It’s just over two months now, since Remember No More was published and we celebrated its launch at the Wyeside in Builth Wells. We had no idea what to expect. We knew only that there would be at least two of us, several boxes of books and my editor, Caroline Oakley, who had travelled all the way from Aberystwyth with said boxes and with other boxes, containing wine. If all else failed, we could open a bottle or two and toast its departure from the nest between ourselves.
Caroline felt sure there could be thirty in the audience, which was terrifying enough, but nothing prepared me for the numbers of people who were kind enough to help us with that celebration – and especially the lovely cornet section from Llandrindod Wells Silver Band, who began the evening with a rousing fanfare and a rendition of Happy Birthday (for my birthday the previous day, although it was just as apt for the book’s publication day). When we looked through all the photographs later, we counted 65 people in the audience, and they were amazing. They smiled their encouragement as I introduced sections of the text, they laughed in all the right places and they clapped enthusiastically. It was such a brilliant experience. As well as the band, there was cake and there were flowers, all organised on the quiet and all very gratefully received. People had been working hard behind the scenes without me even realising, which made it all the more special and memorable.
It still feels surreal, remembering that amazing evening and to see the book, my book, on the shelves in bookshops and in various places across the globe. It’s been spotted in the foothills of the Himalays, in the USA and New Zealand but also in the rather wonderful Siop Inc and in Siop y Pethau in Aberystwyth, both of which I used to haunt, looking for ‘easy’ Welsh novels while I was attempting to learn Welsh, twice a week, in Laura Place. People have written to say they read the book on the beach in Lanzarote or by the pool in Abu Dhabi. It seems strange to think of it there, away from its home in the foothills of the Cambrian Mountains and I find myself wondering if it has sand between its pages or sun cream fingerprints on the cover.
Now I have to get used to the idea of publicity – of talking about Remember No More, about the plot, the location and the characters. I’ve been asked to read at the Hay Festival with the lovely Hay Writers’ Circle, to sign books at the Royal Welsh Show in Llanelwedd and to discuss the importance of place in the novel at Penarth Literature Festival. It’s an honour to be asked and I’m sure, once I start talking about it, I will be less nervous than I feel right now. I want to do it, and Honno justice and to enjoy the moment.
The whole process, from the first paragraphs written in 2013 to signing the finished article on that evening in March, has been a revelation and these past weeks have been stunning. So many people have taken the time and trouble to tell me how much they enjoyed the book. They have written reviews and blog posts, sent me incisive interview questions and cheered from the sidelines. And they have bought the book. I heard today that it will be reprinted, which is incredible news.
So now, as I head back to the writing shed I know that there are people out there who are excited as I am to know what Julie Kite will do next. It’s a wonderful feeling to know when you ask people to invest their precious time to read your words, that they think it’s time well spent. Thanks to everyone who has been involved in getting us this far. It’s appreciated so much and it makes me even more determined to write the very best that I can.
I’m going in, and I may be some time.