Last weekend, my fourth book (FOURTH! Can you believe it, because I can’t) was launched in the beautiful surrounds of Halfway Up the Stairs bookshop in Greystones, Co Wicklow. It’s one of my absolute favourite spaces – bookshops are the best, anyway, and children’s bookshops are the tip-top, and Halfway Up the Stairs is Ireland’s only dedicated children’s and YA bookshop (as far as I know…) So, there really wasn’t any better place to throw The Time Tider at the world.
It was a truly wonderful day, and I’m grateful to so many people – my publishers, Little Tiger Books, for sponsoring lemonade and cookies (which were YUM) and for sending over the fantastic George Hanratty, a colleague I’d never had the privilege to meet in person before; my agent, Polly Nolan, who (as I said in my speech) is the person whose fault it is that any of my books are in print in the first place (thanks, Polly!); my family and friends and everyone who was able to come and join us on the day.
My absolute favourite face was this one:
Here I am with the radiant Susan Cahill, my Storyshaped Podcast co-host (and friend of over twenty years). Susan and I have been in regular contact over those years, and we’ve been working closely together since last summer, but we hadn’t actually physically seen one another since about 2006… so it was an emotional moment for me to see her gorgeous face again. I’m so grateful to her for coming all the way over from London and all the way out to Greystones, just for me.
There were speeches (first George from Little Tiger, saying lots of impossibly lovely things about me), and then I got a chance to thank some dear folk, including some that couldn’t be there – like my brother, and my parents-in-law.
Then, my friend and fellow author Eve McDonnell put me through my paces with a quick-fire Q&A, where I got to talk about how I became an author, what advice I’d give to my 8 or 9 or 10 year old self (short version? Believe in yourself – daydream as much as you can – wonder about the world – Always Be Curious – and never leave home without a pencil and paper) and what’s coming next from me. (I couldn’t possibly say…)
Books were signed (none were singed, which was a relief); I got to greet and chat with lots of brilliant young readers, including the absolutely fantastic Méabh from Bookmonster (whose channel you should DEFINITELY check out – she and her brother are the best video book reviewers in town!) and the amazing BotsBookShelf, whose book review blog is packed full of brilliant reviews and interviews. Kids of today – they’re incredible!
It was a fantastic day, made perfect by the wonderful people I got to surround myself with, and topped off with a sprinkling of story-magic which made everything that little bit better. Thank you so much to Trish and her team at Halfway Up the Stairs, to everyone at Little Tiger Books, to everyone who was there on the day or who sent me good wishes from afar (you were all remembered), and most especially of all, to the young readers I met and had the joy of chatting to. It truly is all about you. It’s a privilege to create stories for young readers – the most astute, the most tuned-in, the most demanding of, and deserving of, the very best writing that we can give them – and it’s a privilege I don’t take lightly.
So – without any further ado or embarrassing gloopy emotional crescendos, it only remains to say: THE TIME TIDER IS OUT IN THE WORLD! GET YOUR COPIES NOW!
(All photos: George Hanratty)