The leaves are starting to change colours and soon will be falling to the ground; it’s the end of the summer. Today is a milestone for me but it’s not an end. It’s still the beginning. I’m only getting into my stride. It’s time to celebrate! Six months ago today my novel, ‘Hitler and Mars Bars’ was released. Often when I think about it, it seems a bit unreal that, after much hard work, the book is finally in print.
But I don’t spend time thinking about it often. I’ve been too busy. Book promotion has opened up a whole new world to me – filled with lessons and meetings. I’ll probably talk about the lessons another time. As most people know, writing is a solitary occupation. So I’ve been enjoying the opportunity for meetings that ‘Hitler and Mars Bars’ publication has afforded me.
I’ve met again, sometimes after a long time, friends and family who were happy to hear about the book’s release. Many of them wanted to read the book and I was pleased when they told me they were moved by Erich’s story.
I’ve met librarians and bookshop staff, in the Irish counties where the book is set, who have ordered the novel for their libraries and bookshops. Next I will contact libraries and bookshops throughout the rest of Ireland to extend the area where it is available.
I’ve met the media. Newspapers articles and reviews as well as radio interviews have been fun ways to introduce readers to my book. Newspapers on both sides of the Irish border, from Fermanagh, Tyrone and Belfast to Leitrim, Cavan and Cork, have reviewed and written about it very positively. Here’s quotes from a couple of my favourite reviews:
“It’s a riveting story…As a novel it is extraordinarily well researched…. Beautifully written with a strong human story running through it…”
Brian D’Arcy, BBC broadcaster, Sunday World columnist, author
“An endearing story…Ascroft is superb in telling the story from Erich’s point of view…The story is both vivid and moving…”
News Letter (Belfast) 21 June 2008
I’ve also met the online community. I created my own website, www.geocities.com/dianne_ascroft, as well as joining social networking sites including MySpace, Bebo, Facebook, Goodreads and Shelfari. I enjoy chatting with readers and other writers on these sites. I’m also grateful for the help and advice I’ve received from fellow writers.
I’ve met internet radio presenters, including Tony Kay on www.artistfirst.com, and the owners of a couple diverse websites who hosted stops on my first Virtual Book Mini-Tour at the end of August. I look forward to meeting even more internet radio DJs, website owners and readers on my full Virtual Book Tour at the end of October.
And that’s just the first six months. I don’t know who else ‘Hitler and Mars Bars’ will enable me to meet in future. But I’m looking forward to finding out.
Oh, did I mention that I met Bruno, in John Boyne’s ‘The Boy In The Striped Pajamas’ ? A teacher in Fermanagh who read ‘Hitler and Mars Bars’ commented that she found similarities between the two books so I read Boyne’s novel to find out what she meant. And I can see what she is talking about. One day soon I’ll tell you more about what Bruno and my main character, Erich, have in common.
But today I will sit back and reflect on the first six months.