How do you launch a book during a pandemic? I don’t think anyone’s quite figured it out yet. My own view as resident marketing manager at Andi Watson Enterprises is to casually mention it in the author’s newsletter. The market reach (see, I know the lingo) isn’t far but with word word of mouth (please, please please tell everyone you know about my new book, I’m begging you) and a favourable wind it will gather momentum and soon everyone will know that Kerry and the Knight of the Forest is OUT NOW from all the places where good books are sold. I used all caps on the OUT NOW so everyone will have heard. I think that’s how marketing works.

Everyone loves it, Kerry and the Knight of the Forest, at least those who have told me they love it love it. There may be dissenting views, but I haven’t heard them and can’t hear them with my fingers in my ears while childishly chanting, “LA LA LA LA, CAN’T HEAR YOU.” A new book is like the arrival of a new baby. Even if you think the little angel actually resembles Gollum you don’t tell the poor parent/author so soon after the labour of bringing said creature into the world. Anyway, this cherub comes with spot varnish on the softcover and also in a hardback variety. As I may have said before, hardback means quality. A symbol of serious content, a gesture towards being preserved for posterity. That or a hardback will better withstand the rigours of being read by a multitude of children from the library.

"A timeless and immersive fantasy." -Publishers Weeklystarred review

Starred review. C’mon, you know it’s good.

I would like to say that an impressive launch party had been planned for the release of the book. Significant marketing dollars had been set aside for the “Publishing Event of the Year”. Dancers, balloon animals and pyrotechnics were purchased and I was a little embarrassed and overwhelmed by all the attention that I received that evening. That would definitely have happened if not for the dumpster fire of 2020. Damn you pandemic! I wanted my balloon animals (drops to knees, shakes tiny fists at a cold uncaring universe and sobs).

No one was more gutted than me to miss a highly embarrassing social situation where I was the centre of attention. Nope, instead of sweating, blushing and dying internally while failing to make small talk my daughter and I watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Extended edition. Six-hundred and eighty-six minutes. Straight into the maw of Mt. Doom for my kid. Her first time viewing, my don’t-know'-how-many-times-but-long-enough-to-have-forgotten-significant-scenes-time. I hasten to add that this was at her asking, not mine. I’m not a sadist.

Over three (long) evenings we bonded over the doings of Middle Earth. I thought she might give up after the first film, but no, she enjoyed the Two Towers more than The Fellowship. Ents were celebrated, as was Grond, the real star of the battle of Minas Tirith.

The Mighty Grond!!

The Fellowship of the Ring film came out when my daughter was just a couple of months old. Now she has finished school and is on the cusp of starting the next phase of her life at college. When Frodo catches the last bus to Valinor I have to admit that the tears welling in my eyes weren’t strictly to do with Hobbit-related leavings.

Then I had to rush around to my mother-in-laws in the dark to put her bin out.

The stuff heroic fantasy is made of. Arrivals and departures.

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