Friday, June 7, 2013

AFCC Day Two: Emma's Elephant Book Launch

So day two of AFCC was upon us and it was the day of the official launch of Emma's Elephant. I ordered a chocolate cake and Emma kindly woke up at some unearthly hour to bake some brilliant biscuits for the launch. Thanks, Emma, they were GGGRREEEAATT!

Catherine Carvell hosting (Photo: Candy Gourlay)

Now this book launch was unlike my last one as I only had half an hour for the launch, including set up time. So I asked good friend and  future best-selling author Catherine Carvell (watch out for her book in 2014) to host the event as she did an unbelievable job at my last book launch. I also asked Emma Nicholson, another good friend and soon-to-be-published author, to read the story. She reads it a bazillion times better than I ever could.

Everything was set, or so I thought.  All I would have to do was sit back, relax and let Catherine and Emma do all the work. Smart plan, right? Well, Catherine caught on very quickly and she insisted I rehearse the interview questions at her place before the launch. Catherine's lovely and highly intelligent kids Sian and Thomas were drafted in to help. I used to get my niece and nephews to help with book promotions when they were little, but I can't do that now as they're in their teens and early twenties and have wised up to what I'm up to. More often than not they can be heard mumbling: "Uncle Dave, you're weird." 

Photo: Candy Gourlay
So following her command for a rehearsal, I headed to Catherine's place, where she had prepared a very lovely lunch of  scrumptious home-made pumpkin soup and sausage rolls. Yum!! Sian made me a very nice good luck bracelet charm. Thanks, Sian.

Emma, Enrico, me and Catherine (photo: Candy Gourlay)

Although I tried to procrastinate, Catherine insisted we get to work on my answers. The first of which she declared "Rubbish". I gave her a couple more answers to the questions; each time my answers were completely different, so Catherine had no idea of what I would actually say. Realising that rehearsing with me would be of no real help whatsoever, she focused on other things; she printed out some colouring sheets and planned some games just in case a whole bunch of kids turned up. Catherine is a genius at working under a great deal of stress and pressure. And if you haven't already guessed it her code name for me is:  STRESS and PRESSURE.

Emma's  gravity-defying biscuits

As we finished rehearsing,  the heavens opened up and it began pour.  Despite the heavy rain, we managed to find a cab and we all high-tailed it to the library. Emma met us there for a dry run. She originally planned on reading the whole story, but I asked her: 
"Who will buy the elephant milk if we give them the whole elephant?"  

So she agreed to read only half of the story. With that settled, I shoved a couple of her delicious biscuits down my fat face. Then Enrico, my long-suffering illustrator, turned up to run through his part for the launch, which was to doodle a couple of quick sketches. "No problem," Enrico said. But Enrico is so calm, cool and collected that he always says that even when there is an actual problem.

Shortly after, Mum and Dad arrived with the chocolate cake I had ordered.  Dad ultimately decided to skedaddle back home in case I said or did something embarrassing. Hey he's my dad he knows what I'm capable of, but Mum decided to risk it and stayed to help with serving the cake.

Emma and Ella the Elephant
As we were rehearsing, Thomas tapped me reassuringly on the forearm and said: "I know why you still live at home with your mummy and daddy." Sian clarified this to my mum when she told her: "He's like us!" What did she mean? I'm like an Australian?

Karen and Emma with Ella the Elephant (photo: Candy Gourlay)

The final member of the launch team Karen Quek joined us  as the puppeteer for Ella the Elephant and then we took to the stage.  Looking out to the audience, I saw Mum with an oh-no-what's-he-going -to-say look on her face. Tom and Wendy Orr were right next to her and Ken Spillman, Candy Gourlay, Ovidia Yu and Emily Lim were seated nearby. It's a great honor and privilege when best-selling authors whom you hold in great regard attend your book launch,  but it is highly nerve- wracking as well. What if I come across as a blithering idiot, I thought to myself. But when I accepted that was an inevitability, I relaxed somewhat. Thanks Wendy and Tom,  Candy (Great photos), Ovidia Yu, Karen Quek, Emily Lim, Corinne Robson, Vivian Kirkfield, Linda Lingard, Ken Spillman, Ray, Denise, Cheryle, Lynette, Sarah, Kristina, Ola, Michael and Auntie Susanna for your support.

And of course I have to thank  my launch team: Mum, Catherine, Emma, Karen, Enrico, Sian and Thomas.

With the book launch over, I headed back home with Mum to get ready for dinner at Jumbo Seafood with Wendy, Tom and the SCBWI Gang.

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