It’s the day of my official launch at Waterstones Dorking. And I’m nervous. The shop looks lovely. Canapes and champagne flutes have been arranged on a flower-decked table and the first cork has just popped. The room starts to fill with expectant people, all looking forward to the presentation of my debut novel, The Love Detective. My mouth feels suddenly dry. I look over at the glasses of fizz being handed around on a tray. Surely one can’t hurt? No, not a good plan, I decide. I take a long slug of water.
It’s time. The guests have taken their seats and Hayley, the store’s manageress is introducing me in her kind and gentle way. Now I’m centre stage. But I’m not alone. My lovely sister, Claire, an actor, is with me and together we will be reading extracts from the novel to friends, family and complete strangers. You’ve got this, I tell myself for the hundredth time…. and I can only hope that I have.
Twenty minutes in and it’s going well. People are laughing in all the right places and appear to be thoroughly gripped by the tense darker scenes. In fact, one lady is so immersed in the drama that she forgets that she’s still holding her champagne flute and it crashes to the floor. Everyone laughs and one of Hayley’s team, George, produces a dust-pan and brush. Claire and I continue and the evening flies by.
Then we’re off with the Q & A session, which is lively and spirited and crackles with energy.
The presentation comes to an end. Drinks are topped up and I can see Hayley busy at the till. Everyone has been so kind, and we completely sell out. As I sign the last copy, the realization hits me that now The Love Detective has a life of its own. Copies of my novel will be on bedside cabinets, open on tables besides mugs of tea, in handbags slung over the backs of chairs, and this thought is oddly surreal to me. But I’m so grateful. I’m grateful and I’m thrilled. Oh, and I’m thirsty. I make my way over to the drinks table. Right now a cold glass of fizz is exactly what I need!
Many thanks to Gem at White Crescent Photography for the lovely pictures.