Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Week with Kubu

It’s been a hectic week, and it’s not over yet!  Tuesday saw the South African launch of our new Detective Kubu mystery – A Death in the Family, a curtain raiser for the main performance when the book is released in North America in October and in the UK about six months after that.  It’s been a long gap since the last Kubu adventure was released in South Africa, and we didn’t want our readers here to have to wait any longer.  Stanley came out from Minneapolis specially for the launch.

This is the cover of the book designed by our new British publisher, Orenda Books – very different from the US one which you may have seen in our recent newsletter, or maybe you saw the head-to-head between the two covers on Kittling Books.  We love both covers and feel they reflect different aspects of the story very well.

Stanley & Michael being interviewed by Samm Marshall
The week kicked off early on Sunday when we had to be up by 6 AM for an interview on national TV at 7:30.  Not exactly peak time, but still a good opportunity.  Being there on time was made more difficulty because half the city was closed for a “walk the talk” charity event – the half between us and the TV station.  But we took the great circle route to the west and really enjoyed the interview.  Samm Marshall did a great job, and we all had fun.  Here’s a link to it

An interesting twist was provided by an actress who was on right after us.  She needed an old camera as a prop for the short scene from a fifties-era play.  Security were adamant – no cameras, which is a strange rule since everyone was allowed to bring in their cell phones!  However, she immediately became aggressive, calling for the manager, saying it was obvious that the camera didn’t work (how?), and criticizing the attitude of the staff.  Her dissatisfaction persisted when she went to make-up – they eventually told her to do it herself - and she sat grumpily alone without talking to the other guests of Morning Live.  Once on air, butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth.

Stanley & Michael with Irene at Le Soufflé
Tuesday was launch day, and we kicked off with a book-club lunch at a popular restaurant, Le Soufflé.  It was delightful, and the book-club members are always receptive and fun to chat to over a glass of wine.  Or two.  We only returned home at 4pm – just in time to head for the official launch at Love Books, one of Johannesburg’s few remaining independent bookshops.  It’s a delightful little shop, tucked away in one of the older suburbs close to the city, with books stacked from floor to ceiling.  Kate Rogan – the owner – is as delightful as her store and a big Kubu fan.  Even better, her family is involved in the wine business and Joostenberg wine is really good.  

Michael & Stanley chatting at Love Books

Looks like people are listening

Chris Avant Smith
Then yesterday started with an interview on Radio Today – 9am this time – on Chris Avant-Smith’s show, Rant and Rave.  He can certainly do both.  But we need not have worried; he loved the book, and we couldn’t have had a better or more informed interviewer.  Definitely on the Rave side of the title.  You can link to the interview hereThen on to the second launch event that evening.  This one was at Montecasino in the northern suburbs at Skoobs, Theatre of Books, which couldn’t be more different from Love Books.  Montecasino is a theme park/shopping centre supposed to be like wandering through an Italian village…on your way to the casino. The night sky is painted on turquoise concrete with inset twinkling lights.  Michael can’t stand the place; Stanley is more positive.  But the bookshop there is a different story.  Spacious, packed with an eclectic variety of books, sporting, as well, both good coffee and a champagne bar.  As we said, very different from Love Books, but really a good venue all the same.  Anyway, how can you not like a bookshop that hosts a Detective Kubu launch?

'Night' inside Montecasino
Getting set up at Skoobs - Stanley & Michael with Jassy
...and underway

Jassy Mackenzie
Well-known South African author, Jassy Mackenzie, graciously agreed to put us through our paces and did a great job of it.  She writes excellent thrillers and racy romantic fiction. At the beginning she commented wryly that the latter were available at the store - under the self-help section.  No one was willing to comment on that!

After dinner with good friends at a Chinese restaurant, we staggered home to a nightcap and bed.

But the week is still young!  On Saturday we have a lunch event, and on Sunday a signing at the South African Book Fair.  Next week we’re off to Botswana to launch the book on its home ground so to speak.  Then off to Knysna and Cape Town. 

At some point exhaustion will set in, but not yet!

Michael and Stanley – Thursday.

Thanks to Jonathan Everitt for the event pictures.


  1. Congratulations, Stanley and Michael! Looking forward to reading the book! I'd say that I hope it's a barn-burner, but with a high forecast of 105F (40.5C), I'm daydreaming of glaciers...

    1. Thanks, EvKa! We hope so too! Right now its around freezing here and heading south. Setting fire to the odd barn sounds pretty good to us!

  2. That's all wonderful news, Michael and Stanley! I'm smiling from ear to ear--behind the red mask! Congratulations, lone live and prosper "A Death in the Family."

    1. Hmmm... "lone live and prosper"? Is that a Chinese curse like "May you live in interesting times"???

    2. No problem - it won't be alone. The next book is coming along :-)

  3. Huzzah! Love the interviews. I pine for my opportunity to read "A Death in the Family!"

    1. Thanks, Annamaria! We're so looking forward to signing your copy!

  4. Congratulations on the newest launch - and thank you for letting us ride along on all the fun! It looks like you had such a wonderful week - and although I feel sorry for the poor woman with the camera...the story had me laughing too.

    1. Thanks, Susan! I think our sympathy was more with the recipients of her ire. I wondered if she didn't behave like that to dissipate nervousness and generate adrenaline. So much for my amateur psychology.