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~ Hazel Harps On

Hope from the Penguins

This blog is not what I expected it would be. I thought I’d be describing my lovely book launch, all the friends that came to support me, the flowers, the penguin-themed cupcakes, the song I wrote about penguins and how nervous I felt about everything but how glad I was I’d done it… Then I would go on to enumerate the many author talks I had lined up in libraries and the literary festivals where I was to be a speaker and teacher. Not forgetting of course, all the harp gigs, many of them in Care Homes. I was going to be very victorious and very, very busy.

Not so. Because, like everyone else, I am self-isolating and the full diary is now only full of crossings-out. Coronavirus - Grrr!

Fact: I’m one of the lucky ones. I live in a magical spot in the countryside, the primroses are blossoming and being at home is no hardship. I have lovely husband and lovely cat for company. As a writer, I’m used to spending long hours alone anyway (and let’s face it, you’re not really alone when you’re surrounded by all those imaginary friends you’ve created). I have books. I have my harp. Lucky is an understatement.

My second book is now out in the world, in handsome hardback! My quick-thinking publicist, Alison, very kindly arranged a virtual launch on Twitter. We couldn’t enjoy the cupcakes or the song but many friends joined in, asking questions about AWAY WITH THE PENGUINS. It ended up being rather fun. Then Lionel of Brendon Books, the fabulous independent bookshop where the book was to have launched, invited me in for a signing and podcast (which we managed to do just before lockdown). You can hear it on the ‘Writing’ page of this website.

(Please support your local bookshops and order books from them.

They need you more than ever.)

Nothing has panned out as I thought it would, but perhaps the publication of AWAY WITH

THE PENGUINS is timely, after all. Several readers have already contacted me to say it has kept them gripped and uplifted at this worrying time. This is so, so humbling and heart-warming and it makes all those months of writing struggles worthwhile. The message of hope is plainly there. Bless those inspiring penguins! I always knew they had something important to say!

(Photo copyright Living Coasts)

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