Hope's a funny thing. In Jennifer Donnelly's beautiful book, A Northern Light, the main character worries hope is a sin. My Irish Catholic friend assures me it's one of the few things that isn't. But like Donnelly's character, I understand the fear hope can bring.
So in preparation for the Taking Flight launch party Tuesday night, I locked my hope deep inside, and instead steeled myself to keep up a happy face, and to make the most of the night, whatever happened.
I've been doing a lot of behind the scenes work for the launch, so for several hours beforehand I ran around like a crazy woman, checking to make sure the wine arrived and was chilled, the name tags were arranged alphabetically, and as 6:30 approached and agents and editors started to trickle in, they were welcomed.
I greeted people, offered drinks, and was just helping someone to hang up their coat, when my tutor, Julia, appeared beside me. She whisked me off to meet an editor she said was gushing about my extract. I thought, "Oh good, at least one person will want to talk to me tonight."
Well, there were a few others who wanted to talk to me, too. From there, the night became a whirlwind, with editors and agents chatting with me about my extract, but also my writing in general, my teaching experience, Chicago, how long I had lived in the UK...
An hour and a half later I had a moment free to look at my watch in astonishment, discover my feet were killing me, and grab some food and several glasses of water. Then I bumped into someone else who wanted to ask about A TRUTH I DON'T KNOW.
So how did it go? It was a lovely evening. Several people were interested in my extract, and have asked to read more. I even got the opportunity to pitch Project Demo--and people seemed intrigued. Plus I got to spend over two hours talking books with people, reuniting with old friends, classmates, and tutors, and eating a few of these yummy miniature fruit tarts. All in one of my favorite places in the world, London.
So all in all, not a bad evening. I'm so grateful I had my classmates, my tutors, my friends, and all of my lovely and supportive readers' hopes to bolster and encourage me. Thank you.
And who knows, maybe even more will come of it. I hope so.
Left to right, me, Ni, Katerina, Jane, Rachael, Julia, Toni, Regina, Steve, Emma, Bridget, Sheila