Signing books with Jen Meredith, aka super Hawaii blogger ‘Kuaback’.
So I’m back. And I’m a little wasted – no not with alcohol -with an overabundance of adrenaline and by an excessive amount of physical and mental exertion. There was a week of different activities planned for the Samoa launch of TELESA and so my trip home was just a little bit frantic. I only have myself to blame since I’m the one who master-minded the program. As I stayed up till 3am writing a speech for my 9am visit to my old high school and then ran from there to a TV interview and from there to continue delivering last-minute invites to the main launch nite, all in sauna-like 30 degree heat, I asked myself, “This is stupid. Who the hell planned this?!” Umm, me. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I was missing the Hot Man desperately. No, not because he’s Hot. But because he’s a super planner and organizer, never late to anything (and he could have carried heavy boxes of books and set up furniture without ME having to get my TV clothes all dirty and sweaty.) This launch week was further confirmation that being an author is hard work. I didnt sit on any beaches. Or scuba dive. Or go dancing at beachside nightclubs. Or sleep in and then dine on tropical breakfasts. What I did enjoy though, was the chance to meet with some of my sister bloggers, work with a great team of planners, see my family’s creativity shine ( thank you Mum, Leone, Cam and Dad) and then attend the final event of the week.
I did a 2hr book signing session at a local bookstore, Samoa Books. I was semi-dreading it because, among other things, I was running late ( as usual), delivering book orders to stores, tired from the week, dehydrated and to make it worse, I hadn’t eaten all day. (Me and Hungry make ferocious, evil music together.) The event should have been a nightmare. But it wasnt. The superb team at Samoa Books had thought of everything – ice water, sandwiches, air con, a fan. Not only that, they had the trailer playing on a big screen, wall to wall TELESA posters, and radio ads running all day to let people know about the signing. I sat, I breathed, and then I had the opportunity to meet many people. There were lots of my ex-students, past work colleagues, old friends, childhood neighbors, teachers. I also met complete strangers and we sat and chatted over books. Mothers brought their daughters in to buy a book and have photos taken- and then when the teens went out – the mums furtively bought a book of their own and asked me to sign it, whispering “This one is for me…” I had to laugh – it reminded me of my own semi-shamefulness when I’m standing in a line for almost an hour so I can get in to a new Twilight movie…surrounded by screaming teenagers.
I particularly enjoyed meeting the students, the teen readers. I wrote TELESA because I wanted to write the kind of book that I enjoy reading and have it reflect the environment, the life I grew up in. For me, its the book I would have loved to read when I was a teenager in high school. So meeting with Samoan teen readers and having them comment, “I loved how I could relate to everything in the book…the locations, the drama, the food and the people. I felt a connection with the characters, traditions and even the afakasi thing.” (Olisana Mariner, RLSSchool) – was very rewarding. The chance to meet with readers was a reminder for me, not to get lost in the busyness of book promotion, or drown in the stress of being a writer and a parent. Because before we were writers, we were readers who delighted in dancing in the realm of the imagination. And to be able to gift that delight to another, even for a short while as they read and enjoy your book – is a humbling privilege. Meeting with readers, young and old, from all walks of life, was a precious reminder for me to keep hold of the joy, the reason why we writers write in the first place.
Because we love it.
Thank you Samoa Telesa readers, I needed that reminder.