I still can’t believe how I managed to get to talk live on air to the entire nation about my humble debut novel Chinglish! I’m SO proud and TRULY grateful to all the fantastic people along the way who helped to make it happen.
Anyway, just so I can prove to myself in years to come that I hadn’t dreamt it, and for posterity, I’ve collected all the audios and video together here in one place. Click below to view/listen and learn more about how Chinglish came to be:
A lot of people have asked if ‘Tina’, my best friend from the 1980s that I wrote about in Chinglish, is real. Answer: YES! And here she is 30+ years on! She’s stlll a bezzie and still wears ‘The Cure’ tops and she runs a fine art printing workshop in Hampshire now – see why I thought she was so cool? Goth Gaz her boyfriend wasn’t real though. He was based on another lad I knew from school who I wish I’d known because he was so mysterious.
I had no idea that when I finished Chinglish, the publicity would be so HUGE! Having zero experience of live media I was chucked in at the deep end but enjoyed every second of it. Everyone at the BBC was lovely and welcoming so I felt really at ease…plus I guess it helps that I’m the chatty type!
First up was Vic Minett at Radio Coventry which is where Chinglish is based so it was fun reminiscing about what the area was like 35 years ago! Next was Jo Good at Radio London who was so enthused about Chinglish as she was friends with Louise Rennison and very much into this genre – brilliant! The big one was Radio 4 Woman’s Hour. I love this programme and have listened to it on and off for years, plus Jane Garvey is an absolute legend and hero of mine! I also recorded a separate podcast with her afterwards, about my life after Chinglish.
On launch day I visited the biggest bookshop in the UK, Waterstones in Piccadilly London, to sign some stock. I was proud as punch to see Chinglish on the table in the YA section. For so long I’ve admired the books that appear on these prestige displays, and now I’m on them!
Lastly I travelled to Salford Media City for my BBC Breakfast TV appearance. This was the one I was most nervous about because now everyone would be able to see me! I didn’t get much sleep the night before as you can imagine, but I needn’t have worried as again all the staff and presenters were awesome!
Right now I’m cuddling my cats and having a rest trying to let it all sink in, but people keep sending me messages including, I’ve just learned, that Chinglish has sold out on Amazon UK! I can’t believe the response my book has been getting. It’s been such an amazing experience and my gratitude goes out to everyone who has supported me along the way: my agent, editor, all the team at Andersen Press, friends, family and strangers who have all been so kind and encouraging – THANK YOU!!!!