Fellow bloggers often comment about when they first began to write and especially when or why they began to blog. When you come to think about it, blogging is rather an odd thing to do: you write your piece, perhaps add a few images, press the publish button and it’s out there for all the world to see. Many of us assume that no-one will bother to read it and, after all, why should anybody be interested in our thoughts or projects? But, again as many of us know, gradually people find us, follow us and friendships start to build. The great majority of our followers we are never likely to meet in reality yet they share our tales and show real interest in what we are doing, whether it be family, travel, garden or whatever else we blog about. Just occasionally, you come face to face with one and this happened last night.
Followers of this blog, whether here or on Facebook or my new website – or my Tweets – can hardly have failed to notice that I have had my first book, “Why Can’t My Garden look Like That?” published recently (for I have been talking about virtually nothing else lately). It has been an incredible journey with a huge and rapid learning curve; from commission to publication it was completed in only thirteen months. Fortunately, I had huge support and encouragement from my publishers, Constable & Robinson. Fast forward another seven weeks to yesterday evening: the date of the official book launch.
I was delighted that our local bookshop, Jaffe & Neale, hosted it for Chipping Norton is very fortunate in having such a lovely, independent and award-winning bookshop. It couldn’t have been a better choice of location for the town was glowing golden with the heat-wave sunshine emphasising the colour of the old, Cotswold stone buildings.
With Polly Jaffe of Jaffe & Neale, who hosted the evening, and Nikki Read and Giles Lewis of publishers, Constable & Robinson
I felt remarkably relaxed at the thought of making a speech to a large number of people. In fact, my real concern was that no-one would turn up at all! However, over one hundred came, filling the bookshop and spilling out onto the pavement giving the whole evening a real party atmosphere which, in turn, created more interest from passers-by.
A memorable evening was made all the more so as I began to realise just how far people had travelled to be with me. Bette Baldwin of Friends of Hoar Oak Cottage had travelled up from Devon – I had met Bette only once before on Exmoor, thanks to the power of blogging. Several others I had not met for a very long time; thirty years or more and, of course, there were others that I’d never met before at all. The evening came to a close with a celebratory dinner organised by friends at a local restaurant. An exciting evening and one never to be forgotten.
Yet more excitement today as I find that my book has been reviewed and described as “brilliant” by LandLove magazine. They are also running a competition with ten copies of my book as prizes. You can find out more about that by clicking the link here.