Thursday, 9 August 2012

#5 Adding some local flavour

After spending four years immersed in a perfect beach side setting while writing my third novel, it should come as no surprise to find that the novel set within the fictional town of Kings Beach is in fact based largely on the town in which I live. Given that Caloundra's main beach is aptly named Kings Beach, the perfect setting to launch the book before embarking on that all important book tour seemed to be a venue with views of the fabulous stretch of sand and sea that encompasses all that the Sunshine Coast embodies.

2012 Sunshine Coast & beyond Book Tour

  • Last Wish of Summer Book Launch, Amici Cafe, Caloundra, QLD March 24, 2012
  • Maleny Arts, Crafts & Collectables Market, Maleny, QLD May 13, 2012
  • Angus & Robertson Bookstore, Caloundra, QLD May 20, 2012
  • Noosa Marina Markets, Tewantin, QLD July 22, 2012
  • Kawana Waters Farmers & Crafts Market, Kawana, QLD July 28, 2012
  • Book Week guest author, Caloundra State High School, QLD August 20, 2012
  • Landsborough Hall Markets, Landsborough, QLD August 25, 2012
  • Peregian Beach Surf Lifesaving Club, Peregian Beach, QLD September 2, 2012
  • Celebration of Books - Rosetta Books, Maleny, QLD October 27, 2012
  • Noosa Marina Markets, Tewantin, QLD November 25, 2012
  • The Bookshop, Caloundra, QLD December 9, 2012
  • CityEdge Church Christmas Celebration, Caloundra, QLD December 23, 2012

      So the Last Wish of Summer book tour kicked off in style with a full house gathered at Amici Cafe in the heart of Caloundra (pictured above - top left). With some incredible prize giveaways on the evening and some of the most amazing food on offer thanks to hosts Jason and Sarah, the twilight event gave Last Wish of Summer the book launch it deserved. Special thanks go to Pastor Paul Bartolo from CityEdge Church for the kind introduction on the evening, and to the many local businesses who helped sponsor the event. 

      After two past book tours organized at a very busy pace, I decided to take a different approach for what would become a largely localized tour. The Sunshine Coast is known for it's more relaxed lifestyle and slower pace. So adopting this mindset when preparing to unleash Last Wish of Summer onto the local population, I took a short break before heading off to Maleny, a haven in the Sunshine Coast hinterland for artists and writers, to attend the Maleny Arts, Crafts & Collectibles Market. The following week was a chance to be back in Caloundra once more, this time for an in store signing at Angus & Robertson bookstore (pictured above - top right), alongside international author Tonya Sharp Hyche. After waiting out the cold winter's rain for the next couple of months, I then headed off to the Noosa Marina Markets for a successful day signing books in paradise under the warm sunshine right on the Noosa River. While the following weekend provided sun and large crowds, blustery conditions along the shores of the rowing course at the Kawana Waters Farmers Markets had me wishing I was indoors instead.

      August 20-24 in Australia was Book Week, a week-long promotion aimed at encouraging people to enjoy reading. So it was an honour to be invited to speak to almost 200 kids from grade 8 and 9 on a Monday morning and kick off the week as the guest author at Caloundra State High School (pictured above - bottom center). With an eager audience that were not afraid to ask questions, I spoke not only on my latest book Last Wish of Summer, but on the process of writing and how to filter the advice that writers and young people in general are bound to receive. Special thanks should go to Karen, Sue and the staff of the school's library for the wonderful and very welcoming display to celebrate my visit in the library's foyer.

      Returning to the Landsborough Hall Markets almost two years to the day after last appearing with my novel A Walk Before Sunrise, provided the chance to catch up with some familiar faces who remembered me from my last visit in 2010 to the almost 100 year old School of Arts Hall at the base of the mountains. The following week provided another highlight with my appearance at the Peregian Beach Surf Lifesaving Club Markets. Fantastic weather and crowds on the day ensured an enthusiastic response from the many wonderful people that I met on the day, and it was good to set-up the display for my beach-side novel Last Wish of Summer under a shady tree overlooking the shoreline of Peregian Beach.

      October 26-28 saw Maleny host to the first ever Celebration of Books. A three day event drawing writers from all over the Sunshine Coast and South East Queensland filled the streets of this hinterland town with authors and book lovers. I was thrilled to be invited to appear on the Saturday at Rosetta Books as part of what I'm sure will grow to become a huge annual literary event. Rain washed out my next appearance at the monthly Woodford Country Markets an hour south-west of the Sunshine Coast, and unfortunately, clashes with other dates made it impossible for me to re-schedule another appearance. Returning to Tewantin for the Noosa Marina Markets in the stifling heat of November was a stark contrast to my earlier visit during my tour back in July, however it once more proved to be a great location to feature my book.

      As the year drew to a close, so too did my book tour. December saw me back in Caloundra to finish my tour where it all began. Firstly at the Bookshop, Caloundra's leading independent book store in Bulcock Street, and finally a Christmas celebration day at CityEdge Church where I donated the proceeds of all sales on the day to LAMB International for their children's homes they finance in northern Thailand. I believe that whatever success comes your way as a writer, whether its a little or a lot, it is important to give something back to make the world a better place. Especially when we are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to do what we love, write.

      After 9 months of hitting the road with a new book, it was good to wrap up another tour and look ahead to the future. While past book tours had returned a small profit for me, this one would not have if it wasn't for the generous support from my local band of sponsors. As more book stores close down, arts and crafts markets raise the stall fees for artists selling their wares and public liability insurance skyrockets, it becomes increasingly hard for an author such as myself to justify planning another book tour like this. At least in the foreseeable future anyway. So 2013 will see me take a break from any further appearances while I concentrate on writing another novel, or two. I'm sure I'll see you somewhere on the road in the future.

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