I think all the guests who tried to get in to the Octagon Room made it – at least, I haven’t heard otherwise – so, well done, ROG staff, particularly Louise Simkiss, Kate Longman, and Marek Kukula. My thanks.
As I told the friends and readers who gathered to support this exciting event, this really is a dream come true. I stood in the Octagon Room about seven years ago and said, if I ever write this novel, and get it published, I’m going to have the launch here. And we did!
I tried to take my time and enjoy every moment. Nonetheless, the launch absolutely buzzed past. Thanks to all of my friends who decamped to the pub afterwards so we could chat and enjoy some fizz, too. The whole day was huge fun, and I’m so grateful for the kindness, support, and enthusiasm from many wonderful people.
Special thanks go to Marek Kukula, ROG Public Astronomer, and Jan Fortune, my publisher at Cinnamon Press, for their generous introductions to both Caroline Herschel and the novel. And a very special thanks to Patricia Hammond and Richard Barnett for writing the music to, rehearsing, and performing a song, the words of which are in the back of the novel.
“Hymn of the Forty Feet Reflector at Slough, Sung on New Year’s Eve, 1839 – 40, by the whole family in the Tube thereof assembled,” is a real song written by Caroline Herschel’s nephew, John. The family wrote and sang the song in the remains of the giant telescope before taking it down – it had been neglected for many years, and finally became dangerous when part of it was crushed by a tree branch in a storm.
The marvellous connection is that the last piece of the 40-foot Telescope tube is on display just outside the Octagon Room at the ROG. And Patricia did an excellent job getting us all to sing along to the chorus: “Merrily, merrily, let us all sing, and make the old telescope rattle and ring!”
Jan also announced that not only have Waterstones taken Double the Stars, but so has WH Smith Travel: particularly into all their airport shops. It is a first for a Cinnamon Press book, and we are all very excited.
If you missed us on Sunday, you can buy a copy of Double the Stars internationally (or within the UK) from Inpress Books, or from within the UK from Cinnamon Press – or from Waterstones or WH Smith. My friend, artist Cassie Herschel-Shorland, deserves special thanks for her cover design, which secured the interest of these booksellers and is a joy to behold.