Last week my first picture book ‘Can’t-Dance-Cameron: A Scottish Capercaillie Story’ launched in Edinburgh. STV Edinburgh wrote about it here. There were a couple of exciting announcements at the launch:
1) Can’t Dance Cameron is on a reprint. That doesn’t normally happen on the day a new book launches – the book was actually out in shops in Scotland a couple of weeks before the launch because of the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Thanks to everyone who’s been buying the book.
2) My new book ‘The Grouse and the Mouse’ is out next year – I had to keep that secret until now. I signed the contract at the beginning of August and wrote the first version of the book last year. It’s changed a bit since then and it’s now about ready to go to an illustrator. Very exciting.
Back to the launch, here it is in pictures, thanks to photographer Chris Scott. I’m like Can’t Dance Cameron – afraid I’ll look silly dancing BUT Chris somehow managed to get a photo of me in mid-air – he described it as an ascension shot. And I look, well,… almost graceful.
The evening started with drinks, nibbles, networking and chat. People took their seats ready for the launch to begin:
Intro from Eleanor
The Chief Commissioning Editor at Floris Books, Eleanor Collins introduced people to me and the book:
Living legend Jonathan Meres did a wee stand-up comedy slot with a giant blue dice:
There were six comedy stories on my interactions with birds through the ages:
- AGE 7 IN THE DEN
- BIRD WATCHER BADGE
- HITCHCOCK’S THE BIRDS
- LEATHER GANNET
- FULMAR AUTOPSY
- PUFFINS AND MEETING THE QUEEN
We got three stories depending on the dice throw:
Into the Forest
Then it was me. We went on an interactive journey through the forest to try to find a dancing bird. This is the naughty water squirting squirrel, Hazel Nut:
Here are the expert volunteers who fanned the smell of the pine forest all around the audience:
This is an actual giant pine cone – from the USA. We practiced a firework style “ooooh!” and “Ahhhh!” when the pine cone came out – ready for later in the story…
True or False?
This was a red squirrel true or false quiz – you had to make the shape of a T or an F with your body:
Then out came the football pine cones – Bethan and Roo volunteered:
Here’s Bethan kicking the pine cone past the wild cat to distract it. That’s Adele, she’s works at the Botanic Gardens and she’s pretending to be a scots pine.
Then we learnt the dance moves, this is the assertion shot I mentioned earlier. Look at my feet!
Science Experiment POP!
Then a quick science experiment to make the capercaillie popping noise using an alka-seltzer rocket!
Music and Dancing
Then we put the dancing together with the music and everyone joined in:
Here’s a sample of the track, click play below:
Even Roy Gill danced, despite his earlier tweet:
Then I shared the story with the pictures up on the big screen:
With some actions along the way:
Q and A
After that it was time for the Q and A chaired by Bookriot blogger Edd McCracken:
There were some great questions from the audience including:
- What inspired the book?
- What happened to the wildcat?
- How long did it take to write the book?
Then there were some thank yous, hosted by poet Elspeth Murray:
On my behalf and then I said a few thanks to:
- My writers group – especially Mairi who let me stay in Ullapool (where I wrote the first version of the book)
- The Scottish Book Trust (they funded the writing of this book via the Reader in Residence post at Leith Library)
- Katie Pamment the Illustrator
- Everyone at Floris Books
- A big thanks went to my amazing editor Eleanor – I gave her some flowers
I also thanked everyone for coming and for buying books. Finally Kirsten the publicist from Floris came up to say a final thanks – it was a lovely surprise to be given some flowers too!
Then a sort of double queue formed, here’s a slightly awkward moment when two people thought they were first in line!
It was lovely to meet people and sign copies of the book. The illustrator Katie Pamment signed too – it’s not every day you get a first edition signed by the author and the illustrator:
This is near the end of the queue. By the time we finished all the wine had run out – before I had chance to drink any!
There are more lovely photos from the event in a Chris Scott album here
Lastly here are some of the tweets from the event. Floris books put some together in a storify too, find it here.