Hi guys! Very happy to report on how my Book Launch Party for Sons of the Wolf went at Crawley Library last week. My novel is my debut attempt at historical fiction. I wanted my party to have something different than just a book talk, reading and 'buy my book' theme. I wanted people to enjoy the night and be informed, regardless of whether they bought my book or not.
I am pleased to say that it went amazingly well! I had 5 members of the public turn up the rest were my friends and family. Altogther including myself, my re-enactors and library staff, there were 43 people in the room and to be honest we couldnt have fit any more people in there. It was very exciting for me to see so many people turn up for my debut novel and I was overhwelmed. It felt amazing to have this opportunity and am so grateful to the library staff for their help. I was very lucky to have my re-enactors Adam Price and Katrina Burton who did me very proud and Rich Price who read so beautifully for me and helped his son Adam demonstrate the weaponry.
The evening started with a welcome, food was laid out and wine and soft drinks for the guests to help themselves to. It was great to see so many of my friends coming through the door and also the people I had not met yet. The library had told me that 15 people had put their names down at the library but at least 5 turned up! Each guest was given a raffle ticket to win a free copy of my book. They didn't show it but I am sure they were delighted! Then when everyone was settled and the Library staff had done their Health&Safety thing, I nervously got up to introduce myself and thank everyone for coming. I must admit I was nervous and felt that I shouldn't be reading from a script but I had been so busy with work and everything I hadn't had a chance to try and 'learn' my speech. Still, people gave me great feedback and I was happy with that.
After I had done the intro, my dear friend and fellow re-enactor Rich Price read from the first chapter of Sons. To be honest, he blew me away with his rendition, it was amazing. If anyone has ever experienced someone read their book with such grace and eloquence as Rich did for me, then they will certainly know the feeling I got when I heard his deliverance of my prose. I could hardly believe I was hearing the words that I had written. I had to pinch myself to see if I was dreaming. the applause he got was heart warming.
The next part of the presentation was to introduce my first re-enactor, after I had explained a little more about the main character and his background. Initially I had intended to have someone play his part, however, due to work commitments, the actor was unable to make it so his 'wife' Ealdgytha had come accompanied by Wulfhere's deputy, Esegar. Ealdgytha was played by Katrina Burton. I have known Katrina for some years now and she knows her stuff. Katrina has worked for Tunbridge Wells Museum and currently works at the Fishbourne Roman Villa near Chichester. She began by describing what she was wearing, her tunic and her underdress and her wimple and what her day would have been like. She described how she had dyed her clothing with woad, to make her dress a pale blue. She also demonstrated how wool is spun on a drop spindle.
After Katrina had wowed the audience with her presentation, I spoke a bit more about the land division in Sussex and how the military system in 11thc England was linked to this. Then it was time for my young warrior, 'Esegar' AKA Adam Price to take centre stage. Esegar is Wulfhere's right hand man and shield bearer. He is a semi professional warrior and part time farmer, brought into military service by the one man for every 5 hide law. As a King's thegn, Wulfhere also owed military service. He and Esegar have been through much together having served in two major battles. As Wulfhere was unable to attend due to being on King's business, Esegar has come in his place to demonstrate the weapons used by the 11thc army.
|Rich wields a great Dane axe at a terrified audience.|
|Some of the shields available to a warrior were round.|
|Rich demonstrates how the sword might have an adverse affect on an armoured warrior.|
Now it was time to talk briefly about the Battle of Hereford before Rich performed the last reading, a scene from Chapter 19 The Battle of Hereford. As I listened to the reading, I was amazed once more at the care and considerstion Rich was giving to the prose. The dramatic lines made me realise how gory it was and I was satisfied that I had done the scene justice, however I apologised to the audience just in case the gore was too much for them. Apparently they thought it was brilliant!
Next I talked about Regia Anglorum, the re-enactment society that we belonged to and hopefully may have recruited a couple of people. And then it was time for questions and answers and got some great feedback from the audience who asked some really interesting well thought questions to which I tried my best to reply with sensible answers. Of course I had my trusty re-enactors to help me out. This followed with book signing and raffle draw. I managed to sell 12 books, most of my friends already had bought one prior to the launch. I also donated a copy to the library and was pleased that the library people were impressed enough to offer me some more venues around West Sussex libraries. which I am happy to say I will take up in the near future. It was a great evening and I cant thank every body enough for coming and helping me have a fantastic first Book Launch! Find out more about me at www.paulalofting.com