A Bombshell of a Launch!
There surely can’t be many new authors who launched their first book amid a crisis that has been likened to World War II with an invisible enemy!
The idea for the launch was fully formed in my mind’s eye before the book was even published. I knew I wanted a celebration party at the Connaught Theatre in Worthing, as Diana Dors had appeared on stage there in 1949 in ‘The Cat and the Canary’ and later she would support fellow actors and friends such as Andrew Ray, by attending their performances at the Connaught, a theatre that is steeped in history and certainly a place I wanted to my own history to be a part of.
The event would include a book signing and a film showing in keeping with the theme of the book. The movie was to be Jayne Mansfield in ‘The Girl Can’t Help It’ a film that was also offered to Diana Dors – tying the thread closer together!
Everything was looking dreamy and then just after Christmas, as we embraced the 2020s, in January Covid19 reared its vicious head!
Instinctively I stopped inviting people, the cinema holds up to 160 guests, I was around one hundred guests when I put the brake on the invitations, maybe it was instinct or possibly common sense but I had just had a feeling things weren’t going to be straight forward after all.
As the panic began to increase in February, sure enough, my guest began to dip, people started cancelling. At first, I lost guests coming from abroad, then slowly but surely locals started to cancel.
Fast forward to 5.30pm Monday 16th March, two hours before the launch was due to start. I was ready to head to the Connaught when the government called a press conference. Boris Johnson announced pubs, restaurants, clubs and theatres to close, with all social gatherings to be avoided.
This couldn’t be happening – could it? My phone started to buzz with cancellations; people had seen the news and didn’t want to leave their homes!
We phoned the venue to officially cancel but they insisted on carrying on as usual.
By now, although we had a considerable investment in the evening, I was prepared to cancel anyway.
I began making cancellation calls, stopping some people in their tracks that were travelling from places like London etc – but I couldn’t cancel everyone and to my total astonishment, so many people said they still wanted the event to go ahead. Many had booked hotels and travelled from all over the country and was already in Worthing – so I picked up my beautiful books and headed to greet these amazing people!
Oh, WHAT A NIGHT! The atmosphere was electric, everyone looked stunning and much fun and laughter were had! Books were signed by the dozen and the film was the icing on the cake!
Just waiting on the official photographs now and will share them with you as soon as they arrive.