This past weekend proved to be a busy one, with events to attend on both Saturday and Sunday. First up was National Bookshop Day, where I had been asked to be a celebrity bookseller for the Younger Sun bookshop in Yarraville. I was only there for an hour, but what an exciting hour it was!
Stepping behind the counter, I immediately reverted to my retailing days, acting like it was my first shift as a new employee and I was duty-bound to work out exactly how the till operated as quickly as possible. Eventually I remembered that I was there in a capacity other than simply manning the register and started actually, y’know, talking to customers and mentioning the fact that, yes, that was my book stacked up on the counter.
The defining moment came when, while talking to a woman and not-so-subtly dropping the fact that I was the author of Vanguard Prime: Goldrush, the young man she was with turned in surprise and said “Really?!”
“Yep,” I replied, and I didn’t get the chance to say much more than that as he ran out of the store to go get his friend. Earlier in the day, the staff at the Younger Sun had set up a blackboard out the front where kids could write the names of their favourite books, and as it turned out the boy who had just fled the store had a friend who’d written down “VP: Goldrush” as his favourite book, without even realising that I was in the store!
When the two guys came back in and explained the story, I don’t know who was more excited – them or me! (actually, I do know. It was me). It was a thrilling moment in a very fun day, and I can’t think the staff at the Younger Sun enough for letting me come in and stuff up their transactions for them!
The next day, I headed out to Eltham Bookshop to participate in a Q&A led by Leanne Hall, the author of the beautiful and brilliant This is Shyness and Queen of the Night. Leanne had read Goldrush in advance of the event and made for a very enthusiastic interviewer – so much so that she actually brought along her own mask in a bid to get included in a future entry in the series!
That’s even more dedication than I’ve managed to muster up so far, having rejected all requests from my publisher to don a spandex costume in an effort to promote the book – trust me, that’s a sight nobody wants to see…least of all me!
I thoroughly expected only a few spare faces to turn up for the Eltham Bookshop Q&A, but store owner Meera is note to be underestimated in her ability to organise an event, with a good-sized crowd turning out to hear Leanne ask astute, articulate questions and for me to blather in response. Many thanks have to go out to Meera, Leanne, and the staff of the Eltham Bookshop for such a fun and successful event.
The next time I’ll be out and about will be at the Ballarat Writers’ Festival on September 1st. In the meantime, I’m chatting with other booksellers about some other possible events, and I’m also preparing for my television debut – more on that in the future!
‘Til next time.