Tag Archives: Waterstones

At last – the Book Launch!

Denise1It was all going so well.

Waterstones had kindly allowed me to hold the launch of my debut novel as ‘Fenella Forster’: Annie’s Story, Book 1 of The Voyagers trilogy, in their Tunbridge Wells branch last week on the proviso that at least thirty people would turn up, having reserved £3 tickets beforehand.

Launch general







The lure was free wine and nibbles, and three quid off the book if anyone kindly bought a copy. Plus they would get me entertaining them with a scintillating talk and reading a short extract from the novel. What’s not to like?

Mayoral groupArms still twisted behind their backs, old and new friends and ex-business colleagues duly came through the bookshop door. Including the Mayor and Mayoress of Tunbridge Wells. I’d met the mayor once at the Tunbridge Wells Business Forum and just called him ‘Julian’, but was not quite sure how to address the couple when they were ‘on duty’. Luckily, my fantastic critique writing partner and friend, thriller novelist, Alison Morton, was staying with me a few days to coincide with my launch. She made me practice several times on how to greet them correctly and welcome them to the audience. I also had to announce that the Mayor was going to say a few words.

Loving itAfter saying hello and having a quick chat to all my adoring fans(!) and making sure Alison had put a drink in everyone’s hand (she was furniture mover and book and banner setter-upper, wine waiter, photographer, movie-maker, and clearer-upper – thanks, Alison 😉 ). I asked them to take a seat so the talk could begin.

I thanked everyone for coming, and got stuck straight into my talk.

Anyone spotted my omission? Yes, you have it. I completely ignored Mayor Julian and Mayoress Annie. I was ten minutes in when I smiled at the two of them sitting on the front row, and it immediately clicked. My hand flew to my forehead and I said: ‘Oh, no, I’ve forgotten to introduce the Mayor and Mayoress!’

Denise realises

Denise realises the awful truth!

‘I can’t believe it,’ Alison put in from the sidelines where she was pointing her camera. ‘I’ve spent the afternoon rehearsing her.’

Of course, everyone screamed with laughter. So did I, but I turned my face to the wall pretending to sob, then turned round and acted as though we were right at the beginning.
‘Welcome, everyone, and thank you so much for coming to share such an exciting celebration. Also, I’d like to welcome the Mayor and Mayoress of Tunbridge Wells.’ I looked directly at the couple.

‘Thank you so much for coming, Councillor Stanyer, and Mrs Stanyer. I believe you’d like to say a few words, Councillor Stanyer.’

Mayor speaking‘I would,’ he said, grinning as he rose from the chair. He proceeded to give a funny talk on how he and I had first met, and I’d slipped him a copy of my previous book, Seller Beware: How Not To Sell A Business, saying he’d be on pain of death if he told anyone I hadn’t charged him. He said how delighted he was to come to the launch of my first novel.

Everyone clapped. The Mayor and Mayoress queued at the end of the evening and bought two copies of Annie’s Story. And paid for them! All was well.

And on to the signing!



Happy author







Signing 7










Annie's story



Annie’s Story is now available from
Amazon UK  Amazon US  Kobo  B&N Nook

Publication Day!

champagne1I may have mentioned this in a previous post but it doesn’t hurt to say it again. I began The Voyagers trilogy a whole decade ago. Mind you, in that time I wrote and had published two non-fiction books, ran a business, sold a business, bought it back three years later, sold it again last June, and drafted the whole Voyagers trilogy, each novel being around 125,000. So I haven’t been idle. But all those events in my life didn’t take me to the one thing I wanted more than anything – to see my novel in Waterstones’ window.

Until now. The first book in the trilogy called Annie’s Story, is out today! And it’s in Waterstones’ window in Tunbridge Wells! It’s enough to give the author (moi, Fenella Forster) the shivers.

Writing a novel rarely flows from the writer into a wonderfully cohesive storyline with well-developed and interesting characters who conflict with one another, and have enough bad stuff thrown at them that the reader wonders how they will cope, or get out of a scary situation, or pull a relationship together. The only obvious exception might be Barbara Cartland, and even she must have developed her indomitable confidence and storytelling from the first shaky beginning!

What I’m saying is, it hasn’t come easy. It all takes time. You can’t rush the process.

Many times I almost gave up. That’s where your critique writing partner, writing buddy, tutor – call her or him what you will – comes in with words of encouragement and sometimes even uses shock tactics to force you to get going again. I think this might have happened to me when I’d finished my first draft and had no idea if it was any good or not.

But at least 25 drafts later – yes, I know you’re thinking that sounds obsessive, but I’ve read that many well-known writers redraft up to as many as 50 times – I finally knew it was ready for the editor, then the copy-editor, and several proof-readings by me.

In between these stages, the cover designer was busy, and the thrilling result definitely spurred me on when I realised my dream was turning into the most wonderful reality.

Annie's Story coverI’ve commissioned a PR consultant to help readers become aware of Annie’s Story – discoverability, I believe it’s called, and I’ve had postcards, business cards and a banner printed, all with the image of the cover. I think these advertising props are crucial in spreading the word.

There is so much more at stake when writing fiction as opposed to non-fiction. You’re judged on your imagination rather than facts. That’s pretty personal. And I know it’s going to wound if I get a bad/or even just a mediocre review. I’m just hoping that Annie’s Story will touch readers’ hearts, and if they are kind enough to give me a good review you will see me dance with joy.


Annie’s Story by Fenella Forster is now available (ebook and paperback)
Order through any good book shop or online
Amazon UK      Amazon US

At last – the book launch!

DCF 1.0I thought I was all prepared for the book launch for Seller Beware: How Not To Sell Your Business on Tuesday evening, 16th April at Waterstones in Tunbridge Wells. After all, I’d had weeks to plan it.

My several pages of the talk were now reduced to five lined index cards with odd words highlighted to prompt the (often failing) memory. I’d packed a box of spare books, special bookmarks, wine and soft drinks, corkscrews, nibbles and bowls, tablecloths, new Cross pink girlie signing pen (pen wasn’t cross; it was the make!), the banner, and some business cards.

I’d rehearsed my talk. I’d bought a gorgeous cerise-coloured frock.  My foot with the broken bone squashed nicely into one of the pair of shiny black wedges (none of my evening shoes would fit) and I was ready.

Nothing could go wrong.

I planned to leave at 5.30pm on the Tuesday to give myself plenty of time to unload all the stuff and help the staff to prepare the room ready for the expected 60 – 70 people.

On the Monday evening my estranged husband who is temporarily staying with me so I can look after him after a big bowel cancer operation followed by chemotherapy, didn’t want his supper. Next morning (my launch day) he only ate a small bowl of porridge. No lunch. By mid afternoon he was still in bed so I thought I’d better take his temperature. It was up. When that happens he has to go straight to the A&E.

Off we went. Thankfully, I live in Pembury where we have a brand-new hospital in the village, so it’s only a five minute drive. We sat in A&E, me looking surreptitiously at my watch every couple of minutes. I’d had no lunch and there’d be no time to eat now.
At 4.15pm I told him: ‘I’m going to have to leave you or I’ll be late.’
He nodded and mumbled: ‘I know. Good luck.’ He closed his eyes.

Feeling awful, I left him on a horrible metal chair in A&E, but at least I knew he’d be in safe hands. I rushed home, had quick cup of tea, showered, did hair, zipped into pink dress, earrings, necklace, shoes, and packed up the car with all the stuff. The car was out of the drive at exactly 5.30pm but I was trembling.

DB_Wstones_windowI arrived at the back of Waterstones where you can unload, telling myself I had to block out everything now, including Edward, and concentrate on the talk. The show had to go on!

So did it? All will be revealed in the next post…

Book Launch at Waterstones – Tuesday 16th April 2013!

champagneIt’s been rather exciting since Tuesday when my book Seller Beware: How Not To Sell Your Business was published by Biteback Publishing. I’ve had several editors of local newspapers and magazines ring me saying they wanted to interview me or print extracts from the book. That’s the easy bit – answering questions and deciding what extracts would be suitable for them.

The nerve-wracking bit is the book launch.  It’s to be held at my local branch of Waterstones on Tuesday, 16th April at 7pm. Tickets are apparently flying out of the door so I’ll be bringing gallons of pink champagne and red wine and soft drinks – yes, so far, so good. I’ve asked lots of family and friends, ex-colleagues in the estate agency business who I haven’t seen for decades, present staff of the new estate agency business, along with my co-director, and hopefully some members of the public off the street, so to speak.

It will be great to see so many friends again, and reminisce about the ‘good old days’. Still, so far, so good. But when 7.15 comes around, the Waterstones staff will announce it’s time to give my half-hour talk. That’s when my heart will start to pound, my stomach will start doing cartwheels, and my brain will start to pack up.

I read somewhere that many surveys have been carried out asking people how they feel about giving talks. Apparently, ‘death’ is at the top of the list! People would rather die than stand up and give a talk. I wouldn’t go quite that far, but it is nerve-wracking – until you get started. Once I begin I’m fine, secretly enjoying the attention. And it’s brilliant when you make ‘em laugh with your incredible wit. But my fear is that my mind will go blank. Of course, that’s what everyone fears. That they’ll look stupid. Actually, it doesn’t bother me to look stupid – it happens too often for me to take much notice – but I really want to get across certain points, and I pride myself on not reading from the script. But I do rely on my handful of little cards with prompts, in case I veer off course or forget entirely what I’m on about.

So please think of me this coming Tuesday evening, and raise a glass to all authors who have finally got themselves ‘in print’, bringing upon themselves this stressful situation. Another glass of champagne, please.

PS I’ll let you know how it goes and maybe even post a few photographs.

A case of pre-launch nerves

Photo0004I’m excited and nervous. It’s only a week to Publication Day, 9th April (I’ve put this in capitals on purpose) of my book Seller Beware: How Not To Sell Your Business.

Yesterday, I went into Waterstones to take in a new colour poster about my talk on the 16th April. But I forgot the damned posters!  That was my whole point about going in. Grrrrr.

Anyway, I had a nice chat with one of the booksellers.
He said, ‘Good news.  The books are in already.  But we were a bit surprised as we can’t sell them yet.’
‘Well, it’s not officially published until 9th April,’ I told him.
‘We can usually start selling books a couple of weeks before publication date,’ he said, ‘but your publishers have put an embargo on Seller Beware until Thursday.’
‘What exactly does that mean?’
‘If anyone comes in to buy the book before Thursday we’re not allowed to sell it to them,’ he said, adding, ‘This happens occasionally, but only if a national paper is going to serialise it or the authors happen to be Dan Brown or JK Rowling.’
‘Well, isn’t it nice that those two are in such good company?’ I laughed.

That’s probably the only time my name will be linked to the likes of bestsellers Dan Brown and JK Rowling, but I couldn’t help giving a little hop and a skip when I got outside the shop.