October 2016

If the month of September was hectic, then October has been even more so. But on a positive note, the book launch is behind me now and it’s a matter of promoting and sharing it across the coast. It is in stock with all eleven of the independent bookshops and the initial promo has gone into the Buderim Chronicle. Now to extend it further by talking to radio stations, more newspapers and magazines. I’m still in that current I mentioned in last month’s news and still swimming madly to keep my head above water.

The launch was not as daunting as I had anticipated. My main worry was if I would get enough people coming along to fill the hall I had hired, but we surely did and it was the most sociable afternoon. The three parliamentarians I had invited all came and gave a short speech about their feelings about living on the coast. Surely that indicates what a special place we live in and how we cherish it.

On a mundane note, my strongest impression of the afternoon – are men getting bigger or am I shrinking? When I was a child, I was always the tallest in the class and I wanted to be small and petite, now I am getting shorter and I don’t like it at all. So many congratulatory hugs made me very aware that I now have to look up to meet most men face to face.

The next morning I was up at 5:30 to revamp the presentation I gave at the launch and headed down to address the lovely ladies at the Maroochydore War Widows Guild. It was a very late invitation as their planned guest speaker had let them down at the last minute, but who can say no to such a special group of women?

Enough of the Sunny Coast now and it’s back to writing fiction. In the back of my mind a plot is beginning to form for a sequel to The Moon is Everywhere the Same so my imagination can get to work once more. Where can I take Gerard and Jane next? What new characters can I introduce? Whatever I come up with I shall have to be rather disciplined to keep both writing and marketing on track. Can I do it? Well, I’ve taken on so many challenges these past few months I should be able to handle a few more. Watch this space!

My reading has been limited to my classic book group novels lately and I have to say this last month’s was a joy to read - another Australian author Madeleine St John. A graduate of Sydney University, she was a contemporary of Clive James, Germaine Greer, Bruce Beresford and Robert Hughes. What an abundance of glorious creativity was released from that period.

St John’s novel The Women in Black brings alive the Sydney of the 1950s. With a light touch she draws the reader into the lives and emotions of the women in black who are, as the name suggests, those who worked as salesgirls in a department store that can be none other than the David Jones Elizabeth Street store of that time. As one who worked in Sydney during that period it was my favourite store. This book took me straight back to my early working days and St John’s descriptions of ordinary everyday life and the social rules of behaviour that were accepted then as the norm, rang very true and made me realise how far we have travelled since then. I wonder how much is for the better? I will admit to putting the story down from time to time to search for photos of places she mentioned. The early Repin’s coffee shop and Pharlet’s Hotel were two in particular that were patronised by the smart people. Remember when it was considered ‘chic’ to meet for coffee? Today coffee is something that is grabbed on the run and sipped out of a cardboard carton more often than not.

Aahh! The good old days.

Back with more next month.

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