It’s been an exciting few weeks – holding the novel for the first time (a real book, not just a wad of double-spaced A4 pages splattered with ink from our ageing printer), being interviewed by Lynn Freeman at Radio NZ, Unity Books saying they’ll sell at the launch, hearing that All Our Secrets will be reviewed in The Listener…. And then, last week, turning on my radio, out of the blue, just in time to catch the book’s first ever review (listen to it here).
And with only five days to go, I’m now nearing the end of my pre-launch to-do list (getting dangerously close to ‘clean the house!’ – the exclamation mark emphasising how desperately this needs doing before my family arrives from Oz).
But before I do anything drastic like the vacuuming, I need to mention another important part of my long journey: the Wellington Writers Group. I’m pretty sure there’s another group with the same name now, but Wellington Writers Group was what we called ourselves without knowing (or caring) whether another more official group existed.
We met once a month to say (mostly) nice things about each other’s work, and once a year we headed up the coast for a weekend retreat. We’d explore the beach, cook feasts, drink wine, let off fireworks (not because we were pyromaniacs, but because our inaugural retreat was on Guy Fawkes night) and, if there were a few spare minutes between unpacking and heading home, we’d write.
Our meetings were a big source of inspiration, a monthly deadline hugely motivating, and I really valued the feedback of everyone in the group. I probably wouldn’t have stuck with this novel if it wasn’t for their encouragement and support.
The photo below is the Wellington Writers Group in its original form – Janis, Sarah, me, Chris, Niamh and Mark – at our first retreat in Foxton, late 2005 or whenever flarey jeans were last in. Although we definitely devoted more time to eating than writing, I’d like to point out that I was pregnant at the time, not full from lunch.
I won’t get around to posting again before the launch, so I hope to see you there…