Launching Baygirl

Launching Baygirl

A guest post from Heather Smith about planning her first book launch and incorporating Maritime culture into an event held in Ontario


9781459802742Objects can be launched in many different ways. They can be thrown, flung, shot, hurled, even catapulted, all with varying degrees of force.  But when it came to launching my debut novel, Baygirl, I wanted to set it into motion gently, like one would a boat, nudging it forward till it’s taken by the current and carried away to distant places. A fitting image, as Baygirl is set in my home province of Newfoundland which is, of course, surrounded by water.

Refreshments at Baygirl LaunchNewfoundland is a big part of me, and of Baygirl, too. I wanted to reflect this in my Waterloo launch by sharing with my Ontario friends a little bit of ‘home.’ To do this, it was essential to include the following three things:

1.    Food (and lots of it). Here is a sampling of what was scoffed down: tea buns, thumbprint cookies and raisin cake; cream crackers with partridgeberry and bakeapple jam; and tea, cups upon cups of tea. It seems you can’t write a book set in Newfoundland without making mention of food, so I had plenty of quotes to pull when labelling the sweets for my (mostly) mainland guests.

Entertainment2.    Music.  Newfoundlanders like to belt out the tunes. Luckily, so does Ontarian Kevin Coates, an amazing singer/songwriter who happens to be married to my good friend and fellow author, Nan Forler. A ‘hint-hint’ and a ‘nudge-nudge’ to Nan and not only was Kevin on board but so was their violinist daughter, Maia.  (See their performance of Tickle Cove Pond, a song featured in the book, by clicking here.)

3.    Readings, the livelier the better. To truly immerse my guests in Newfoundland culture and give them a good sense of the language, I chose scenes with plenty of dialogue. I made sure to include my favourite word: arse. Used exactly twenty-five times throughout Baygirl, finding suitable excerpts was an easy task!

Heather Smith pictured with Kristen Ciccarelli of Words Worth BooksNext, I needed a location with all the warmth and charm of an outport kitchen. Remarkably, land-locked Words Worth Books fit the bill!  Turns out, Kristen Ciccarelli, our host for the evening, had just returned from vacationing in Newfoundland. I swear I heard her greeting people with: “Come on in b’ys, sit yer arses down and we’ll tell ya some yarns.” (Hmmm, arse must be her favourite word, too).

So, there you have it. Was my book launch similar to a boat launch? Well, I didn’t smash a bottle of bubbly over my copy of Baygirl and no one got wet (although my husband says his eyes may have leaked a bit) but I like to think the book was released in a rolling, rollicking, maritime way. In fact, the whole evening can be described in one word: swell. (Ba-dum-ching!)

-Heather Smith


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