I’m absolutely delighted to be hosting a guest post all about publication day for Fir for Luck by Barbara Henderson. I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced reader copy of Fir for Luck and I loved it. You can read my review here.
Fir for Luck
Would you be brave enough to fight back?
When 12-year-old Janet’s village is under threat– she decides to take action.
It’s a split-second decision that could cost her everything: her home, her family – even her life.
Can Janet save her village from being wiped out? Or will her family and friends be forced from their homes to face an uncertain future?
Based on real life events, Fir for Luck is a tale of the brutal Highland Clearances, when land owners cared more about sheep than people.
Publication Day, school launch and public launch.
A diary of 36 hours
A Guest Post by Barbara Henderson
WEDNESDAY 21st September. PUBLICATION DAY
5.30 am I readily admit; I didn’t sleep all that well the night before my publication day. It isn’t a threatening situation, really – I’ve been into the local primary school many times as a volunteer, and I know a lot of the children who will attend my launch event this afternoon.
5.45 am Get up! My 16-year-old daughter has her paper round that morning, so getting up with her is part of my routine anyway. No matter the lack of sleep – adrenaline is just as good! A quick settle down with my cuppa at the table, a prayer for the day, a quick read, and I am set to go! The sun is just peeking above the horizon above the school building in which, just six hours later, I will launch my book!
8.00 am I shower and get into my book launch dress – a half-price tweedy bargain – and my tartan docs – I know the occasion may demand something more glam, but I want to feel myself. I stagger to school with two boxes of books. On the way, I pick up my fi-sprig necklace, made by a local social enterprise called Libertie.
10.45 am Running down the hill a wee while later to the River Ness Premier Inn where Helen and Anne from Cranachan are staying, I’m relishing the sunshine. My book is now officially available to buy. I am a published novelist, for the first time in my life. This is the morning I’ve waited for. Years of closet writing, then submitting and being rejected – for this! I feel just about ready.
12.00 noon Sitting in Velocity, my favourite café in Inverness where a lot of Fir for Luck was actually written, chatting through plans for the launch with Anne and Helen. An email pings in from the BBC to say the lunchtime news bulletin will feature an extract from my interview and cover the book release. We pack up and walk to my house where BBC Radio Scotland is blaring out already – my husband saw the email too.
12.30 pm So special to listen to the radio news item on the book, in my messy kitchen with my husband and the publishers, and doubly grateful that the BBC website also features an on-line article on Fir for Luck.
13.30 pm At school setting up for the launch event. Children have pre-ordered, and I bring another eight copies, all of which are sold immediately. We play the trailer on the big screen (it buffers a bit, which is a shame!), I show a quick power-point about the journey from idea to publication and then, for the first time in all my life, I sign books! The barrage of questions from the super-enthusiastic audience means I don’t have time to sign everyone’s books – I need to go in again next week!
15.30 pm You wouldn’t think it, but my usual Wednesday routine kicks in at this point: I pick up piano music for the oldest, drop her at lessons and head to a supermarket to do the weekly family food shop. Yes, that’s how glam my life is!
17.00pm -21.00 pm Piano pick-up is followed by basketball pick-up, making dinner and then printing some display photos for the Waterstones launch the following night. I’m glad to slouch on the couch for Bake-off ; a family fave.
THURSDAY 22nd September, PUBLIC LAUNCH DAY
5.45 am – paper round. You guessed it.
8.30-11.30 am The usual, plus I compose the captions for the display pics and glue them into place – quite a therapeutic morning of literally cutting and pasting – with my hands! The kids are off school and come and go, friends in tow.
12.00 noon lunch with Helen from Cranachan at Eden Court Theatre’s café. We have a chance to chat, and to run through possible questions for the launch.
13.00 pm Anne who is working at a local school today, texts: Fir For Luck is showing as #1 in Amazon ranking for its category. My stomach plummets, but my heart does a dance of disbelief!
16.30 pm Dressed and ready to go, dragging displays and gigantic fir branch with me towards the Eastgate shopping centre where the launch will take place.
17.30 pm People begin to trickle in.
17.45 pm more and more people arrive. Are we going to have enough room?
18.00 pm The launch should begin, but we’re pushed for space and can’t fit everyone in. Thank goodness there are microphones!
18.05 pm.We cut our losses and get started. A brief Q&A is followed by a short reading, more questions and then a slightly longer reading. I’m actually loving the chance to bring some of my characters to life and almost forget I’m chatting to an audience of over 100. They’re on my side anyway, clapping encouragingly at the end.
18.35-19.35 pm A blur of smiles and hugs and book signings and sales. Every book goes, 75 of them! My five complimentary author copies disappear to the Waterstones tills, too. The book I read aloud from vanishes, and still they ask. I’m told it’s a great problem to have, but I feel terrible that there are people who have queued for almost an hour and have to go away with nothing.
20.00 pm Get a chance to look at emails, Twitter, Facebook etc. Amazon ranking is #1 still; unbelievable! I decide to take time out, watching a Merlin DVD with the family while having Domino’s Pizza and the bubbly I received for the book launch! Social media can wait till after the news.
23.00 pm Final social media flurry of the day before collapsing, gratefully, into bed. So far, so very excellent – I couldn’t have asked for better, busier, happier launch events. And now we wait…
What a fantastic couple of days Barbara. Thanks so much for sharing this with us.
About Barbara Henderson
Barbara Henderson has lived in Scotland since 1991, somehow acquiring an MA in English Language and Literature, a husband, three children and a shaggy dog along the way. Having tried her hand at working as a puppeteer, relief librarian and receptionist, she now teaches Drama part-time at secondary school.
Writing predominantly for children, Barbara won the Nairn Festival Short Story Competition in 2012, the Creative Scotland Easter Monologue Competition in 2013 and was one of three writers shortlisted for the Kelpies Prize 2013. In 2015, wins include the US-based Pockets Magazine Fiction Contest and the Ballantrae Smuggler’s Story Competition.
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