It’s my party and I’ll sign if I want to

It's my party and I'll sign if I want to. Photo: Ellie Marney

It’s my party and I’ll sign if I want to. Photo: Ellie Marney

I was reminded at the launch party for The Dying Beach of the inherent paradox in book launch parties: you invite all the people you love most in the world to come together in the same place at the same time, then spend all night sitting in the corner signing books while they all get to hang out and catch up.

But seriously, as the photos taken by Helen Morgan on the night capture perfectly, I was filled with joy having my family and friends join with me as I launched my third novel last Thursday night at Brunswick Bound in collaboration with Text Publishing.

Ang Rachel Mandy

With my publicist Rachel Shepheard & publisher Mandy Brett from Text Publishing. Photo: Helen Morgan

The Dying Beach was launched by Andrew Nette, both in his capacity as my partner, and also as a fellow crime writer (his Ghost Money has just been long-listed for a 2013 Ned Kelly Award) and co-editor of Crime Factory.

Andrew’s speech was the perfect balance between the personal and professional. Here’s what he had to say about Jayne Keeney PI and The Dying Beach:

Jayne [is] an accidental private investigator, drinker and smoker – believe me that’s no mean feat, given the size and gruesomeness of the health warnings on Thai cigarette packs. She’s an adrenaline junkie with a strong sense of social justice and an even stronger temper. As crime writer Leigh Rehead once said to me, ‘Jayne’s an all round great chick.’

Author Andrew Nette launches The Dying Beach. Photo: Helen Morgan

Author Andrew Nette launches The Dying Beach. Photo: Helen Morgan

…The Dying Beach takes Jayne in slightly darker territory than was the case in her first two books. She’s investigating a brutal murder amidst the murky world of corruption and environmental destruction in Thailand. Although it seldom makes the front page of the nation’s newspapers, it’s a story that is pretty commonplace in Thailand.

Andrew also spoke about The Dying Beach in the broader context of contemporary crime fiction in Australia:

Angela smiling

Listening to Andrew’s launch speech. Photo: Helen Morgan

As a result of many factors, not least of which is our small size population wise, I’ve always thought Australian culture runs on a very narrow gauge. There’s sameness to a lot of the cultural products we produce. In crime fiction, this means many of the books that come out have very standard plots and are very focused on the internal, personally or in terms of being very Australian-centric.

Although this is changing, a lot of Australian crime fiction doesn’t seem to engage in bigger social issues or places. A good example of that is how few crime fiction books are set in Asia, despite the fact that we live in the middle of the region and have a huge population of people who come from the region or have parents who come from the region.

Crowd scene 2

Friends and family listening to the launch speeches. Photo: Helen Morgan

The Dying Beach is very different book. It’s about two engaging characters, Jayne and Rajiv, and their struggle to forge a relationship amid cultural differences and the pressures of being outsiders in Thailand.

But it’s also got a lot to say about the destruction of Asia’s environment, the role that aid and development is playing in this, and the nature of corruption, here and in Asia.

It’s a great addition to what I hope is the growing canon of outward looking crime fiction in Australia.

Crowd scene 1

Friends and family listening to the launch speeches. Photo: Helen Morgan

Speaking as my partner, Andrew said:

I can personally vouch for the hard work and dedication Angela puts in…the hours spent writing at the end of a working day, when the last thing she wants to do is hit the keyboard…

She works incredibly hard to give readers an insight into what it’s like to live in Thailand, for foreigners and Thais, with all the blood, sweat, tears, beauty and – as is usually the case for expatriates – embarrassing social faux pas that this can entail.

Being reminded of the hard labour that goes into creating a novel — so easy to forget at the point of celebrating the outcome — made me appreciate the night all the more.

With my father Haydn Savage, to whom The Dying Beach is dedicated. Photo: Helen Morgan

With my father Haydn Savage: The Dying Beach is dedicated to him. Photo: Helen Morgan

As I said in my speech, it was highly appropriate that Andrew launched The Dying Beach, as this novel owes even more to him than my first two books: in addition to his practical and personal support, it was by reading the files he’d kept while working for a Thai environmental organisation in the 1990s that I came up with the plot.

Heartfelt thanks to everyone who came along to celebrate the launch of The Dying Beach — and to those I know would’ve liked to have been there but couldn’t.

I sincerely hope you all enjoy The Dying Beach.

Oh, and if you do, please consider leaving a review on Goodreads, Amazon, Google books, Apple iBooks, Kobo — or wherever the mood takes you.

About Angela Savage

Angela Savage is a Melbourne writer, who has lived and travelled extensively in Asia. She won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript, and the Scarlet Stiletto Award short story award. Her latest novel is, Mother of Pearl, published by Transit Lounge. Angela holds a PhD in Creative Writing, is former CEO of Writers Victoria, and currently works as CEO of Public Libraries Victoria.
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14 Responses to It’s my party and I’ll sign if I want to

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Angela – Oh, it sounds like a wonderful launch party! I am very happy for you that it went so well.. And…happiness is your partner giving a lovely speech for you. 🙂 Seriously, it all sounds terrific and I hope it’s the start of a whole lot of interest in Jayne Keeney.


  2. Kylie Fox says:

    Congratulations, Angela! Wish I could have been there to celebrate with you but please know that I was there in spirit cheering you and your new book-baby along. So pleased to hear that all went well and that Andrew did you proud. Can’t wait to read it!


    • angelasavage says:

      Kylie, you’re a gem! I totally had you there at the launch in spirit.

      And isn’t it funny how the pain of both childbirth and novel writing get forgotten when you get to hold the results in your hands 😉


  3. Nicvidot says:

    Angela, Congrats on book launch and of course the new book. I’m getting a copy to reconnect with a country which is my second home. So good to see you doing what gives you and your readers so much joy.

    Take care Nic and Elizabeth Vidot

    Nic Vidot

    Sent from my iPad


  4. humphrey hollins says:

    I have lived in cambodia for six years and there is so much happening there,especially involving australians.Crooked aussie cops, australian mafia identities, ex cops running NGOs for their own benefit driving $150,000 range rovers, holding bar patrons hostage, truth is always stranger than fiction.I usec to know a guy who bought his girlfriend for 12 k and then murdered her.


    • angelasavage says:

      Humphrey, you are right about truth being stranger than fiction. Not long after writing the short story that eventually grew into my second novel, The Half-Child, I came across a case in the Thai papers that bore a spooky resemblance to my ‘made up’ story.
      But Cambodia is in a class of its own, I reckon: so much happens in that country that you couldn’t get away with in fiction.


  5. kathy d. says:

    Congratulations, Angela, on your third book being launched. And what a terrific event. So good that Andrew spoke so highly of you and Jayne Keeney. Sounds great all around.
    Can’t wait to get my hands on The Dying Beach — and I will write reviews.


  6. kathy d. says:

    Also, by the way, you seem to have a family public relations business going on there — your partner is so supportive of your career and gave excellent comments about your writing and, of course, Jayne.
    Then your father is also helping to promote Jayne’s adventures.
    How wonderful you have both of them. I wonder when your young reader will also pitch in, or has she done so already? And, of course, there’s always the chance that she, too, will catch the writing bug.


    • angelasavage says:

      I caught my young reader half-way through the first chapter before I had to take it off her and explain that The Dying Beach is not a kids’ book!

      Lovely comment, Kathy. Thank you. I am fortunate not only to have a supportive family but also to live with another writer. It makes the work-life-art juggling act just that much easier.


  7. kathy d. says:

    That’s hilarious that your yourg reader was so excited about The Dying Beach that she had to dive right in. But of course. This must be very hard not to do.
    This reminds me of actors whose children are too young to see their movies.
    Oh, well, she probably has oodles of books to read until the year when she can read both parents’ books. But how tempting! It’s like having parents who are pastry chefs produce a fantastic chocolate cake and put it in the refrigerator — and the young ones can’t eat it!


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