Don't let anyone ever tell you that the life of an author is easy. There is very little time to sit about and contemplate your navel - no time to dream away a warm afternoon thinking about what to wear for the launch party - and definitely not a minute to spare to go to the gym so that the body is toned so that the new dress will fit! Telephone calls, missing books. Fire eaters who might or might not turn up. Didgeridoo players with asthma. You couldn't make it up. Did I want sandwiches, canapes or a four course dinner? Are there vegetarians or vegans expected? Will everyone really need a bottle of wine per person - or can we get away with less? My head is spinning, my inbox is overloaded - I know how it feels - and all in all I wish I hadn't started this. But it's too late now, the party is a week away and the steamroller that is the organisation is way out of my control! Who said a book launch was a doddle - it certainly isn't in my book. That was a pun, sorry, but the brain is in overload. A launch should be simple, and usually is. A group of people are invited to come and drink cheap plonk and eat soggy sandwiches or stodgy sausage rolls while they stand about talking nonsense, or trying to outdo each other in one-upmanship. This usually happens in a back room of a restaurant - can't have authors making a show of themselves - the middle of a very busy book shop where the customers stand about open-mouthed wondering what all the noise is about - most writers seem to be able to make a great deal of noise, must be all the time we sit in silence, so that when we get the chance we rabbit on and on! I decided long ago that if I'm going to invite people to a party, then give them a party, and so of course that means having to sort one out. I've had dancers to do a cabaret, even him indoors sang for the karaoke we had one year - he and his son did a dodgy version of House of the Rising Sun - but we prefer not to discuss it. I've had mad DJs yelling and dancing and generally overacting, with music so loud the ears are still throbbing six hours after it's all over, school bands which were brilliant and discos that brought back all the lovely memories of those days when the feet didn't hurt, the head didn't throb and the skirts could be as small as pelmets over a tight little bottom. Days long past, unfortunately. Anyway, to move on to this year's bash. I decided that because this is the first part of a trilogy, and because I have a lovely new publisher and a fantastic couple of editors, I would really push the boat out.
Now the first thing is the venue. A lovely hotel in the heart of the Sussex countryside, with antique houses leaning about on all sides, an ancient church and a river running through. Perfect. Books are an integral part of the launch, goes without saying. We very nearly went without - but after a fraught three weeks and far too many telephone calls, glasses of gin and tonic and a promise of a heartattack, we have the books ordered with a promise they will arrive on time. Entertainment. It's the longest day of the year, so why not have fire dancers to bring in the sunset? With the sound of the didge and the drum in the background, it should be awesome. Music? They don't have their own music. Sound system at hotel? No. Oh, Gawd, I give up. I'm off to the pub for a drink, him indoors has just come home and I'm in need of G&T and TLC> Bye.