Why we Write in the First Place. (No, not to get wasted.)

Signing books with Jen Meredith, aka super Hawaii blogger ‘Kuaback’.

So I’m back. And I’m a little wasted – no not with alcohol -with an overabundance of adrenaline and by an excessive amount of physical and mental exertion. There was a week of different activities planned for the Samoa launch of TELESA and so my trip home was just a little bit frantic. I only have myself to blame since I’m the one who master-minded the program. As I stayed up till 3am writing a speech for my 9am visit to my old high school and then ran from there to a TV interview and from there to continue delivering last-minute invites to the main launch nite, all in sauna-like 30 degree heat, I asked myself, “This is stupid. Who the hell planned this?!” Umm, me. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I was missing the Hot Man desperately. No, not because he’s Hot. But because he’s a super planner and organizer, never late to anything (and he could have carried heavy boxes of books and set up furniture without ME having to get my TV clothes all dirty and sweaty.)  This launch week was further confirmation that being an author is hard work. I didnt sit on any beaches. Or scuba dive. Or go dancing at beachside nightclubs. Or sleep in and then dine on tropical breakfasts. What I did enjoy though, was the chance to meet with some of my sister bloggers, work with a great team of planners, see my family’s creativity shine ( thank you Mum, Leone, Cam and Dad) and then attend the final event of the week.

 I did a 2hr book signing session at a local bookstore, Samoa Books. I was semi-dreading it because, among other things, I was running late ( as usual), delivering book orders to stores, tired from the week, dehydrated and to make it worse, I hadn’t eaten all day. (Me and Hungry make ferocious, evil music together.) The event should have been a nightmare. But it wasnt. The superb team at Samoa Books had thought of everything – ice water, sandwiches, air con, a fan. Not only that, they had the trailer playing on a big screen, wall to wall TELESA posters, and radio ads running all day to let people know about the signing. I sat, I breathed, and then I had the opportunity to meet many people. There were lots of my ex-students, past work colleagues, old friends, childhood neighbors, teachers. I also met complete strangers and we sat and chatted over books. Mothers brought their daughters in to buy a book and have photos taken- and then when the teens went out – the mums furtively bought a book of their own and asked me to sign it, whispering “This one is for me…” I had to laugh – it reminded me of my own semi-shamefulness when I’m standing in a line for almost an hour so I can get in to a new Twilight movie…surrounded by screaming teenagers.

   I particularly enjoyed meeting the students, the teen readers.  I wrote TELESA because I wanted to write the kind of book that I enjoy reading and have it reflect the environment, the life I grew up in. For me, its the  book I would have loved to read when I was a teenager in high school. So meeting with Samoan teen readers and having them comment, “I loved how I could relate to everything in the book…the locations, the drama, the food and the people. I felt a connection with the characters, traditions and even the afakasi thing.” (Olisana Mariner, RLSSchool) – was very rewarding. The chance to meet with readers was a reminder for me, not to get lost in the busyness of book promotion, or drown in the stress of being a writer and a parent. Because before we were writers, we were readers who delighted in dancing in the realm of the imagination. And to be able to gift that delight to another, even for a short while as they read and enjoy your book  – is a humbling privilege. Meeting with  readers, young and old, from all walks of life, was a precious reminder for me to keep hold of the joy, the reason why we writers write in the first place.

Because we love it.

Thank you Samoa Telesa readers, I needed that reminder.

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9 comments

  1. And after all that hard work, the heat and sweat (I know how bad it can get), lack of sleep, and skipping meals…. It was a success!Well done Lani! Wish I could have been there to hear your speech, (It was a rockin' one by the way) and to get my book signed! If I had remembered earlier, I would have asked Jen to bring it with her and her two kids in tow. 🙂 (Hi Jen!) So I guess you need to come to Hawaii for a book launch so I can get my book signed! LOL! Thrilled for you!Aitah

  2. Hi Aitah – I would LOVE to do a launch in Hawaii. I havent been there since I was umm..18? which of course was only a FEW years ago, LOL, not. Its heartening to know that there would be at least ONE person buzzed to come hang out with me at a Telesa party there.

  3. I would have loved to have a book like Telesa when I was a teenager. I don't know if I would have liked my boyfriend as much then though. lol And once again just reading all of this made me feel tired FOR you. Wow, but you made it through and I've heard nothing but great things. I wish I could be at the next one in Auckland. NZ fans sound like fun. lol

  4. 🙂 congratulations lani on your official book launch in samoa!. you've certainly taken on a great deal and worked very hard to achieve your goals so i take my hat off to you. hope that all goes well for you in the coming weeks ahead!.

  5. Congrats on your book launch!! It sounds super exciting (and exhausting) I want to hit the big time like you with my book, but I also kinda like sitting in my office dreaming and writing!! I have to do just a small book club meeting next month and I'm both excited and dreading it!! Of course, I can talk about the characters for day. I'm just hoping no one wants to talk about me!!It sounds like you had a great time and if you get to the states, you better let me know!!(On a side note, we are planning a blogger, WANA, twitter meet up in Orlando, FL the end of June. We're going to see the Magic Mike movie premiere!! You should come!!!)

  6. I hear ya Reenie – Daniel is way too fantastic-al and makes regular people pale in comparison. I hope he ends up having some nasty faults in Book two so he can be more realistic. I'm very grateful for all the people who worked so hard to help make the Samoa launch activities a success. Its nice to be home with the family now.Take a breath before the Auck launch in 2 weeks.Thank you JoAn! Im enjoying catchin up on everyones blogs now that Im having a launch breather.Jillian – Exactly! I love how you said once that our books, the characters are like our children and so of course we can talk about them for hours, lol. That's how I feel. I can go on forever about the book and the people but would gladly give an 'author-focused' event/session a miss. I would LOVE to get to the hook=up in June. Wow, to be able to connect with the bloggers/writers/tweeps that I spend so much online time with would be amazing. I shall start saving up!

  7. I should just title my comment as Sleep Deprived in California because, I just came out of seclusion after locking myself in my room for hours to read Telesa. I know my husband regrets buying me the Kindle Fire now. Hahaha! I couldn't sleep or put down the Kindle until I've reached the end. Throughout the book I've had to pinch myself that it was a story I too can relate to. I wish there were books like this when I was a teenager. I was born in Samoa but raised in the States and have not had the opportunity to go back for a visit. Your description of Samoa made me want to hop on the next plane to Apia. The characters were well thought out as well as the plot. I love how you have given Daniel the values every Samoan parent prays for in a suitor for their daughters.This is a must read for my teenage daughters and their friends. I'm not giving up my Kindle but I'm definitely buying them copies of the book for Christmas. =)I look forward, with much anticipation, to the next installment of this wonderful story. A big Faafetai for sharing your gift.

  8. E – I loved reading your thoughts on Telesa. Thank you so much for sharing them. From one Samoan mum to another, I can understand what you mean about those prayers for 'suitors for our daughters' lol. I hope you can put your thoughts on the book up as a review on Amazon – so others will know that its not just a book for teenagers, but mothers like you and I can connect with it as well.

  9. Hmm it looks like your site ate my first comment (it was super
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    I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing.
    Do you have any recommendations for beginner blog
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