It's a dream moment for every author - the book launch of their debut novel. Mine was hosted by the mighty Kinokuniya at their flagship store on Singapore's Orchard Road - the equivalent of Oxford Street or Fifth Avenue - so an exciting place to introduce my book to the world.
From my spot behind the podium, it felt a bit like a wedding as I spotted friends old and new in the crowd. I was particularly delighted to see so many fellow authors from the Singapore Writers Group, as this inspiring bunch have been staunch companions on the journey to publication.
Likewise, my "Brownies" - a critique group that emerged from a short Curtis Brown course at the Singapore Writers Festival in 2013 - were out in force. Another writer friend, the Bridport-prize winner Elaine Chiew, brilliantly compered the event.
Maybe I'm not very good at this book marketing business, but the event for me was more of a personal milestone than an opportunity to sell units - though I'm grateful to everyone who went home with a green and orange cover inside a linen tote! Several people bought a whole stack for Christmas presents, which I think is excellent planning.
People often ask what is the hardest part of writing a novel and I say "not stopping". There are so many logical reasons to stop, especially that first novel. It feels like you're running down a dark tunnel with no idea if there's a light at the end. It's an act of blind faith. I've been to so many book launches and readings and signings over the years, wondering how you get to be the one behind the table. Turns out that the hardest part is also the simplest - you don't stop writing.