Erica James Tours Australia and New Zealand

Back From my Antipodean Adventures.

I had an absolutely wonderful time in New Zealand and Australia promoting The Real Katie Lavender, as well as catching up with friends and family, but as Dorothy said, there’s no place like home and it’s lovely to be back. So with the unpacking and the washing done, I can now sit down and share some of the highlights of my travels with you.

My trip started in Wellington where after a few days of settling in while staying with my good friends Rosemary and David, the work began with a couple of radio interviews. Then it was onto the television studio to appear on Good Morning. To say I dreaded this is a massive understatement, and even as I sat in the chair having make-up applied to my sickly-pale face, I was wondering if it wasn’t too late to back out. That was when I wasn’t begging the make-up woman to go easy on the slap. ‘Please,’ I squeaked, gripping the arms of the chair as she approached with her pots and brushes, ‘don’t make me look like a tranny!’ So anxious was I about the live interview with Sarah Bradley, I remember very little about it, other than telling myself DON’T LOOK DIRECTLY INTO THE CAMERA! and can only hope I didn’t disgrace myself too much.

I left Wellington that afternoon for Auckland and Takapuna Library, an event that was organised by the supremely efficient Helen Woodhouse. Thank you to everyone who came along and made me feel so welcome.

And thank you to Margaret Samuels and Kevin Chapman of Hachette NZ for treating me to such a superb dinner that evening. The icing on the cake was Mark Streatfeild from Orion putting in a surprise appearance. Had he jumped out of a cake in the middle of the restaurant I would not have been more surprised! What a sneaky lot they all were, keeping that a secret from me.

The next day it was another round of media interviews with a brief respite for a trade lunch at the Harbourside restaurant and then it was back to the airport to fly onto Sydney with my friend Rosemary. I was sad to leave New Zealand so soon and particularly sad to say goodbye to Ruby my publicist who had looked after me so very well.

Despite all the pictures and film footage I’d seen of Sydney over the years, none of it had prepared me for the sheer spectacle that is Sydney Harbour. Twenty floors up, the view we had of the harbour was breathtaking, especially at night when everything was lit up. I could have sat with my nose pressed against the window for hours on end, just taking in the view. But there was work to be done – more media interviews, more books to sign. And yet another delicious lunch to enjoy, this time it was with Malcolm Edwards and Matt Hoy from Hachette Australia. Thank you both very much, it was a pleasure to meet you both.

Then all too soon it was Goodbye Sydney and Rosemary, and Hello Melbourne! Or more precisely, Hello Gisborne where I stayed with my cousin, Peter and his wife, Deb and their two children, Georgia and Harry who were fantastic company. And, of course, special mention has to be made for my aunt, Shash, who I hadn’t seen for twenty-three years. How time passes …

And how lucky I feel to have had the chance to travel all the way to the other side of the world to do all that I did and to see The Real Katie Lavender there on the shelves. Thank you very much to everyone who made the trip possible.