This last month has been busy to say the least, especially with the release of Letters from Berlin. Between learning to navigate the digital world with remote events, online blogs and reviews, podcasts, and remembering to post regularly on my author facebook page, I’ve continued writing the next book set in Southern Italy. It’s been an interesting experience becoming more involved in the marketing and publicity process. I’ll admit I knew very little about how it all worked not coming from that kind of background, but now I understand so much more. There’s a lot more to being an author than just writing a manuscript! It’s been a steep learning curve, like for many of us during this time of COVID, managing various platforms like zoom, streamyard and facebook live but I feel reasonably comfortable using them now, even with the little hiccoughs along the way! The fascinating thing has been that I can talk about my book to audiences all over the country from the comfort of my own home. I’ve loved chatting to readers and librarians in Victoria, South Australia, Queensland as well as my home state of NSW and I’m looking forward to my event in WA tomorrow.

What’s also been amazing is how we’ve been able to cut out what I can imagine might be the gruelling travel of a book tour across the Australia. It’s all been so very time efficient and who doesn’t love that, but what I have found I’ve missed is engaging with the audience and the one on one interactions. There’s nothing quite like personalised conversation and eye to eye contact.

I realised this especially when I was finally able to head out to the bookstores around Sydney last week, to sign each store’s stock of Letters from Berlin and copies of The Girl from Munich and Suitcase of Dreams too. I had a wonderful couple of days chatting about all things books and writing and talking to store managers and staff about Letters from Berlin and the state of the book industry, how they’ve managed during COVID and about the positive increase in sales this year.

The silver lining of the pandemic is that many people have turned to reading and many others are reading more. The special thing I feel is that people are placing importance and value on the purchase of a book, at a time when finances are tight or at the very least, uncertain. I just hope that this trend continues after the pandemic is over and that we all don’t just revert back to our crazy, busy lives where we only get our entertainment fix on television, through streaming services and on the internet. They’re great ‘go to’ mediums but they don’t allow the imagination to soar, develop our curiosity or even our literacy quite like a book can. A book can allow us to focus on ourselves for a while, have some quality ‘me time’. But that’s just my thoughts! I’m a booklover through and through and my favourite time is that fabulously quiet space between Christmas and New Year when there’s nothing pressing to do and I take my time to hibernate with a good book or two or even three if I’m lucky and switch off from the busyness, the constant activity and enjoy the gentle cycle of the day.

But I digress! There’s nothing like interacting face to face with people and although both days signing books were very busy, I came home energised, recharged and stimulated from the wonderful conversations. It’s easy to forget how much we need outside contact and conversation when we’re working from home, often on our own but still busy with the day to day work that needs to be done. COVID has its many challenges but it’s a good reminder to be aware of our own mental health and that of our loved ones and those around us.

I’m very excited also to be able to do my first signing event with readers on Saturday, 5th December at Dymocks, Castle Towers. We’re so lucky that we’re in such a good position here in NSW to be able to return to this wonderful face to face interaction and I can’t wait to chat with readers while I sign their copy of Letters from Berlin! So, if you’re looking for that special Christmas gift or just wanting a signed copy of Letters from Berlin for yourself and you’re in Sydney, please head down.

But if you can’t get to Castle Towers, you can go to any of the following stores where there are now signed copies of Letters from Berlin- Harry Hartog Warringah Mall, Berkelouw Books Hornsby, QBD Hornsby, Harry Hartog Macquarie Centre, QBD Bondi Junction, Harry Hartog Bondi Junction,  QBD Chatswood, Dymocks Chatswood, Kinokuniya, The Galleries, George St, Sydney,  Dymocks George St, Sydney and Berkelouw Books Paddington.