During a recent visit by the two halves of Angelica Banks (Heather Rose and Danielle Wood) to a library full of class three and four students, the Angelicas asked the children “how long do you think it takes to write a book?”. “Three weeks,” they suggested. “Or maybe three months.” When we told them it had taken us three years to write Finding Serendipity, they were visibly awestruck. Three years earlier, they had been what they now considered to be very young children. They had been in Prep, or Class One, they protested. That was forever ago. And they soon worked out that this extraordinary quantity of time passed had implications not only for themselves: the library shelves that surrounded them, populated with slim volumes, now had a whole new meaning in terms of effort and commitment.
The amount of time it takes to produce a book (write it, rewrite it, edit it, see it through the process of publication) is one of the things that makes a book launch seem so surreal when at last the day arrives. The labour of producing a book happens away from the public eye. Mostly you are in private, at your desk, on the phone, in your ugg boots. Then the book is ready and it’s time to put on your shiny self, frock up and launch the book into the world. For me, it’s always like walking out of the semi-darkness into a brightly lit surprise party where all my friends and family are waiting, smiles on their faces. Even though I know a book launch coming up, I am still, somehow, caught unawares.
The launch of Finding Serendipity at Fullers Bookshop on Saturday, April 27 was special for both of the Angelicas. For one thing, this is our first children’s book, which meant that our crowd was different: it was full of children. They sat in the front and listened carefully and their evident enthusiasm for the world of stories was a tonic for any tired soul, nearly worn out by hearing how precarious is the future of books and reading. Right there, in front of us, was the future of books and reading, and it was both bright and beautiful.
The Angelicas signed copies of Finding Serendipity, using a special stamp that replicates their composite signature. Here, they are signing for fellow writer, Rachael Treasure.
The little blue-winged heroine of Finding Serendipity, Vivienne Small, made an appearance at the launch, thanks to Miss Xanthe Godfrey.
One of the Angelicas gets ready to fly home.