HAMILTON BOOK MONTH

I’ve just returned from a wonderful couple of days at the Hamilton Book Month.

HamiltonBookMonth

What an honour it was to be asked to appear as a panelist on their Historical Fiction Panel, together with the wonderful Rosetta Allan and Stevan Eldred-Grigg.

Our incredible panel convener, Maebh Long, had clearly done her homework, and was well prepared. A great panel chair will take the time to contact their panelists well in advance of the event, to talk through their questions, setting the panelists at ease, and Maebh did just that. Take note all future panel conveners!

The Long Room at Wintec soon filled with attendees despite the inclement weather. And they kept coming, leaving only three empty chairs by the time the organisers of Hamilton Book Month were introducing the event.

Having a crowd brings so much more energy to a room, and makes it easy for a panelist to bounce off the laughs and the engaged faces of the audience. So I want to thank the Hamilton crowd, and the visitors from out of town who made the trek in. You made the night a huge success, thank you!

Mention was made of ghosts and time travel and fat 70s backsides as each author read from their work - Rosetta from her latest work - An Unreliable People, leaving us shivering with metaphorical cold as the ice glistened on her fictional windscreen, and Steven had the audience in fits of laughter as he read from his book Bangs. I read a chapter from Telegram Home - The Auction, and half expected the audience to start bidding, as I’m sure I saw more than one hand twitching, eager to bid on fabric swatches and a collection of cabinet cards! Choosing the right passage to read aloud is a tricky thing, and can make or break an author’s appearance.

HistoricalFictionPanel

The best part about the panel, was looking into the audience and recognising a number of faces looking back at me. And not just fellow authors, but friends and online acquaintances. I was listening to a podcast the other day as I walked off my wine around One Tree Hill, and the crux of the interview was telling authors that they are a brand, so “don’t be a dick”. That advice really resonated as I smiled, waved and hugged my way through some of the audience. I hope I have shown my appreciation for each and every reader, online acquaintance, colleague, and friend who has come to an event, read my book, or commented on my various social media platforms. I try hard to help other authors. A rising tide lifts us all. Thank you for your support.

And thank you to the amazing sponsors of the Hamilton Book Month. Without your support, and the hard work of Catherine and Gail, we wouldn’t have this incredible event. Thank you.

Sponsors

BEING PART OF THE AMAZING AUCKLAND ARTS FESTIVAL

Just typing those words is pretty amazing in itself!

Kirsten McKenzie and Andrene Low

On the 18th March I teamed up with the hilarious Hawkes Bay author Andrene Low, and we spent the evening sitting in the window of a shop... Not that sort of shop! We were perched in the window of Antique Alley on Dominion Road as part of the Auckland Arts Festival White Night.

Between the two of us we did live readings from our books, and ran Q&A sessions about writing, publishing and the inspiration behind our books.

People came and people went, and at one stage we had a full house.

Faux Sherry

The tables were prepped during the day with darling silver trays from Antique Alley, and decanters filled with Lipton's Iced Tea. An abundance of antique sherry glasses were washed, dried, and lined up next to the decanters. Up on the stage we had the real stuff in our decanter to moisten our throats for the four hours we were performing. I think if you were one of the attendees who turned up much later in the evening, you may have seen some evidence of that!

And what a buzz it was. Next year though we might add in a couple of other authors, because four hours is a long time for two authors to bounce off each other. 

We also had crystal bowls of popcorn for the punters, newsletter sign up sheets, and piles of postcards and bookmarks showcasing all our books. Huge signs in the window too, as well as numerous copies of our books, on the off chance someone wanted to buy any, which they did. And for their benefit, we had EFTPOS available. Perfect.

There was a real buzz along Dominion Road that night. We had a couple of performance artists outside the shop as well, which really helped. We can only expect the White Night event to get bigger and bigger in the coming years.

Thanks to the Dominion Road Business Association for all their assistance, and to the Eden Albert Board, and of course thanks to the Auckland Arts Festival for putting on such a spectacular event for all of Auckland to enjoy.

Kirsten McKenzie in the window of Antique Alley for the Auckland Arts Festival White Night

Kirsten McKenzie in the window of Antique Alley for the Auckland Arts Festival White Night