Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Crack the Champagne, It's a Book Launch!

Last Sunday, St. Johns Booksellers hosted the launch party for Ten Cents a Dance. Liz and Nena, the fabulous booksellers, cleared a big space in the middle of the store and set out all their chairs in preparation. After all, my last reading there had been a great success, with more than thirty attendees—fingers crossed that as many people might come this time!

The party started at 3 PM. By the time I started reading, at 3:15, the entire store—front to back, side to side, every chair, between every bookshelf—was standing room only. More than sixty people came out to help us celebrate! To say I was gratified would be the understatement of the year—I was utterly overwhelmed.

The crowd responded enthusiastically to the reading, and in the Q&A session following, questions flew thick and fast: about the research and writing, about taxi dancing and the Chicago of the era, what a dime would buy in 1941 (besides a dance with Ruby!), and about the opportunities and sacrifices that WWII brought to a young generation—some of whom, I was honored to discover, were in the audience. And doubly honored when they told me, afterward, that Ruby’s world seemed to them truly authentic.

I was going for some personal authenticity, myself. With the invaluable assistance of friend and fellow author Sally Nemeth, I snagged a fabulous 1940s dress. Then, armed with YouTube tutorials, advice and encouragement from the wonderful folks at the Fedora Lounge, I practiced and practiced my chosen 1940s hairstyle, reverse victory rolls and pincurls. (Our grandmothers had some dextrous fingers, to pull these off every day. Pincurls are hard!) Finally, seamed stockings, my mother’s ‘40s crocodile platform heels, a flower to top it all off—I was set!

Two days later, I’m still floating. Thank you to everyone who came to this colliding of my worlds: all my veterinary folk, my writing pals, friends, neighbors, and Tallulah fans who came to discover what this new book is all about. Special shout-outs: to my pal Amber, who bought a zoot suit costume for the occasion; to the Portland members of the Fedora Lounge, some of whom I finally got to meet in person, and whose vintage turnout put mine to shame! And especially to my good friend Walter, who flew in from Idaho just for the party, and had to fly right back out again.

A heartfelt thank you to my wonderful agent, Dorian Karchmar, who bought the champagne and sent a lovely message of congratulations. The crowd burst into quite an ovation!

And finally, my deepest gratitude to Nena and Liz of St. Johns Booksellers, who, the moment I told them I was working on a second novel, cried, “We want to host the party!” They made it a magnificent event—Liz even suffered high heels through the entire afternoon (I hope your feet have recovered, Liz!) These two are truly a class act, and their bookstore is a treasure in our neighborhood.
Thanks to them, and to all who came, and to all who couldn’t but sent their congratulations—Ten Cents a Dance is well and beautifully launched.


Bella Stander said...

Congratulations, Christine! You look GORGEOUS!!! Too bad you can't dress like that all the time--though pincurls, seamed stockings and crocodile heels aren't practical veterinary wear.

Christine Fletcher said...

Especially the crocodile heels! They're cute as can be, but just killed my poor feet. Worth every minute, though!

Anonymous said...

Good Job Chrissie! We are all so proud of you and DAMN GIRL you looked HOT to TROT!! The crowd was amazing I had to park a ways down the street and make my way down the St Johns sidewalks in my suit of major ZOOT. What fun. Can't wait to crack your new book. Love ya girlfriend Amber

Melissa Amateis said...

Wow, Christine, what an amazing book launch! I wish I could have been there! CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Now I better get back to my own novel, but I am sorely tempted to start dreaming of the wardrobe I will wear when my own WW2 book launches someday...*grin*

Anonymous said...

I am so happy for you! And I hope you continue floating for as long as you deserve - a very long time indeed! I was exhilarated to be there and wouldn't have missed it for the world, even more so afterwards than before - You were wonderful to watch: decked to the nines, confident, entertaining, ebullient, and having such a good time. Coming to this terrific event was one of the best decisions I have made for myself in a long time!
Walter Rowntree - And thanks for the mention - that's so special to me!

Christine Fletcher said...

Thanks, Melissa! I'm not a "girly-girl," so all the great advice from the Fedora Lounge came in handy! And the owner of the store where I bought the dress was spot-on in her advice about accessories. I had a LOT of help!! And yeah, it was fun to think about...I knew I'd be wearing vintage to this shindig a lo-o-o-ng gime before the book was even done. ;)

Walter, I'm glad you had a good time! Thanks again for being there--