Launching Cold Crash
Cold Crash has officially launched, and I've done three readings in three weeks. Each have had a very different audience, and each reading has received a slightly different response.
For my first launch, at Owl Bookshop, I read one chapter, chapter 12. I read this because it was one of the first I wrote for the whole novel. Once I'd written it, I felt I knew Max and John Knox, and I could write the rest of the story. However, it felt like a long chunk to read.
For the next reading, at the University of Hertfordshire, I read three small sections and I introduced each. I did this partly as a teaching exercise (a lot of the audience was made up of my students) - explaining how I embedded historical research and details about Max in the prologue and opening chapters. So, for example, John Knox refers to Max's American accent in the prologue, although she replies that she isn't American. I mention a 'police action' in the first few sentences of the first chapter (although I didn't realise until much later that if you aren't obsessed with M*A*S*H, you might not know Korea was a police action).
I enjoyed having the breaks to discuss the sections, so I followed the same format at the launch hosted by Cinnamon Press and InWords at the West Greenwich Library. This reading I shared with Stephanie Percival, author of The Kim's Game. She had an interesting approach to the reading - she did part of it, set up the scenes, and they were then read by her husband. I read the prologue, part of the opening chapter (again, an interaction between Max and John Knox), and the crash in chapter 5.
I think the best reading I ever heard was from Tracy Chevalier in 2003 at Cardiff University. It was right after Saddam Hussain's statue was toppled, and she read selections from her novels about icons falling or being destroyed. It was very powerful.
Cold Crash doesn't seem as directly topical, but I enjoyed the process of putting together three different readings. And now I'm sort of looking forward to stopping practising reading aloud in my living room!