Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

The Big Book Launch Tour

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Just back from South Africa, where I took Balthasar’s Gift to four cities and got to celebrate its launch with a lot of special people in wonderful book shops around the country. I was also honoured at each event to have a great co-host join me on stage (or in comfortable arm-chairs and once, a red leather sofa) and ask me questions about crime fiction in general and Balthasar’s Gift in particular. I’ve been alone with this book for many years, so I was more than happy to talk and talk and talk. Many people bought books, so I was happy to also sign and sign and sign.

Much of it has melted into a happy blur, but here’s what I can remember from each launch:

Pietermaritzburg

The event was held at Cafe Tatham, a beautiful cafe adjacent to the city art gallery. High ceilings, wonderful purple walls. The book 10452881_10152201793812424_2697434667311636703_oarrived in the nick of time, thanks to bookseller extraordinaire Cheryl Naidoo who talked FedEx in from Durban. Friends and family poured in (including two school friends, and one school teacher of mine) and the cafe was soon full of people talking and drinking wine. I sat on the red sofa with Cheryl Stobie, who is a lecturer in English Literature at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (and my former Grade 6 teacher). She asked me if writing the book had turned me into a better version of myself (yes and no), which of the characters I would like to have dinner with (Aslan and Maggie), which parts of the book were hardest to write (scenes involving children; at this point I cried),  and the role of the journalist in society (observer versus activist).

Durban

On to Durbs, where my co-host was William Saunderson-Meyer, journalist, author of the much-syndicated Jaundiced Eye column 10446258_10152213847877424_6315109870788985504_oand crime fiction aficionado. The event was held at Adams Books in the Musgrave Centre, and manager Cedric Sissing gave us a lovely intro. The bookshop was packed – and I was touched again to see faces of school friends and people who I hadn’t seen for years. William and I talked about the role of crime fiction as a political reflection of society, my own political journey and how that was mirrored in the novel, how distance made it easier not harder for me to write the book and my route to publication. He wanted to know what the hell feminist crime fiction was and I attempted to explain. William put it out there that that the brandy-soaked Boer is a bit of a tired stereotype, and my riposte was that German audiences had no beef with Boer but were not crazy about the arts reporter.

 

Cape Town

Cape Town is special, even if I diss it a little in the novel. Special for me because I studied there and special because it is filled with some of my favourite people in the whole world. My co-host was the TV director and novelist Sam Wilson, who is awesome and also my cousin (no link between his awesomeness and our shared genes – he just is). Sam and I talked about Pietermaritzburg being a character in the novel, about how Maggie is a female James Bond, how I researched the AIDS topic and whether there is a book two10406458_10152530265159680_225241871486428441_n featuring Maggie (there is). We competed with the State of the Nation address, happening at the same time about 300 metres away in Parliament, and despite this, there was a goodly crowd. A couple of cops wandered in with their walkie-talkies on, adding an air of authenticity. The Book Lounge put on a fabulous spread – pity I didn’t get around to trying to their biltong, feta and rocket sandwiches. As with the other two events, we sold nearly all the books.

Joburg

The last event was in Johannesburg, held at Love Books in Melville. Like the Book Lounge and Adams, this is a wonderful shop, with thoughtfully chosen books and comfy armchairs where you could while away hours. The owner Kate Rogan gave us a lovely intro, and then my fellow Modjaji writer and author of the Trinity Luhabe series, Fiona Snyckers, asked some perceptive questions about Maggie and about the role of the journalist in society. It was a very cold, wintry Joburg evening and I was so touched and thrilled that so many people turned up. I saw colleagues from my Joburg working days, family (my children are quite bewildered by the number people with whom they share a gene pool) and friends new and old.

In between the four events, I also did a couple of press interviews, appeared live on radio twice and did some signings. The whole experience was amazing, and now I need to get working on Book Two so that I can go back and do it all again.

 

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Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

14 thoughts on “The Big Book Launch Tour

  1. That all sounds so awesome. The writer’s big homecoming and so many reunions. You don’t appear to have been in the least nervous, but rather swept along in a rush by everyone’s enthusiasm. I wonder how many times before your were published you dared let yourself imagine a scenario like that. It’s greatly inspiring to read about it and to see a fellow writer rewarded for all her hard work.

  2. Sarah, I didn’t dare to imagine it. However, the experience was lovely.

  3. Well-deserved success, Charlotte. How wonderful for you.

  4. It was really great to meet you after years of blogging friendship. And to see you enjoying the glow of success after years of work. I also enjoyed hearing you speaking so well about the writing process, your influences etc. I’m really looking forward to reading my copy (when childcare duties allow). And congrats on the Amazon step as well. :-)

  5. Lovely to be there and hear you read, meet Maggie, (who I love!) and hear more about the development of BG. Then to go home with my copy, hoard it like chocolate until the next evening and gobble it up in two greedy evenings. Maggie has definitely carved out her own niche in crime fiction and I’m looking forward to hearing more about her. No pressure! Well done for all your hard work, both writing and promoting BG and wishing you lots more success.

  6. Congrats! I’m living vicariously through you, and it’s just so exciting. I would really, really like a signed copy. How do I buy one?

  7. Congratulations! Looks like you had an awesome time, I hope there would be a French edition as well! Any chance of that?

  8. Pingback: Balthasar’s Gift well and truly launched | Modjaji Books

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