Last night I attended a lively books event at Dymocks Ponsonby, celebrating Roy Vaughan’s first novel, THE MERELEIGH RECORD CLUB TOUR OF NEW ZEALAND (now available in paperback as well as hardcover).
It was great to see a good crowd of 40-50 people there, especially as Vaughan’s book is published by a small New York publisher, and hasn’t been widely available in New Zealand in stores. Vaughan is a former officer in the British and New Zealand Merchant Navies, and journalist for the New Zealand Herald (amongst other roles), who has now started a series of thriller novels, alongside his work as a travel agent specialising in overseas educational tours (eg school trips to Europe, Asia, the Pacific Islands, etc).
There were several New Zealand Herald staff, former and current, in attendance, including former editor Peter Scherer who shared some of his thoughts on Roy and his writing in an introduction to the evening. It was great to see current Herald editor John Roughan also there. There were a few local writers in attendance also, including Charlotte Grimshaw (whose earliest work was crime/noir-ish, eg PROVOCATION), Bev Robitai (MURDER IN THE SECOND ROW), and Pauline Hayes (MURDER NOT SO SWEET) - see photo below of Roy, Bev, and myself. Great to see everyone there supporting books and writing.
It was a cracker of an Auckland late summer evening outside, so things got a little hot and stuffy in the store thanks to the large crowd, but drinks in hand we were entertained by first Scherer, then a reading from THE MERELEIGH RECORD CLUB TOUR OF NEW ZEALAND - a scene on board an ocean-going vessel where a passenger falls overboard, chosen because it demonstrated Vaughan’s use of his own maritime background in the novel - and then Vaughan himself talking about his journey to writing this novel, and his upcoming work. Vaughan also unexpectedly gave both myself and Crime Watch and Graham Beattie of Beattie’s Book Blog a nice bouquet - he had some nice things to say about how the support or acknowledgement of others who aren’t friends or family can mean a great deal for writers.
It was good to see much of the crowd hang around after the speeches ended, mixing and mingling, discussing books and writing, and getting Vaughan to sign copies of his debut thriller. It is always great so those who love books - writers, booksellers, readers, reviewers - come together with events like last night’s. Hopefully there will be more such events in future for our local writers, as well as visiting international stars.
Kudos to Andrew Rumbles and his team at Dymocks Ponsonby for putting on a good event, supporting local writers, and looking after the attendees. THE MERELEIGH RECORD CLUB TOUR OF NEW ZEALAND was published by a small New York-based publisher, and for those of you overseas is available on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, and Book Depository. Readers in New Zealand could also contact Andrew at Dymocks Ponsonby (Ponsonby@dymocks.co.nz), who might be able to help source copies locally - the book sold like hot cakes last night, if you’re lucky there might have been a couple of copies left (possibly signed).
You can read my 9mm author interview with Roy Vaughan, from June 2010, here.