Friday, September 30, 2011

Author Bumping in Australia by Prue Batten

Is author bumping the same as stalking? Depends on the POV I suppose. But if I want to see a favourite author, of course I’m stalking, no doubt!

That said, did I stalk Irish writer, Cathy Kelly when I bought a ticket to ‘Afternoon Tea with Cathy Kelly’ from my local bookshop?

She was publicizing Once in a Lifetime and I excitedly turned up at the venue, a large reception room in a gracious hotel in Hobart (Australia). It was hot, the room stacked to the brim with women who buzzed like bees in a bottle, drinking tea, eating the sumptuous spread on each table and anticipating seeing a star from the writing world. Cathy bounced into the room, all blonde Irish vivacity, and began to talk about life for an hour with barely a breath, taking questions from the floor and walking and speaking the whole time. A whirlwind in motion.

I remember I wore an orange silk knit cardigan, a tiny thing, very sweet… loved it. I also remember that I had just had my first book published in the UK – a fantasy called The Stumpwork Robe. And being gauche and green, I took a copy of my book along with Cathy’s latest in my handbag. My idea was to shanghai her in a corner, get her to sign her book and then give her a copy of mine to read!

I had no need to shanghai her. As she went to sit at the table in order to sign books, she said to me as she passed, ‘I LOVE the colour of your cardigan, it caught my eye through the whole afternoon.’ We chatted about colours that we liked and both being blonde, what suited us and then I held out her book for her to sign. I passed my own book over in a brown paper bag and doesn’t that smack of something tacky! I whispered that I was a new writer and she tipped the book out of the bag and said in a loud Irish brogue, ‘Be proud of this and sign it for me!’ in front of the line of readers waiting for their turn with her. I flushed red with embarrassment, not a good look with orange, and sweat trickled under my arms as I walked past them all later, my eyes downcast, their whispers reaching my ears. ‘Who is she? What’s she written?’ Gaaah!

The other bump was at another author talk – Australian writer Posie Graeme Evans after her historical fiction The Dressmaker was published. A gregarious woman, she talked spontaneously and with great charm for ages and then sat to sign. When I reached the table, she said ‘I know you! I worked with you!’

I thought Crumbs, did you? And madly trawled back through my working life to think when and where?

‘You were at the ABC,’ she said. (Think Australia’s version of the BBC)

It was true… I had worked as a researcher/journalist years before, a lifetime before. And what frustrated me but made me realise what a memory for faces she has, is that she remembered me but (absolutely no offence to her at all) I could not remember her. She had meanwhile become a famous TV producer responsible for the globally popular Mcleod’s Daughters and the author of four best-selling hist.fict novels and yet she still recalled my face after all that time… 20 to 30 years ago!

My response in the queue? I flushed red with embarrassment (not so bad this time because there was no orange cardigan to clash with) and sweat trickled under my arms. I turned away at the end of our chat, eyes downcast, aware of the whispers. ‘Who is she? What’s she done?’ Double gaaah!

Despite me having another book published for print and both that title and the previous one released as e-books, the flush factor, let alone the confidence factor, doesn’t appear to get any better as I get older. Ah well, as they say, that’s life!

Prue just released a wonderful new book, a fantasy called A Thousand Glass Flowers as an e-book in the first week of September with the print version following later in the year.   
A Thousand Glass Flowers UK               A Thousand Glass Flowers US

Side note:
I LOVE this book!

Prue on Prue ~

The best way to describe myself would be to use a quote written about me on a recent blog (

Here it is: ‘I live in Tasmania, have a pet Tasmanian Devil called Gisborne, eat kangaroos’ testicles, have the most ridiculous one-star ever awarded on Amazon, and wrote a novel on Twitter…’

Believe it or not, most of it is true. My husband and I own a farm so we do have lots of kangaroos around, but the testicles? Ugh! As to the Tasmanian Devil? I wish I did have one for a pet, but as recently reported in the Huffington Post, the poor little things are suffering the ravaging effects of a disease that is bringing them to the edge of extinction. Better the scientists and conservation zoos look after them than me. And I do have a one star on Amazon… a woman bought my first book thinking it was an embroidery book despite the blurb and then gave ME a one star despite her mistake. And yes, myself and 50 others wrote a Jane Austen style novel on twitter which was mentioned by The Times (UK) no less. Me in a nutshell!
Thank you, Prue! This has been a real delight!

Prue can be reached at Mesmered's Blog and at Prue


  1. Thank you for a lovely post, Prue and Barbara. Cathy Kelly and Posie Graeme Evans sound like kind, wonderful people. Prue, I'm so glad I kept reading after that blog quote about the kangaroo testicles and even more glad that part isn't actually true.

  2. I really like all of those stories, Prue. I also love the sound of your life - a farm with kangaroos bounding around. I'm going to check out your book.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Linda and Consuelo,
    Prue's stories are so lovely. It's great to know there are super authors out there. Also...I volunteer to work on Prue's farm doing almost anything just to experience her lifestyle. It sounds so tranquil. Hard work but great rewards.

  4. Lovely stuff. Prue is one of the class acts of the indie movement.

    Her books will still be classics long after us commercial fiction merchants are forgotten.

    Bring on Gisborne!

  5. Goodness, everyone, thank you. I'm flushing red and sweat is trickling from the armpits! You're all very very kind!

  6. Prue when I ever get to meet you, it will be me pink in the cheeks and I will be lost for words. Great to hear you are exactly like us. Love Cathy Kelly. I have all of her books. Lucky girl.

  7. Thanks Mel... will head your way, one day!

  8. Mark Williams is correct. Prue's A Thousand Glass Flowers is an instant classic. I adored that book. If you haven't read it, do yourself a favor and download a copy. It's pure magic. :)

  9. I can't wait for GISBORNE. I'm obsessed with all things Robin Hoodish.

    Prue, you're not the only person who has had a one-star review because the reviewer didn't pay attention. I have a friend whose 99 cent novella got one-stars from two different readers--because "it was so short--almost like a long short story--not a real novel at all."

    We have to hope our smarter readers will actually read the one-stars and figure it out for themselves.

    Writing a novel on Twitter is an amazing accomplishment.

    And thanks for letting me sit in your Big Red Chair this week!

  10. Anne,
    That is a classic. Complaining about the length of a novella. I love it. Thanks for sharing.