Sunday, May 31, 2009

Literati.. very GC

It’s just as well my good mate and fellow Pan Macmillan author Peter Watt was trapped in his home by rising floodwaters and couldn’t make it to this years Gold Coast council Literati writers’ event.

If he had, I might be dead.

Hung over, Legion of Fans (LOF) is what I am right now, as I type this from the grandly named but still fairly unglitzy Gold Coast International Airport (the airport formerly known as Coolangatta).

The last time Peter Watt and I caught up for a drink we pulled stumps at four in the morning and by that time Peter had convinced me that it would be a good idea to start my next book (IVORY, the one due out August 1) with a scene where modern day pirates hijack a huge car carrying ship.

When I eventually sobered up I thought to myself that no one would believe a car carrier being hijacked (in order to steal its load of factory-fresh automobiles), but real-life Somali pirates later seized a ship carrying tanks for the Kenyan Army, so I figured my pirates could, after all, get away with making off with a few Hummer H3s.

Even with Peter’s absence (which I really was very disappointed about), I still managed to end up talking Swahili by the end of the Literati Dinner. I had an absolutely sensational time and have decided that Literati is the best writers’ festival I’ve ever been to (in fact, it’s the only one, but from what I know of the others, this one is still the best).

At the dinner forty authors (all much more famous than me) and about 150 guests all chowed down in the Gold Coast Arts Centre and us people what can write moved from table to table in between courses.

I met many very nice people, including readers Bruce and Mark who came to the event as a result of being spammed by me when I put out my first e-newsletter recently. I thank you and your significant others for coming along and I wish I could have spent more time with you (especially as you two knew who I was).

However, I was able to sell a couple of books to complete strangers and meet some new and interesting people, such as the lady who told me how her husband reads “romance” scenes to her in the privacy of their boudoir.

I think it should be compulsory for all literary events to include an all-you-can-drink bar (or at least I did before waking this morning).

I like the Gold Coast, or, as it is called these days, the GC.

A Sydney friend of mine was pooh-poohing Surfer’s Paradise when I told him I was heading for the Coast for this event. “Too much concrete blah blah blah; fake tans, fake boobs blah blah blah,” he went on at me. He was wrong, of course - all the tans are real on the GC.

Sure, there may be a higher-than-national-average amount of concrete high rises and silicone on the GC but, hey, they do make for stunning views.

This morning (Saturday, actually, as I'm posting all this a day late), I went for a 10-kilometre run to attempt to sober up before my midday talk at Southport Library, and to punish myself for my excessive drinking and non-sensical dinner table talk.

And guess what, one-eyed Sydney fans… never before on a run have I encountered so many g’days and smiles and so much all-round friendliness while pounding the waterfront. The people of the GC seem very comfortable in their tanned wrinkly skins. They’re happy to be alive and no longer working (either temporarily or permanently) and very friendly to strangers.

It’s the sort of place where if you’re not on holiday or on the run from a crime committed elsewhere, then you’re probably retired. In short, everyone is happy to be there, rather than in Sydney or Melbourne or Auckland.

It was a good run, and an easy one, thanks to the total lack of hills. Who says reclaiming swamp land is bad? Even the footpaths are friendlier in Surfers.

I spoke to a very nice and very responsive audience at the library today (yesterday) and did my best to appear lucid and sober. I also met some more very nice people who knew who I was (thank you, Moira and Karen for coming along) and did my best to push Peter Watt’s books as well as mine (Peter was also supposed to be at the talk with me).

Getting back to the dinner, the other good thing (apart from the unlimited booze) was being able to meet other book writers. It is, as we say in cliché-land, a lonely business writing books, so it was good to me to get together with other people who suffer as I do for my Legion of Fans.

On that note, LOF, the word is that my shipboard book club engagement on board the MV Pacific Dawn is still going ahead. (For the non-Australians, the Pacific Dawn has recently been quarantined due to an outbreak of Swine Flu and scurvy among its passengers and crew).

GC one weekend, Tonga the next… The things I do for you, LOF. Spare a thought me and those of your fellow readers in peril on the sea next week.

(PS: I’ll be past a couple of deadlines next week, so expect many trivial tales from the South Pacific).


Katherine Howell said...

Hi Tony,
it was great to meet you at Literati! And I can testify before your LOF that you did go for that run - I mean, I'm not implying that you may have been lying or anything ... like ... that ... - but Cate Kennedy and I were sitting in the foyer and saw you return with your T shirt all sweated to your back. Impressive!

tonypark said...

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the very lovely and talented Katherine Howell (above) who has pre-empted my next post where I was going to give shameless plugs to all the other (Pan Macmillan) authors I met at Literati.

Off to her website, now, the lot of you. Then to the bookshop on Monday to buy her books.

Welcome to the blog, Katherine. It's an honour to have you here and great to meet you at Surfers.

I learned a very good trick from Katherine at the function - handing out chocolates at book signings. This is an excellent way of breaking the ice with customers in bookshops and shaming them into buying your books. Stand by for free confectionary at my next signing!

Heidihi said...

Chocolate is always good, although I did enjoy the bubbles in Dymocks when you came up to Brisbane.

Impressed with the 10km run. Surprised you liked Suffers er I mean Surfers. It's all a bit fake/man made for me.

Looking forward to the new book.

tonypark said...

Thanks Heidihi. Yes, I'm a firm believer that alcohol and chocolate should be part of any book signing event.

ali g said...

Your 10k run has shamed me into dusting off the treadmill and starting the walking again.
Last 3 days, 1st day 2k, then 3k and today 4k. Tomorrow the world as soon as I fix the stubby holder onto the frame so can do my walk, drink beer and watch TV at the same time.

Gotta get trim for Xmas in Africa.

Now you've dusted off Wilbur pleased you're going to do some 'Tales from the South Pacific'

Dont worry about upstaging Michener.....dead you know.

Have a nice boat trip. you deserve it...sniff


Les said...

Alcohol and chocolate are good for book signings but also very good when reading them.

Have a great trip but don't get p*ssed and fall overboard.
We look forward to your South Pacific updates.

Trin said...

Hope you both enjoy your cruise, which should be fun. Try not to eat or drink too much - ha ha, cruises are a veritable almost non-stop smorgasbord of eating and drinking (tax free of course which means you can drink double the normal amount but you have to watch to make sure they give you a full shot). Might be an idea to brush up on your French before you get to Noumea - at least to be able to ask for a coffee in French the way you like it - short black, latte, cappuccino etc - as they will pretend black and blue they have no idea what you are asking for. I have reasonable school girl French and was still looked at as if I have two heads (which I dont).

For those of you who want to see where Tony is (generally speaking)at any given time, check out Pacific Dawn Cruise Cam on the internet - big brother cruise cam gives a shot over the bow which is updated every 30/60 seconds via satellite - good viewing when in sight of land - not so much otherwise. And if you want to see a bit of the world live from your lounge chair and have nothing better to do with your time - check out the other P&O ships - they all have cruise cam - you can go to pretty well anywhere at any time of the day or night.

Les said...

Hi Trin thanks for that bit of info,now I can see where our overworked and fearless author is during his trip.

Trin said...

Fearless maybe, overworked???????

Doesnt really sound like it Les