Last evening, I headed up to Cave Shepherd Vista to check out the launch of Eric Jerome Dickey's new novel, Waking with Enemies. It was an entertaining evening, and I decided to post up a timeline of the activities:
4:55 p.m. - Arrived at Cave Shepherd Vista and was surprised to see so much parking still available. Then again, we Bajans only seem to be early for functions at the Stadium or Gymansium....
4:56 p.m. - Called my sister to see how far away she was. She was about two miles from Worthing, stuck in traffic. Assured her I would keep a space for her in the line.
5:00 p.m. - Bought Waking with Enemies (hardback retails at Bds $56.65). Asked the pleasant cashier if it was okay to take pictures during the book signing/reading.
"Sure," he replied, "Eric is so nice. He won't mind at all."
5:03 p.m. - Ran into a friend who was working at the event and we chatted. No other fans were in sight. Browsed the store in the meantime. Dang...Land bags are expensive!
5:08 p.m. - Three other excited ladies joined me at the area roped off for the book signing. We chatted for a few minutes about our favourite books.
5:15 p.m. - My sister finally arrived. She knew one of the other ladies in the line and more female bonding took place. We were joined by an ecstatic Astrid Bovell (above), one of the seven lucky ladies who would get to tour the island with Eric on Friday.
5:19 p.m. - A Cave Shepherd employee informed us that we would have to show our receipts for the purchased books and they would have to be placed in bags. Made sense...so many copies of Eric's novel were on display that anyone could snatch one and jump in the line to have it signed.
5:25 p.m. - Realised I had bought part two of the series. Sis went back to the cashier to buy part one, Sleeping With Strangers.
5:27 p.m. - Crowd increasing. Towels with the slogan Waking with Enemies were handed out to fans.
5:40 p.m. - A Billy Ocean tune started to play. Fans watched the main door expectantly.
5:45 p.m. - A hostess welcomed fans to Cave Shepherd. She invited persons to sample the cognac, chocolates, fish cakes, rum cake and wine available outside. After waiting for over half an hour, many persons didn't want to lose their place in the line.
5:50 p.m. - Hostess interviewed fans. A stills photographer and cameraman began shooting footage of the crowd.
5:56 p.m. - Lots of laughter, wine drinking. Some of the fans asked others to hold their places in the line and went to sample snacks.
6:03 p.m. - The lights suddenly dimmed and a red strobe light came on. I hoped the lights would be turned back on or my pictures would suck. In the dimness, a voice is heard outlining Eric Jerome Dickey's biography.
6:07 p.m. - Bright disco lights started spinning and Eric Jerome Dickey entered from another direction, not the main door. As the crowd applauded, the old R&B hit Stroke You Up played. Smiling and laughing, Eric greeted the fans. Flash bulbs went crazy, and he said it was okay, "the paparazzi can get their pictures".
6:10 p.m. - Applause died. Eric was ushered to a seat and was interviewed live by Natalia Peters of Starcom Network. Natalia asked about his books, which were "full of suspense, thrills and erotic moments".
6:15 p.m. - Fan interviews began. A fan asked what was his inspiration to write his novels. Replied that he enjoyed creating characters and developing their profiles.
"You may not agree with what they (the characters) do, but you'll understand what motivates them to do what they do," he added.
6:19 p.m. - Another fan asked who were his favourite authors. His list included Maya Angelou, Walter Mosley, Ed McBain, Langston Hughes and Stephen King.
6:21 p.m. - His advice to wannabe writers was to read widely and attend creative writing classes, among other things. Other questions inluded his favourite character from his books (Gideon from most current novels) and when his next novel would be published (not sure, maybe following year).
6:25 p.m. - Eric read an excerpt from Sleeping with Strangers, which sounded highly entertaining. The enraptured audience listened politely, laughing from time to time.
6:35 p.m. - The book signing began. Each fan (above) had a brief chat with the author and posed for photos.
6:45 p.m. - Had my turn. He remembered my name from the question and answer session. We chatted briefly and he gave me a kiss and hug. A nice end to a wonderful evening.