Thursday brought an even earlier start than the rest of the week – except for Monday of course with the pre-dawn taxi ride to the airport. We were off to Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar – one of the most beautiful schools I’ve ever seen. The houses that have been converted to school buildings are picture postcard and they’ve done a great job of integrating new architecture too. I met with the girls in their performing arts centre – the largest venue I’ve had on this tour. As we set up we were treated to one of the strings groups rehearsing.
Heather Dyer from Fairfield Books and her lovely daughter Stephanie were looking after us for the day. The morning was great fun. I love when the children line up to have their books signed and apologise for plonking the whole series in front of me – I quickly reassure them that there are no apologies necessary!
After Ivanhoe we popped into Fairfield Books which is a lovely store in Fairfield of course, where I signed their shop stock. After that we headed over to visit Collins Books at Northland and did the same – the ladies were lovely and it was a pleasure to meet them.
Lunch beckoned and then we drove to St Francis of Assisi in Mill Park, where it was windy enough to blow a dog off a chain. I could barely hold onto the Alice-Miranda standee as we walked from the carpark and thought she might end up a couple of suburbs away.
The greeting from the children was unbelievable. I felt a little like a pop star – with the squeals and screams. The library display was stunning and the staff had gone to so much trouble. The children were again wonderful participants and I signed books for a long time. There was one little boy called Isaac who acted the part of Mr Sparks and was so engaged. I signed the first Alice-Miranda book for him and I believe he’s already finished it and wanting to get on with the next.
There was also a girl who had done the most extraordinary research project, which we photographed. She had this very nifty little pouch with a bunch of questions for me – which I answered while signing the books. That was fun.
Our next event was at Preston Library. We made it in the nick of time and I was thrilled to see a large audience and some very dedicated fans with their little piles of books lined up on the floor in front of them.
One of the best parts of my work as a writer is meeting the readers. Leaving school last year was a wrench to say the least. Working with children has been my life and now writing and touring is a dream come true.
Driving to Geelong on the other hand wasn’t much fun at all as we encountered a veritable gale. Zoe did well to keep the car on the road. We were certainly tired by the time we arrived at our hotel.