Friday, April 18, 2014

Swimming In the Dark - Paddy Richardson's new novel launched in Dunedin

Left - Author Paddy Richardson and publisher Kevin Chapman of Upstart Press

The author's address at the launch at Whitcoulls, George street, Dunedin:

"While it’s generally thought writing is a lonely and reclusive occupation, in fact, there are a lot of other people involved who help and sometimes shove along the lonely and reclusive writer. So it’s time to thank these people for all of the support of had in the writing of Swimming In the Dark.

Thanks, first of all to Whitcoulls  for tonight’s launch and for their support and promotion for this book and my others and especially thanks to Joan Mackenzie who selected my last book Cross Fingers as one of her pics of the month and has also been so nicely complimentary about this one. Thanks hugely to Kevin Chapman and his team at Upstart Press. As some of you will know, Hachette abandoned NZ publishing last year but Upstart has risen like a phoenix from those ashes. It’s wonderful for NZ writers to have publishers who still have confidence in us and are willing to take the risk of supporting us. So thanks Kevin for  your own personal enthusiasm and encouragement right through from the early stages of Swimming in the Dark and for the care and attention to detail Upstart have taken over the cover and production and promotion of my book. Thanks to my editor Stephen Stratford who is so lovely to work with and who’s done such a great job with my books and who also has a great sense of humour. And thanks to the publishing association of New Zealand who made it possible for me to go to the Leipzig book fair where the book began.

Thanks to my friends, my writing group, my writing friends- writers in Dunedin are a close knit and supportive community. I want to especially-lots of especiallies tonight- thank Huberta Hellendorn whose voice I heard every time I was writing Ilse and Gerda; her lovely lilting voice and the way she uses verbs sometimes in the opposite way to the way we do and her perception and willingness to share her experiences of being a European immigrant have  brought so much to this book.

 Thanks to my family. To Jim who the book is dedicated to. Jim who is very well aware of my inability to read maps or follow directions, guided me around Leipzig meanwhile practising his German on every hapless German victim he could waylay- wie gehts?- and he’s also encouraged me so much in the writing of this book. Thanks to my children and grandchildren; family is especially important to us just now and it’s good to be celebrating together.

It seems often when you’re writing a novel a special guide somehow appears who generously offers help and knowledge and, in this case, it is my German friend, Carmen Ramirez, who rigorously went through the final drafts, who helped with the German language and history and so generously checked details. So thanks Carmen –she’s probably asleep on the other side of the world right now but maybe she’ll pick up on my heartfelt gratitude.

Swimming in the Dark has been a joy to write. It’s about issues which are very important to me; the way family can be destructive or empowering, the longing for home and the making of home, corruption and the misuse of power and the potential of ordinary people to fight against that and, finally, fear and distrust and the restorative nature of love.

First of all, I fell in love with Leipzig and then I fell in love with my characters and I’m now  finding it very hard to fall out of love with them and to let them go. One of the lovely parts of writing a novel is finding out about your characters. I love to swim, I don’t mind cold water, so it was good to discover I had that in common with Ilse, who  is also a swimmer ". 

Right  - author reading

Written by Paddy Richardson
Publication date: April 2014
ISBN 978-1-927262-05-4
NZRRP $34.99
PB, 288 pp, 260mm x 210mm portrait

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