Squeeeee! It’s publication day! The day ‘Pop!’ hits the bookshop shelves and Kindle … ? whatever the ebook equivalent of shelves is (is there are word for this? Someone should think one!) Anyway, the country is all decked out in bunting and they’ve even declared a bank holiday so I can celebrate the release of my latest masterpiece! Bless the dear old Queen for going to all this fuss on account of little old me and my booky-wook!
Once again, I am on my hols on this momentous day. And most appropriately I’m up in the grim North West, land of my birth and childhood and also where ‘Pop!’ is set too! So I have a plan to make sure publication day goes with a bang – tell me what you think; I may have gone a little over the top …
In the spirit of ‘Pop!’ – which is about three kids who decide that celebrity is the solution to all their problems, and who have a creative approach to telling the truth – I’m thinking of staging a full on ‘celeb’ moment!!!! I have it all planned but I’m beginning to have second thoughts about certain aspects…
So, here’s what I’m thinking. Once again, I have primed the family. My mum, hubbie, brother, children and I are going to go to Warrington Waterstones where we are going to admire the star-spangled loveliness of ‘Pop!’ nestling on the shelves. My little brother (six foot five, Non-league footie fan and inspiration for the character of Jimmy, although he will never know it because the likelihood of him actually reading my book is just about zilch!) will wear dark sunglasses and bodyguard attire. He will look round shiftily and mutter into an imaginary earpiece, ‘Standing by. Here comes one of the finest writers of teen fiction of recent years (according to The Guardian)!’ and such like stuff!
Meanwhile my mother (looks a bit like the Queen, favours floral attire and has never been drunk in her whole life) will be carrying a corgi and a copy of ‘Murder at Balmoral’ and wearing one of those little blue tea-cosy hats and a badge saying ‘Sixty years today!’ She will sweep into the shop, closely followed by my two children (both waving Union Jack flags and draped in bunting!) declaring in a Queenie sort of voice, ‘I told Philip that all I want for my Jubilee is a copy of ‘Pop!’. Did you know it was Editor’s pick in ‘The Bookseller’ and they described it as ‘Billy Elliot’ meets ‘The X Factor’ via ‘Shameless’?’
She will then do a Windsor like chortle causing the corgi to hiccup. ‘And I just LOVE ‘Shameless’ – Camilla got me into it!’ she will prattle on in her christmas speech voice. ‘Oh, and I have a huge crush on that yummy Gary Barlow – who I’m told might just feature (thinly disguised) in Bruton’s latest masterpiece. She is a real ‘rising star’ according to the critics, dontcha know! Anyway, I told Philip a thousand times but would he listen? And Charles was no better! No, if one wants something one just has to go out and get it oneself!’
The children will then break into an all-singing, all dancing rendition of ‘Bop to the Top’ from ‘High School Musical’, only changing the lyrics to ‘Pop to the Top’ (the name of the fictionalised and barely disguised version of ‘The X Factor’ which appears in ‘Pop!’ I know, I know – my literary influences are woeful! )
My eight year old son is currently less keen on this element of the plan than my seven year old daughter (who knows all the dance moves and has gone all Lady Gaga on me – yup, she is definitely a big source of inspiration for my crazy main character, Elfie!) but I figure that if they just keep singing ‘Pop, pop, pop – Pop to the top!’ it’s bound to get stuck in the heads of all passing customers who then will feel irresistibly compelled to by copies of my gorgeous new paperback baby! I was thinking of trying to train the corgi to dance too – you know a sort of nod to Ashleigh and Pudsey, of ‘BGT’ fame – but I thought that might be taking it too far. What do you think?
My hubbie was originally told to say nothing because he is a posh Southerner and no one ever understand s a word he’s saying once we get north of Birmingham but on second thoughts I’m thinking of slinging a camera around his neck and casting him as a paparazzi – stalking me and snapping madly as I flounce into the shop with my hair in curlers (a la ‘Desperate Scousewives’ – definite source of inspiration for the style elements of ‘Pop!’) and dressed like Kerry Katona (also featured in novel!) with massive dark glasses on and probably a small poodle in a handbag (I’ve always wanted one of those!)
At this point my small children will pause their singing and dancing extravaganza and rush over screaming! ‘It’s her! The famous author. The one who’s debut ‘We Can be Heroes’ featured as one of ‘The Sunday Times’ top books of 2011. Wow! She looks so much taller in real life!’ (OK – scrub that last bit – but a girl can dream!) ‘I heard that nice Anthony McGowan who reviews for ‘The Guardian’ said that he loved her first book but if anything he likes ‘Pop!’ even more. And ‘The Bookseller’ said it was, ‘wonderful funny contemporary storytelling with characters who really get under your skin.’!’
They will then flock over and mug me with demands for autographs and signed photos which I will graciously dispense, leading other store customers to assume I am a huge ‘sleb – like J K Rowling or Will – I – am (Lord! I love that little man – if ‘The Voice’ had been out when I was writing ‘Pop!’ he would sooo have been in it!) As a result of all the above shenanigans, the store will have a rush on buying copies of my books and I will be mugged with fans.
What do you think of the plan so far? I think I may have been a teensy weensy bit influenced by my main character Elfie – thinker-upper of crazy mad-cap plans and all round giant whopping fibber with a celeb obsession and dodgy Eighties via ‘Heat’ magazine dress sense? And I think I may have forgotten one vital element of the plan ….!
I did mention that Warrington is my hometown, right? Greenhall Whitley land is where I was born and grew up. It’s a place where I once sported a dodgy corkscrew Kylie perm, where I snogged Tim 2 behind the chipshop, where I went through my dodgy Indie phase and my even dodgier ‘Stock Aitken and Waterman’ phase. There are people there who know me! People I went to school with. Like Sarah Murawski and Angela Heesom ( the coolest girls in the school and possibly – just possibly, mind – the inspiration for the characters of Pinkie and Kirby!) And like Luke Dwyre whom I loved unconditionally from the ages of 12 – 15 (excluding my Tim 1 phase, but not my Mikey Babb phase – sorry, Mike!)
And the thing about going back to your hometown is you immediately revert back to the kid you were when you were thirteen (in my case a kid with absurdly fluffy hair, the wrong school skirt and a pair of Bauer Turbo rollerskates with neon pink and blue laces and matching wheels). So I’m not sure I can pull off the ‘sleb act in the town where I had a Saturday job in ‘Beaverbrooks the Jewellers’ and fell over flat on my face in the snow outside Mr Smith’s nightclub then threw up over my white stilettos (No, mum I had not been drinking too much and I was wearing a coat – honest!) Because what if I see somebody I went to school with??!!!!
OK, I’m beginning to feel it may not work. Perhaps the character of Elfie – gobby, funny and shameless – is not really a good role model for me! I’d like to think maybe I’m Agnes: beautiful, shy and totally unaware of her supermodel good looks and superstar singing voice. Hmm – maybe not! So, perhaps I’m Jimmy: tall, lanky (OK, not that bit maybe) amazing at swimming (nor that bit) uncool but kind of sweet and loyal (that fits!). It could be worse, I suppose. And he does sort of get all the love story interest in the book!
Oh, bother! I think I’m going to have to come up with a new plan – and fast. Wait, doesn’t that sound a bit like a line from my book? Hang on, maybe if I tried to recreate the teenage Kylie perm and rollerskates look …? What do you think?