My new picture book BatKiwi had a lovely soft launch yesterday at St Helier's Community Library, thanks to the generous invitation and fab skills of librarian Pip Blake, the support of Abby Haverkamp from publisher Scholastic NZ and Peter from Paper Plus Booksellers, and an appreciative wonderful audience of children and their grown ups who braved some pretty atrocious weather to come out and share a love of books and reading.
It is always a thrill to see people, especially new readers, warming to a story and wanting to have it for themselves, to take it home and re-read it. And it was just the loveliest to have one young girl come up to me afterwards and tell me that she loved my story and that I must keep doing what I'm doing. This is the message writers most need to hear sometimes. It's easy to get caught up in the continuing drive to stay published, and sell books, and be reviewed and be shortlisted but the bottom line is we want most of all for our books to be read by the people we wrote them for. For them to love our stories and discover all the things we put in there especially for them. This is why I became a writer. Because I remember so, so well the way I felt reading my favourite books when I was their age. The magic and wonder when I realised what words were capable of and how they could affect me. And the thrill of working out all the threads, and meanings and layers and easter eggs an author had laced their story with, as if I was the first one to know, to realise, to work it out. That is the power of words. So when the going gets tough it is wonderful to be reminded what makes this job so important and so rewarding and why it is worth perservering with. And I'd like to say thank you to that young girl (Caitlin) from the bottom of my heart.
And I have a copy of BatKiwi, and a copy of the Te Reo edition, Ko PekaKiwi to give away. Tell me who your favourite superhero is, and what it is you like/admire most about them, either in the comments here, or on the facebook or twitter posting of this blogpost, and I will pick my favourite answer. Please let me know which version of the book you would like. Competition closes 25th July at 5pm and I will aim to announce the winner that evening.