It’s been a while since I was at a book event thanks to the bump making itself known via a tortuous medium called morning sickness. So I was only delighted to be invited to a book bloggers drinks reception as a pre-launch to Carmel Harrington’s fifth book The Things I Should Have Told You and know that I could go without puking on anyone’s head. Always a plus.
I doubt the Morrison Hotel, Dublin would appreciate such pregnancy related faux-pas. Neither, I presume would the other book bloggers. Unless of course they were parenting bloggers too, like me. Then they would TOTALLY understand.
It’s not often we get treated to such swankery I tell you. Book launches usually involve lots of standing around, some clapping and clutching at your half-filled wine glass. This was much more intimate. And involved COCKTAILS. See exhibit A.
There was a lovely atmosphere where we could sit and chat books, writing, media and the hot topic of the evening – grammar.This is what goes down at book blogger events peeps – how far it too far when it comes to being a grammar Nazi? Public shaming? Sniggering? Sackable offence?
The intimate nature of the evening meant that we could all at some point have a one-to-one with Carmel and I thought it was a lovely way to get behind the book, to understand the thoughts of the writer and to get into the story. Carmel told us about her father arriving home in a camper van when they were children and the whole family piling in, grabbing milk cartons and sambos as they fled the kitchen and hit the road. Her work in the airline industry too led to her thirst for travel and writing a road trip story, especially one involving a camper van has always been on her mind.
This is Carmel’s fifth book. She told us the interesting background to getting into the publishing industry, from having writing as a vague dream, to starting her family and realising, when her daughter was tiny and sleeping, that she wanted to leave something, an achievement, behind.
“My manuscript was sticking out from under the bed,” she told us. “Just lying there. And my daughter was starfished in the cot. I looked at my daughter and I thought, you can achieve anything you want in the world, I want you to reach all your goals and your dreams and then I thought – what about my dreams? What sort of example am I setting? So I went into my husband and I told him I needed to speak with him and I sat him down and I told him I was going to publish my book.”
This pivotal moment was the start of Carmel’s publication dream coming true, from self-publishing to picking up an agent, to being published by HarperCollins and then securing a worldwide deal.
Carmel is a natural story teller. She had us hooked with her tales and animations as she spoke – it’s easy to see how getting her words down on paper had led her to being a best-selling author. For aspiring authors like myself and Claire Kane (visit her blog Claire by Reverie, a finalist in the Littlewoods Blog Awards this year in Books & Literature, I only made the shortlist, sob!) she really was an inspiration and it ensured a warm, supportive and exciting evening.
Also at the pre-launch was the ever entertaining Margaret Madden of Bleach House Library fame, Bibi Baskin who initiated a wonderful conversation on living and visiting different cultures thanks to her Indian experiences. Paul Dunphy who told us of his experiences visiting and working in African countries, Sophie Grenham from the Gloss magazine and Woman’s Way magazine editor Aine Toner.
Despite my impending mother to be state, I was of course, the last to leave as always, but only because it was really fun, enjoyable and well you know… I don’t get out much anymore.
Signed book giveaway
The Things I Should Have Told You goes on sale this week and will be available in all good books shops and on Amazon. I have a signed copy to give away to one of LadyNicci’s fine readers. You can enter by:
- Commenting on this blog post
- Liking my Facebook page and commenting on the post there
- Liking me on Twitter and retweeting the pinned post there
Competition closes at 5pm on Sunday 18th September and winner will be chosen at random and announced on LadyNicci social channels and in the comments on this post. Competition is open internationally. Good luck.
With thanks to Mary from Harper Collins Ireland for looking after us so well. There were cocktails, prosecco AND sandwiches. #winning