) Now I’m hoping everyone loves the story, and tells their friends and neighbours about it. Nothing sells books like other people talking about it, so I hope they do. (I am not very ‘laid back’ about sales. Whenever an Amazon order comes through, I get very excited and walk around smiling! Honestly, every single time. It is so exciting!)
Thanks for reading. If you would like to buy your own copy of JOANNA, the link is below.