Almost 6 o’clock and I looked around anxiously. The wine glasses were being arranged. Delicious snacks were appearing on the tables. Exclusive books in Cavendish had paved the way for Under the African Sun’s arrival on our shores…what if no one pitched?
I remembered my yoga breathing routine and just as I was counting to six, the first friends appeared. I hadn’t finished hugging, when the next ones breezed in and then the next. The room filled up and my nephew prepared his equipment. Family and friends arranged platters of snacks and wine glasses glinted in the soft light. Exclusives own Linda McCullough, held the space magically.
And then it began. I was being interviewed by the awesome Dr Jo-Anne Richards and my throat dried up just as I attempted to answer the first question. I looked into the audience and hoped for divine inspiration. And it came. My nerves dissolved (mostly anyway) as friendly, supportive eyes returned my gaze. These were my family, friends, fellow writers and ex-pupils. They knew all about my ditzy moments and forgave me when my brain turned to mash potato. I was talking to them. Some of my nearest and dearest even knew a few embarrassing secrets about me and I trusted them not to spill the beans. I was in the safest space I could possibly wish for!
Askii, the honorary guide dog in the audience, held my gaze and wagged his tail. The words came gushing out. Jo-Anne guided me, kept me on track and even managed to coax a laugh or two. By the time she invited questions from the floor, I was on a roll. Signing copies for everyone was up next and each time I lifted my head there was another friend smiling. Cameras rolled and books flew off the shelves. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the stunning Under the African Sun cake disappearing rapidly and I called for the last piece.
There was talking and laughing and just so much love in the room. My dream had come true. The launch was exactly what I had prayed for. So if you’re considering one…just do it, especially if you also happen to have awesome friends in your life !