Back to school today - what a relief - but am about to climb onto a plane tomorrow night (Thursday night) to go to Auckland for three days of whirling around the district for Storylines.
Friday sees me and a couple of other writers/illustrators in south Auckland schools for the day and Saturday doing a workshop out west Auckland.
Sunday is the BIG DAY. Just thinking about it makes me want to go and have a nice lie down but those who have been organising this have no such luxury.
I expect some of the committee will be up into the wee small hours ensuring that there are enough paper plates for the pigs noses (Piggerty Wiggerty) and face paint (decorate in your favourite character) to last the distance.
My job on the day? At 10.00am I will be talking about how I came to be what I am - a writer who also teachers English and also tries to be a parent and how the whole Banquo's Son trilogy came into being.
Later in the day, I will be involved in the pronouncement of the Puffin short story awards.
In between, I'll be signing at the wonderful Jabberwocky children's book store stand and reading at Borders Bookstore. I hope I don't have happen what happened to an author last Sunday, in Wellington, during the Storylines festival:
Sales assistant: Yes, can I help you?
Author: I'm here to sign books.
Assistant: And you are...?
Author: [insert name]
Assistant (who frowns): Um, I don't think we have any of yours books
*OK, you need to know that THIS bookseller was given a list of the authors who would be 'signing' WEEKS before the event!*
Assistant: We don't have any of your books.[pause] Actually, we never have any of your books.'
Cue: author walking off with her minder.
I just want to give a little plug to the bookshops I've personally enjoyed shopping in over the years: the wonderful Children's Book shop in Wellington and Christchurch; to the Unity and University Bookshops; to the educational bookshops like Abacus on the North Shore in Auckland and Storytime Books in Whangarei. The Womens' Book shop as well. Shops where the sellers get to choose the books they want to have in their store and have sales assistants who actually understand (and read) books and can help their customers. There are also a few chain stores I've appreciated too who are so supportive of local writers: stores in Takapuna and here in Dunedin
New Zealand has a stable of the most amazingly talented writers and illustrators in the world. We have Joy Cowley and Margaret Mahy and Lynley Dodd. Fleur Beale and David Hill and Jack Lasenby. Relatively new-commers in comparison like Vince Ford, Brian Falkner, Mandy Hager and Anna Mackenzie. New Zealanders authors and illustators don’t waste time with mediocre stuff. I could add heaps more names (even my own) but I suggest you go to The New Zealand Book Council website to see the rest.
New Zealand authors and illustrators would love to see more of their books being sold in the bigger stores but I guess that's the dream of every writer/artist because books on shelves increases the chance of books selling which increases the royalty amount.