Launching Shine

The custard creams made all the difference. They and the Coke. Halfway through the launch party for Candy Gourlay’s new book Shine, I was overcome by an urge to liberate ‘a few’ custard creams. They were looking lonely, sitting on a table at Archway Library. That sugar rush kept me going all night, more or less.

Archway Library

I arrived just in time for The Three Hundred Word Challenge. Candy read out as many entries as there was time for, and her collected authors pitched in with their thoughts. The advice was good. The fledgling stories were even better. It’s reassuring to find that young people still want to write, and that they know how.

Teri Terry, Candy Gourlay and Jane McLoughlin

While this was going on in front of an audience so numerous they ran out of chairs, people went about their business in the library, and there was a nice mix of festival special and ordinary library behaviour. (It was the first day of the first Archway With Words Festival.) The authors couldn’t always agree on their advice, which should go a long way to proving that there is no one correct way to write. (I thought they were going to come to blows. Which would have been exciting.)

Random's Clare, Simon Mason, Philippa Dickinson and Keren David

Once it was time for the launch proper, I had a job recognising people without the customary name badges. I managed some. I was discovered in my corner by Random’s Clare, who was almost on her own doorstep for this event.

There were speeches. MDs Philippa Dickinson and Simon Mason came. David Fickling, on the other hand, did not. Replacing him, Philippa and Bella Pearson spoke, but they couldn’t quite manage David’s voice, so Candy had to help out.

Candy Gourlay with Philippa Dickinson and Bella Pearson

In her own speech, Candy told us of the long hard slog to get there. What’s three years between friends? Bella went on maternity leave, and came back. Candy said nice things about her editor Simon, even after he told her that her first attempt was no repair job.

Candy’s daughter Mia and friends sang a cappella. Absolutely lovely.

Candy Gourlay at Archway Library

Dave Cousins

We mingled. There were more authors than you could shake a stick at. (Not that I’d want to, I hasten to add.) Fiona Dunbar and I met where we always seem to meet. I met several facebook friends for real. (They exist!) Teri Terry was surrounded by young fans. Dave Cousins came.I recognised Jane McLoughlin but took ages to work out who she was. Missed Joe Friedman. Ruth Eastham was over from Italy, which was very nice. She introduced me to Sarah Mussi, whose book I just ‘happened’ to be reading, so I hauled it out for an autograph. (Very scary. The book. Not so much Sarah.)

Sarah McIntyre

The other Sarah (McIntyre) also ended up signing stuff, although not for me. Keren David said hello, and then goodbye. I chatted to Inbali Iserles and Savita Kalhan. I spoke to people I have emailed with, and to people I haven’t. Sam Hepburn.

Steve Hartley

And then Mr Gourlay went round saying it was time to go home. So we did. To the Gourley home, where the eldest junior Gourlay was looking after food and drink. There was a lot of it.

The Gourlays

They have the loveliest of gardens! Admittedly it was dark, but it was all lit up and the evening was balmy, and there was somewhere to sit. Not the trampoline for me. Spoke to DFB basement man Simon, and the kind Tilda who once bought me a sandwich. At some point I had to admit to a fondness for the Circle Line. (Yeah, well.)

The wine flowed (the recycling men were most impressed with the bottle collection the next morning) and there was cheese beginning with the letter c, and for the carnivores pork sausages on the barbecue, very ably operated by Mr G.

It was dark. As I said. So I gave up on the camera and simply enjoyed, which is why there are no scandalous shots of anyone. I think the man who hugged me before he left long past midnight might have been Cliff McNish, despite him being underwhelmed by my drinking.

Recommended crime to beautiful blonde, who was impressed with my recent meeting with Colin Bateman… When it got too cold we repaired to the inner regions. In the end most people went home, and Candy was left with a mere five houseguests. Eldest son politely gave up his bed for an old witch, and was banished to his godmother’s ‘vomiting room.’

In the morning I got up long after the six o’clock taxi guest had departed, and people had dispersed to school and jobs and things. I met my brand newest facebook friend (less than 24 hours) in her pyjamas. And then Candy made us breakfast and we gossiped about the great and the famous.

But I had a noon train to catch, so shouldered my nightie and toothbrush and walked up the hill to the tube station hidden in mist. Once I got to Euston I encountered the Poet Laureate on the escalators, going the opposite way. Bought some treats for the Resident IT Consultant to celebrate our first 31 years, and hopped on my train.

Tired library visitor

(I know how that doll feels.)

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16 responses to “Launching Shine

  1. That’s a great report … you managed to remember everything! Thanks to everyone who came! I hope you had a happy 31st!

  2. Oh, wish we’d met! A great report. And you’re right, we authors should have come to blows. I tried to organise a tag team bout but we couldn’t even agree with on who to pair up with for the fisticuffs! Such a wonderful series of events, all in one lovely library.

  3. Ah, for Janeymac, read Jane McLoughlin! Didn’t realise I was incognito on WordPress…

  4. Jane, you weren’t incognito to me. And on Monday you were with the cool kids outside, smo.., oops, chatting in the corner. And you never stopped.

  5. It went on till past midnight! *Cries*

  6. One, that’s all…and the cool kids made me do it! No, I never stopped chatting, but I can be be interrupted, believe it or not! Next time…

  7. Yes, Fiona. Why did you leave so early? (Considering others had no consideration and didn’t leave at all.) It got more intimate… Except that apart from me they were all so dru… tipsy they won’t remember, or realise that I have simply made things up.

  8. I am deeply deeply jealous that I missed all this. Candy, please bring out another book and give me the launch date long in advance! If the teleporter is still not working, I will buy a plane ticket. Please also be sure you invite the Witch again!

  9. It will be in 2015. Or maybe even 2016. Candy will never invite me again, and you’ll be glad she didn’t.

  10. yes, we wanted to be there… I vote for a summer launch date for your next book….it will make our travel plans much easier!!!

  11. Lovely to catch up with all these exciting goings on! Happy Anniversary too! Belatedly!

  12. what a wonderful afternoon and evening watching Candy in action,she never ceases to amaze me .Such a charismatic woman full of smiles and sincerity .
    Shine on Candy !

  13. Pingback: Författare och bussar | Bookwitch på svenska

  14. I think pyjamas are becoming a bit of a thing for you.

  15. It is easy to become obsessed.

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