It’s about three months until The Family Way comes out. In a normal year, this is when I’d begin to plan the launch.
For Pluto, I went all out. I spent months trying to find the perfect venue. Initially, I had hoped to rent out the old K.O.X. bar, which featured in the book, but the owners were hard to pin down. In the end, I settled on Cabaret Mado and worked with them to create a special Pluto-themed cocktail. I also borrowed equipment from my old high school (teacher’s desk, blackboard and projector) and recreated Will’s classroom on the stage. My good friend Craig created a series of background visuals, which were projected on the classroom screen. And I dressed up as a geography teacher, sat at the desk and signed copies.
Well, it looks like I won’t be able to do anything as spectacular for this launch (although I am entertaining a few out-of-the-box ideas), but I still want to make it special.
One of the things I’ve done is design a limited-edition keepsake. In The Family Way, my main character Paul has a favourite coffee mug he drinks from. It’s super tacky—a thrift store find gifted to him by his sister. On it is a photoshopped image of Freddie Mercury and Lady Diana over a rippling Union Jack with the words “My Queen” written out in bold black lettering. It’s total invention, of course, but I thought it might be fun (and very meta) if I created a real-life version of the mug, which holds particular significance in the book.
For this, I asked another good friend of mine, Neil, if he wanted to collaborate. In addition to being a great writer, Neil is also a wonderful illustrator. I sent him a description of the mug as it appears in the book (along with photos of Freddie and Diana as inspiration) and he sent me back this incredible replica.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been testing out the image on mugs to try and find the right design. I think I got it now. Soon, I’ll order a limited edition of copies to sell along with the book as part of a special package. No idea yet where or how we’ll do that yet, so stay tuned.
Hopefully, this won’t be the only unique offering around the book’s publication. I have plenty of other ideas, but we’ll see if the pandemic permits.
The book has also just be listed on Goodreads. If you’re on that platform, consider adding it to your shelf.