Sunday, March 16, 2014

Successful Book Launch at McNally Robinson

It's been a busy day already! This morning it was an interview at CBC and this afternoon was my official book launch at +McNally Robinson Booksellers. Since this is my first, I was a bit worried that I would only have 5 people show up - Robin, and Sharm and her family. But there must have been about 40 people in total. Nice surprise!
Some of the people included Mom, Jim F, Brent K, Arlene P, Irene F-H, Chantal S, Mary E, Stan C and Hugh L. I was glad to see a lot of familiar faces so that dispelled any nervousness I may have felt. Robin did a brief introduction and he had the crowd chuckling. He talked about how he was told that if he married me when I was so young, he'd be able to mould me into the kind of woman he wanted. He said that he was confident that he did not mould me; instead I was the one who did the moulding.  

 Robin doing his intro
 Robin doing his intro

Sandra - doing my reading

 Sandra - explaining the meaning of the blue lotus
I picked out and read four or five diary entries (passages) from different parts of the book starting with one of the first entries from 1963. After the readings, there were some questions from the audience, some of whom were people who heard the CBC interview this morning and attended.
One of the questions that keeps coming up is the concept of an arranged marriage. It seems to fascinate people. Another one was about the names I used in the book and whether some of the incidents are fiction. I explained at the beginning of the book that all the incidents took place but some names were changed - especially those for which I did not write about the person favourably. I also said that although the book is written in the form of a diary, they were not my diary entries (as I did not write in an autoethnographic style) and I did not at any time refer to my diaries for any content. Everything I wrote was from memory.
I was also asked how long it took to write: about one month. It took much longer to publish - many months in fact.  I was also asked about my understanding of culture. When you are raised as a Christian by a Hindu father and a Muslim mother, you learn to accept people in ways that you might not ordinarily have to.
I stayed around and chatted with a few people and then it was over. By the time I returned home feeling like a minor celebrity from two big events today (yes these are big events for me!), I felt quite good about the reading. I have high hopes that readers will engage with some of the themes I wrote about and in fact, several people have said that they can relate to many of the stories. Some of them are quite poignant, some sad and some funny. That's what I hoped for.
Now, off to babysit my grandbabies tonight.

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