I'm home from the first part of Ford Street's launch of Trust Me Too; this evening will be the launch at Princes Hill Secondary College, where I have actually worked, though only for a few weeks. The current TL is Pam Saunders, whom I know from her days at the State Library.
This morning I got up a little later than usual, had a quick breakfast and went to catch the tram to Scotch College, a private boys' school in Hawthorn. After such a nice sunny day yesterday, this morning the heavens opened. I wrapped up and took an umbrella. The tram was caught behind traffic on Glenferrie Rd and the trip took longer than I had expected, but I still made it on time.
There were students at the gate to meet us and hand us our name tags. They were a little younger than I was expecting. For me, "junior school" implies Year 7 to 10! :-) but these were unmistakably primary school, and I have a soft spot for younger children. When I gave them my name, one of the kids burst out, "So THAT'S how you pronounce it!" This, of course, made my day, as it implied he'd actually read something of mine.
I was shown into a small hall, where the tables were set up, by another terribly cute little boy. I handed some copies of Wolfborn to one of Paul's interns, but knew they wouldn't sell when I saw the age of the audience as they filed in - Grade four and five, around right for Crime Time, but really too young for Wolfborn. Never mind, maybe tonight. These little boys looked totally adorable.
I found myself sitting next to Isobelle Carmody, who was to read from her story as part of the launch. She too hadn't expected such a young audience and was flipping through her story for something suitable, perhaps the most exciting bit. She asked me how many pages I thought would cover the fifteen minutes she had and I suggested four or five, having done readings at cons. And in the end it worked out well, with most of the kids leaning forward to hear. I saw one boy browsing through his copy of the anthology, for which I didn't blame him; there's something so delicious about a new book, I don't think I could have resisted doing that either; as it was,I couldn't wait to start into my newly-purchased copy of the new edition of Greylands.
The initial speech was made by Graham Davey, the head of YABBA, whom I have only met on the phone and by email. Apparently, he makes a living as a performance storyteller, so his rich, musical voice went over very well, and he made up stories about many of the writers he introduced.
We went over to the signing tables, where I signed a lot of programs and several copies of Crime Time. After this, we had some morning tea, where I chatted with Graham and also met one of the school staff, who told me they don't actually get many author visits and certainly nothing like this. I'm guessing this referred to the primary school, where she works, because I know for a fact the high school has things like literary lunches and a writers'festival where the GoHs include the likes of Geoffrey Robertson.
I walked out with Grant Gittus, the cover designer who did the wonderful cover of Crime Time, which has to be one of the best covers I have ever had. Grant and I chatted about cover design and Aussiecon as he gave me a lift home.
Part 2 of the launch is tonight. If you're in Melbourne, do come along. Otherwise I'll blog about it early tomorrow morning.