I feel a bit like a book is a ship, the building of it takes so much labour, the structure engineered over and over, to make it watertight, to get it to float and then the leap of faith.
Off it goes, book.
Mother of Pearl was launched on Thursday 25 July on a wave of love, at my local bookshop, Brunswick Bound. With a welcome speech from my publisher at Transit Lounge Barry Scott, the official launch by Christos Tsiolkas, and a thank you speech from me to rival the Oscars, Mother of Pearl has set sail, slightly ahead of its official release date of 1 August.
I had a such a joyful time at the launch and after party, despite feeling uncharacteristically disorganised (how did I forget to bring a decent pen to my own launch party, when I’m the one always reminding other authors to do this!). I was thrilled and humbled to be in the company of so many people I love and admire, and to share the joy I feel at releasing this new book.
It was also special for me to have my daughter, to whom the book is dedicated, spend time beside me at the signing table.
Among the long list of people I wanted to thank were my jewellery-making consultants, Belinda Newick and Megg Minos. Beli brought along the perfect prop for the evening, a beautiful mother of pearl shell that features in the photo above right (image by Sarah Rey). Megg, who is also a writer, not only made the ‘evil eye signet ring’ that I’m wearing in the photo above left, but allowed me to use it in my novel Mother of Pearl, where it is designed by a character, fittingly, called Meg. The exquisite photo of the rings was taken by my friend Suzanne Phoenix, who–just as I was regretting the day after the launch that I hadn’t arranged for anyone to take photos–sent me an album of stunning pictures I don’t even remember her taking.
Christos spoke so beautifully about my work (and me!). My beloved partner, Andrew Nette, tended the bar. My father, brothers, cousins, in-laws came along. My mother couldn’t make the trip from NSW, but her older brother–my uncle–was there. There were school friends and former school teachers, family friends, friends from two stints at university, old friend and new friends, current and former work colleagues, and so many writer friends. You can see why I was feeling the love! As I noted in my speech,
Oscar Wilde once said, “Anybody can sympathize with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathize with a friend’s success.” The fact that you are all here, sympathising with my modest success, is a testament to your very fine nature. Either that, or my excellent taste in friends!
Thanks to everyone who came along to be part of the celebrations. Thanks, too, to all those who sent their good wishes, though they couldn’t make it on the night. I feel fortunate and grateful to be sending this, my fourth novel, out into the world.
And if you’re curious about the inspiration behind Mother of Pearl, visit author Amanda Curtin’s blog for my 2, 2 and 2 interview.