Tag: magical

How to have an amazing book launch

How to have an amazing book launch

cake, launch
It always helps to have an awesome cake.

In the last month I’ve been lucky enough to have not one book launch, but two. The first was during the Bendigo Writers Festival, and the second was this weekend. They were a lot of fun, and bring my launch total to three, making me something of an expert (cough, cough). So I thought I’d write about what makes an amazing book launch.

#1 –  A venue that is enthusiastic about your launch.

I know authors debate about whether a launch works better in a bookshop, or in a bar or some other venue. Personally I think they all have ups and downs. Ultimately what you want is somewhere that will fit the numbers you are expecting, has parking, and allows for food and drink options. Much like planning any other party, these sorts of needs will be dependent on expected crowd, time of day or night and the atmosphere you want to create. (And how much champagne you feel should be drunk.) But having had launches in three entirely different venues, I’ve realised that the most important factor is working with a venue (or event) that will be enthusiastic, excited and supportive. It’s no fun to feel you’re fighting battles or ennui to get the event together. And it’s an exciting moment in your life, so you deserve to have others excited for you.

#2 – Awesome friends.

Any sort of event can be stressful, so it’s great to have friends who step in to help out by washing mugs, set up displays and give great hugs. They can also periscope the event (!), put photos on social media, step in unexpectedly to begin the proceedings and create other miscellaneous moments of magic. It’s not actually possible to control how awesome your friends are, but you can be incredibly grateful for it. I’m not going to name names, because I’ll probably forget someone, but I’m lucky my friends are unbelievably awesome.

#3 – A cake to die for.

No launch would be complete without a gorgeous cake. If you happen to be a brilliant baker as well as a writer, you may be able to organise this yourself. But if cakes are not your strong point, you can get one made. The wonders of modern technology mean you can get your book cover on a cake. This is surprisingly affordable, and looks fabulous. It has the added advantage that people like to take pictures of it and share it around a lot. Plus you get to eat your words, which in this case is not a bad thing.

#4 – A launch special guest who knows what they’re doing and does it beautifully.

After the welcome at a launch there’s a speech, about you and your book. This has the potential to be deeply embarrassing. As someone with social anxiety, I’m not fond of attention pointed in my direction. Luckily, at each of my launches the speech has been so great I’ve forgotten to get anxious. For Harlequin’s Riddle, George Ivanoff performed as one of the characters from my book and was so perfect he’s got the role if there’s ever a movie. For the first launch of Columbine’s Tale Kelly Gardiner was fascinating as she talked about the magic of storytelling. Finally, for the second launch, Laura Goodin gave an impromptu class on creative writing and creativity that had everyone in raptures.

 #5 – Sparkling wine.

Enough said.

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Huge thanks to everyone involved with the launch of Columbine’s Tale. If you’d like to know more about the book and read a brief excerpt, click this link.

An Interview with Steampunk author Felicity Banks

An Interview with Steampunk author Felicity Banks

Felicity Banks is an Australian author with a fascinating array of books, including interactive fiction (like ‘Choose your own adventure’ but in an app), an Australian steampunk trilogy set during the gold rush, and a brand new series beginning this week, set in the magical world of Rahana (think Narnia, but with pirates). She has boundless energy for exciting ideas – her next project is ‘Murder in the Mail‘, which will begin in June/July. Felicity also lives the steampunk dream – meet her in person to see her wonderful creations! Make sure you check out her website for trailers and preview pages of all these great books!

Which writer or writers opened your eyes to the magic of storytelling and why?

Childhood is a blur of stories, but I definitely remember CS Lewis’ Narnia stories (all seven). They were fun and exciting and the kind of story that has extra meaning for me as a Christian. Plus, like all my favourite stories, it makes me feel like a stronger, more hopeful person. Certain stories have a knock-on effect of real-world joy and that series was the first to make me feel like a better version of myself.

Why do you think people need stories in their lives?

This is a question that cuts very close to the bone, because I write full-time while also working from home. As the washing piles up and our bank balance dwindles, I have to question how I spend my time. It’s been established in numerous studies that reading increases empathy, and right now there are grave injustices happening around the world simply because humans are bad at caring for other humans who are not immediately in front of them, or who are different. I hope I can write stories that make the world kinder.

What is your greatest magical power as a writer?

I love being all-knowing and all-powerful. It’s a real rush to pull stories and characters out of thin air and make them real. It’s even crazier when the stories become real to others.

Which mythic archetype or magical character most resonates with you and why?

I love heroic journeys. When I was younger I travelled a lot in Indonesia (the inspiration for my fantasy world of Rahana—my middle grade pirate trilogy begins release in February 2018) and I still love the feeling of leaving home behind and being that lighter, braver person. So any archetype about physical and emotional journeys resonates for me. You’ll notice that a lot in my books.

What themes or ideas do you find keep arising in your writing?

I usually write for young adults because it’s such an interesting time of figuring out who you are. But the process doesn’t end there. Everyone has the power to create and recreate who they are regardless of age.

My Australian steampunk fantasy young adult/crossover trilogy will be completed in 2018. The first two books are already out, and there’s excerpts and more info on my blog at https://felicitybanks.wordpress.com/2017/10/03/antipodean-queen-1-heart-of-brass/