My second book, ‘Grace-Ella: Witch Camp’, published a little over a month ago. It has been a wonderfully magical month so I thought I would share some of the highlights…
The book launch for ‘Witch Camp’ was on the 28th of September at Waterstones, Aberystwyth. In the days leading up to the launch, I was a bundle of nerves and worries – What if no one turns up? What if no one buys the book? What if my anxiety gets the better of me and I can’t do a reading?
My wobbly worries were far worse with this launch than with my first book. I’m a perfectionist, my own worst critic. I constantly fear letting people down. I was afraid of letting my family and my publishers down.
My first book launch happened 6 months after I lost my little boy, Ned. I was on a huge amount of medication at the time and I felt disconnected to it all. When I think back to that day, it’s like I’m watching someone else. There was a huge crowd at my first launch, the signing queue snaked through the shop and out into the street. It was so very surreal but what grounded me that day was Dad standing close by, a quiet, settling presence in his red coat. I drew strength from knowing that he was there and that he was proud of me.
I lost my dad suddenly on Easter Saturday, 2017, a year after losing Ned. His reassuring presence wouldn’t be at my second book launch.
(Book launch for ‘Grace-Ella: Spells for Beginners’, September, 2016)
At 2pm on the day of my second book launch, the children’s section of the shop was bustling. I was touched that so many had come to support me. As I stood in the shop, reading a chapter from ‘Witch Camp’, I kept seeing flashes of red and my mind filled with Dad in his red coat. I stumbled over words, but I did it. I read to the end of the chapter.
And then it was book signing whilst everyone enjoyed cake and a chat. It was lovely. Really lovely. So I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who came – my family, friends and everyone else; you made a difficult day sparkle.
The official publication date for my book was the 30th of September. My publishers told me that it had been selected by the Books Council of Wales to be ‘Children’s Book of the Month’ for October. I was absolutely thrilled!
Not only that, it was their number one best seller for September too!
I couldn’t have wished for a more magical start. During October, I’ve had the opportunity to meet lots of young Grace-Ella fans – at Ysgol Gymraeg, Aberystwyth, Aberystwyth Town Library and Aberaeron Book Festival. It is such a wonderful feeling to see children reading my books and telling me how much they enjoy them. This is why I write for children. There is nothing more magical than seeing that sparkle in a child’s eye and the smile on their face as they talk about my stories.
And there we have it, my magical month. It’s been a whirlwind and a rollercoaster of emotions. Thank you to everyone who has supported me and my book, both online and in ‘real life’. Thank you to my family for supporting me on this journey and my closest friends for picking me up, not giving up on me and for accepting me as I am. Thank you so much to my publishers, Firefly Press, for believing in me.
You all keep me going and keep me chasing my dream. Writing my stories is a lifeline for me and to see my books out there on shelves, being read and enjoyed by children is therapy to my soul.
So what’s in store for this month?
Finish writing ‘Grace-Ella: Book 3’…