A guest post by Alyssa Brugman, author of Alex As Well, out today.
I’ve never been to the UK before, and I was super excited to be invited. I’m very grateful that Curious Fox are so enthusiastically backing my little book. ‘Alex as Well’ is different to anything I have done before, and I’m quite proud of it.
It’s been a very busy few months for me. Firstly I graduated from Canberra University. I now have a PhD which I have been working on for a few long years now. There were many times I was ready to give up, and it’s very satisfying to be finally finished. ‘Alex as Well’ was the work that was submitted for examination, along with my thesis. It was tricky at times, but I am confident that it’s made me a better writer. I am finding that there is a lot of space in my brain where the PhD used to be, and I’m not sure what to do with that space now! It’s a bit like a big lumbering machine with cogs that have suddenly ground to a halt. It’s different from the space that has books in it, which is kind of like an overstuffed filing cabinet that refuses to close no matter how hard you slam it.
After the graduation I went to Outback Queensland to break in some wild horses on a remote two-million acre cattle station. That was a wonderful experience, although it was hard, rough and scary. I was lucky to pick a five year old stallion who ended up being a bit of a softy. As soft as a brumby gets anyway! I learned some terrific horse handling skills. We rode our freshly started horses up and down some mountains. I slept under the stars and watched the moon, drank billy tea and all that good Aussie stuff.
Then it was my fortieth birthday. I put on a frock and a tiara and had a terrific party surrounded by all the people I love the most. Some people travelled a long way, and that was very touching.
The day after my birthday I had a terrible car accident. I was on my way to a book club talk and a motorcycle came flying around a corner and wedged into the bonnet of my car. The rider lived, but has very serious injuries. My three year old daughter was in the car with me, but thankfully we were both unhurt. It really emphasises how arbitrary and chaotic life is and makes me grateful for my good fortune so far.
Meanwhile my normal life still goes on in the background. Sadly I can’t pause it. I run a small business offering hoof care and equine nutrition. We are a growing business and it’s challenging to juggle a growing demand from our clients at the same time as the speaking engagements relating to my writing – not to mention finding opportunities to sit down and write!
There is also the business of writing. Alex is coming out in a few different languages and overseas editions. There is always mail to respond to from readers about the other eleven books also.
When you do a tour like this there is a lot of preparation, interviews, speeches to plan. It also pays to practice the readings that you are going to do. I have always wanted to do the parts of the books that I find the most affecting, but then I worry that I will cry like a big sooky lala, so I usually pick a funny part instead.
And what to wear?
We’ve already had some great reviews for the book in the UK. Georgia, our lovely publicist has been working so hard to make this trip a success, and I am very grateful for that!
I’m really looking forward to meeting you all, and hopefully you will love Alex too.