20 September 2010
The publication date that has hovered ahead for so long finally arrives and with it a slight sense of anti-climax. Like landmark birthdays it is just another day, not disimilar to the ones that preceded it. No fuss or fanfares. Much more fun was the launch party at Waterstone's in Hampstead a few days later. Unlike other highly publicised recent book launches we had not beent deterred by threats of violence and the throwing of eggs and shoes. Even the attempts by Thames Water to recreate the trenches of the Somme in the road outside did not hinder a large crowd that quickly filled the upstairs of the bookshop. Tamarind had done us proud with wine and eats and its founder, Verna Wilkins, spoke movingly about her 23 year struggle to provide books for a multi-cultural society and quoted a glowing commendation for the imprint from Children's Laureate, Michael Rosen. Commissioning Editor Patsy Isles brought the company up to date with its first fiction title - THE YOUNG CHIEFTAIN - and I told the story of how it had originally been conceived as a movie with the giant Disney Corporation, but they had backed off when almost in production when they realised that the hero's father dies. It was then that I vowed I would turn it, one day, into a novel. Three teenagers stepped forward to read extracts from the story with astonishing confidence and fluency.
Suddenly it felt like the book was really published and my Young Chieftain was setting out, hopefully to survive and prosper in a tough world.