On Friday afternoon I received a call from Claire Miller, Head Publicity Pixie at Fremantle Press, asking if I’d like to come down to the Press for a beer after work, because, ‘guess what?’ I sort of guessed what what was. So, armed with Carlsberg Danish beer I arrived, and sure enough on the board room table, there it was, a brand new, shiny, out-of-this worldly wonderful, advanced copy rushed over from the printers in China.
Unfortunately, James was away on business up in Bruce Rock, a small town out in the wheat belt, and didn’t get the message. So, after two years solid years work by him, he had to wait another 27 long hours to see his artistic masterpiece in all its bound, polished and designed glory. And it certainly is all of that.
Claire brought a copy to the IBBY Hans Christian Andersen dinner last night at Villa Roma in Fremantle, and so James and I snuck outside for a while so he could get a first look at his book in the light and not the dim lighting of the restaurant. He seemed pretty pleased. Nearly as pleased as me, in fact.
He confessed to feeling a little manic, and I can see why. It is a crowning achievement by him. I didn’t feel manic, just deeply contented at seeing what a great job he has done. In fact, not only James, but also Cate Sutherland, our publisher, and everyone at the Fremantle Press have done, including the lovely traceygibbs.com, as she now calls herself? Tracey Gibbs was Head Designer at the Press and designed lots of heads, and all my previous book jackets, until she went freelance a few years ago.
I also thought it a little symbolic that James first saw his new book about Vikings on the birthday of Danish writer and King of Children’s books, Hans Christian Andersen. (Less symbolic, I hope, than poor little Knut, the cute polar bear, dropping dead in Berlin Zoo a week before.)
The official release date is June 24th and we’ll have a great big launch on the same day that all Vikings in the entire world (including you) will be invited to (see top right of the blog for more details). I had hoped to have a burning Viking Longship launched out to sea to celebrate the launching, but I’m getting distinct murmurings about water pollution, River Police, as well as Health and Safety, especially with my plan to fire burning arrows from the shore to set it alight. And it will be mid-winter and none of us is hardy enough, like real Vikings, to stand in the cold, pouring rain while me and my brothers fire lethal flaming missiles into the air. The last time we attempted anything like that, the Kalamunda Fire Brigade ended up having to be called.