Last week we published the last installment of Kit Berry‘s excellent Stonewylde series, SHAMAN OF STONEWYLDE. The much anticipated final book was launched on Saturday, and here Kit tells us how it all went…
Saturday saw the launch of the fifth and final Stonewylde book – Shaman of Stonewylde – in a Dorset bookshop. I held the event in Dorchester Waterstones because this was the first shop, back in 2005, to stock my self-published Magus of Stonewylde. I’m sure even the most blasé and internationally famous author would agree that the thrill of seeing your first book on a proper bookshelf in a real bookshop is something you’ll never forget. So seven years later, it seemed appropriate to launch the final Stonewylde book, now beautifully published by Gollancz, in the same shop. I’m a great believer in things going full circle.
In the books, hallucinogenic Ceremony Cakes are shared during the rituals held in the Stone Circle. So I spent the day before the launch baking cakes for my loyal readers, though not wishing to send everyone tripping around Dorchester on a Saturday morning, I made mine with nothing more sinister than a subtle sprinkling of herbs.
It was brilliant to see so many people there, and the queue reflected Stonewylde’s diverse readership. Amongst the readers waiting patiently was a young lad who’d become obsessed by the series after a workshop I did at his school for World Book Day. He stayed the whole time I was there and helped hand out the badges and bookmarks. One lady, a grandmother, bought eight copies of the book as Christmas presents for her family, all of whom are hooked on the series. Then there was a mum and dad with their three children who wanted the five books signed so that each had their own dedicated book. And there were even some of the kids I taught many years ago, all grown up now. It really was an eclectic bunch who turned up on Saturday, and we had such a good time. It’s hard to describe the elation you feel at meeting your readers in person, writing a dedication to them, sharing their excitement. I hope this too never wears off.
So far nobody has reported any ill effects from the cakes, although I’ve had several complaints about the amount of tissues needed when reading this final book! They’re all posting about it on my social network, many having stayed up most of the night to finish it. As one reader said, ‘You want to savour it, but instead you gulp it down in one go.’ A bit like my cakes, really!