This past week has been one of milestones. I had a birthday on Wednesday – not a particularly memorable number but a milestone nonetheless. On my birthday I had an email from Random House to let me know that the Alice-Miranda series had clocked over a significant number of sales in Australia, which was a wonderful present. On Thursday Alice-Miranda In Paris came in at #37 on the Neilsen Bookscan charts for the week – which is amazing. On Friday I found out that she was #9 on the Leading Edge Group Neilsen charts for the week and #1 in their Children’s Chart. I am constantly amazed by Alice-Miranda and her growing band of friends. I wonder what it is about her that has captured so many hearts – I suspect it’s her capacity to be kind. Children often tell me they want to be Alice-Miranda or at the very least be friends with her. They say that she’s the sort of girl you can rely on and who will always be there for you. I think they also love that she has adventures and there is lots of yummy food!
Yesterday we had a fabulous launch for Alice-Miranda In Paris with Shearer’s at Leichhardt. I know that Tony and Barb are frantically busy at the moment, having to move shops to make way for an extension of the building. I’m sure it was really the last thing they needed, but in typical form, they were wonderful and the event went off without a hitch. Given that I arrived home from overseas a week ago, much of the organisation (okay – all of the organisation) had been done by the extraordinary team at Random House Australia. There were balloons, French treats galore, a beret making craft activity with glitter and sparkles and everything little girls love, posters, bookmarks and prizes. Zoe did a great job showing the girls how to walk the runway and helping them create their berets, Sarana is a magician at marketing and food, Dot oversaw the lot – even with stitches in her forehead and feeling like she’d gone ten rounds with Jeff Fenech after a nasty accident at work, Kimberley ran around doing lots of setting up jobs, as did Chris, who also launched the book into the world. A real highlight of the day for me was meeting Anne Yi, the incredibly talented illustrator of Alice-Miranda and Clementine Rose. It’s difficult to believe we have now done ten books together and have only just met. It wasn’t deliberate – just timing and busyness. I can tell you, she’s as gorgeous (in every way) as the girls she so ably brings to life on the page.
Girls and parents came from all over Sydney to be part of the festivities and I loved meeting everyone. The dress ups were extraordinary – from two of the best Alice-Miranda uniforms I’ve ever seen, to French chic that would do any Parisian runway proud and one Millie – who was simply perfect. I was agonising over what to wear myself – assuming there would be high expectations but last year when we were in Paris I bought a beautiful black and white dress that had been sitting in the wardrobe awaiting the right occasion. It had to be the launch – so I wore my dress, purchased so appropriately on the Boulevard St Germain.
My mother in law excelled yet again creating an identical replica outfit for our Alice-Miranda doll to the one she’s wearing on the cover. I suspect if I started advertising she could have a whole new career in Alice-Miranda outfits – there were many requests to find out where the clothes had come from.
It was wonderful to have two school friends there too. Lynda and Maree and I had all lived in the same street as children and gone to the same primary and high schools and it was great to see them and Lynda’s lovely daughter Jess. My mother and sister, and Emma and Hannah came along and my husband Ian, who is the most amazing man, ran around doing lots of jobs and taking photos and being his usual supportive self.
It was a brilliant day and one I will always remember. So, now I’m packing for a week long tour of Melbourne. I can’t wait (although I’m not looking forward to the 6am flight!).