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For my first three novels, I had book launch parties at my local independent bookstore. Close to 100 people packed Owl's Nest Bookstore's premises for each event. Shortly before the pandemic, Owl's Nest cut its store space in half and nowadays most people I know aren't keen on packing into rooms with strangers. Last month, Owl's Nest suggested I look for a larger venue.
Venues in Calgary weren't easy to find. The libraries weren't renting their larger spaces yet. Other venues were operating at reduced capacity. My first choice currently only allows a maximum 30 people and wasn't available on September 16th, my scheduled date. Eventually I found a church meeting hall large enough for people to spread out. I felt we could host a safe event that would be fun despite the requirements that we wear masks and not share food.
Unfortunately, Calgary's COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continued their rise into September. The Alberta government reinstated restrictions. These wouldn't prevent the launch from going ahead, but I feared the situation would keep too many people away. Owl's Nest and I decided to move the event online, to the disappointment of one friend who was really looking forward to getting out and experiencing an in-person author reading, a novelty for her.
Right now, I'm busy getting ready for this fourth book launch, which will take place on Zoom. I plan to do three readings from my new novel, Winter's Rage, one for each point-of-view character. I'll also talk about writing this third book of my Paula Savard Mystery Series. In particular, I'll discuss:
- Why I scrapped my first draft half-way through and restarted from scratch
- How I found the book's title
- How COVID-19 affected the story
All off this will be backdropped by Powerpoint slides, including pictures of the street where my fictional murder took place. It was easy getting these pictures since the street is in my neighbourhood.
It's also easy -- and free -- to attend the launch. All you need to do is go to the Owl's Nest Events Page , scroll down to Susan Calder: Winter's Rage, and click the link to register. Owl's Nest will then email you a Zoom link to join the event on September 16 at 7:00 p.m. Mountain Time. One advantage of a virtual book launch is that people can attend from around the world, as long as they're awake at that hour.