Friday, January 22, 2010
Book signing and author egos in Whangarei
As I predicted, Whangarei has well and truelly 'grown up'. The weather here is beautiful, the shops are humming, the singers and other buskers in the outside mall (oh I do remember the controversy in the 70s when the council made the decision to close off Bank street!) bring the place such a festive atmosphere.
With my friend Lynn, we trawled the bookshops. She had always wanted to be there when someone said 'The Tania Roxborogh? How wonderful!'. I was more cynical especially because, when I first began writing and I went into a chain store offering to sign copies of the book, the manager said 'No, thanks. We can't send them back if you mark them.' Charming.
Actually, just a few months ago, I went into the same store and the one of the old hands was very keen for me to sign Banquo's Son only to have the new manager scurry over and say 'Only two. Only two. Otherwise, we can't send them back.' Charming (again!). Did the women not take note of the best seller lists?
Anyway, I digress. First store: Storytime. I mentioned to Lynn that I knew the manager but thought she probably wouldn't remember me.
I didn't spot her but I went shyly up to the counter and said: Um, my name is Tania Roxborogh and you've got one of my books here. Would you like me to sign it?'
Very happy response, we collected Banquo's Son and, when we got back to the counter, the manager was there and she did remember me and it turned out most of the staff had read and loved Banquo's Son and were thrilled to hear I was a good way through the sequel. Of course, these people know their books and I left with The Graveyard Book under my arm (we later came back and I bought another: Grace by Morris Gleitzman.)
Next stop, Paper Plus. Chris, the manager was very warm and delighted and said the book was selling really well. I signed all the copies they had (about six, I think).
Next Whitcoulls. Even better, the manager had also read and loved the book and when I told them I used to live in Whangarei and went to school here, they asked me to write down these details so that they could go along side the displays (at both ends of the shop). I signed ALL their copies too. Lovely, positive place.
But, the highlight was going into The Second Hand Bookshop. Not only was their collection extensive, but I managed to get an extra copy of Maxine Altero's Ribbon's Of Grace.
I went up to the counter and chattered to the owners and mentioned to the wife that I knew Maxine and that I was a writer myself. We talked some more and then she asked 'And might we know your name?'
'You might,' I answered. 'I'm Tania Roxborogh.'
I could not have written better what happened next. Her face lit up, she gasped, a huge smile on her face and grabbed her hands to her chest. 'Oh. Oh, how wonderful. Oh my, Fat like me and Banquo's Son are so popular.'
'Thank you,' I said.
'No, Thank you' she said. 'How wonderful to meet you.'
The rest is a blur but she said lots of nice things about my writing. Wonderful wonderful stuff for this author to hear. I looked around to ensure Lynn had experienced this exchange but her nose was buried in Arthur Conon Doyle down the back of the shop. Typical. She was most unimpressed to have missed it.
So, by the time we got back to Ngunguru, I was suitibly uplifted and ploughed through the afternoon's writing, turning in over 2000 words of some pretty decent stuff.
This photo is almost what greets me in the morning. Stunning!
Thanks Whangarei, for the warm and very warm welcome.