My lovely Monday writing group are holding a book launch for me for my new novel, Killing Me Softly. It is going to be held on Saturday 15th June, which is the official launch date of my novel. I am so excited, but at the same time, I’m nervous, because they say a book launch isn’t a proper book launch unless the author reads from their novel.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not nervous about reading in front of people. After years of performing in theatre and cabaret and singing solo and as part of a quartet and choirs, I am no stranger to standing up in front of people and putting on a ‘performance’. What I am nervous about is picking the right bit to read out. I suppose it is a little similar to the first time or two (or ten) that you go to your first writer’s meeting and have to pick a piece to take, knowing you have to read it out and that it’s going to be critiqued – that is nerve wracking, but at the end of it, you do end up with some positive (hopefully, and always in my experience, because even a negative reaction can be a positive if you turn it in the right way) critiques, so it makes the nerves worthwhile. But this time, I’m putting myself and my work up there as something that is worthy of being published and there will be an expectation of it being good. I’m not saying that it isn’t all good – it’s been raked over with the fine tooth-comb of a few edits with my editor, then a copyedit and a proof edit, not to mention all the redrafts I’d done of it earlier from critiques I’d received from my writing groups – so it should, after all that, be pretty good. But some bits will be better in a ‘read out loud’ situation than others, and I want to make sure I pick the right one.
But what is the right one?
It’s a romantic suspense novel, so should I go with a romance section, where the hero and heroine are meeting for the first time, or are interracting in some way further in, or do I go for one of the scenes where the suspense is high, when the stalker is making their life hell and the tension is keeping the reader on the edge of their seats? It all depends on the impression of the novel I want and need to make.
It’s a difficult decision, even though it will mostly be family and friends there on the day. I want my story to shine at its launch. So now, even though I thought I’d gone over my manuscript with a fine tooth comb for the last time, I have to go over it again and find the bit that shouts out ‘read this bit’ to me. Although, I don’t really mean ‘have to’ because this is an exciting moment, to need to make this decision, one I’ve been working toward for such a long time. And it won’t be a chore by any means – I love my story and the characters and their story – they still thrill me every time I read it over. Hopefully that love will translate on the day and everyone there will feel the same way, that these are characters they want to meet further.