I not only had the pleasure of being part of the blog tour for Anna Hope’s debut novel Wake, I also had the opportunity to attend an evening at the Random House office to meet the lovely UK author. There were some light refreshments and we all had a chance to chat and mingle before we were introduced to the woman of the hour.
Taking our seats around the boardroom table, Anna spoke about this being the first time she’s been to Canada (and during this frigid winter! Brave girl.) and we were all excited to have her join us for the launch of her book. How Anna got the idea for Wake was that she had been reading a lot of books on women’s social history in the 1920s and came about the idea for the book in that roundabout way. She realized a lot of the literature on war, all the tropes had to do with men so she wanted to write a book about the women, the war and in that time period.
Anna shared some lovely stories about the Hammersmith Palais, one of the locations in the book, including one about her own mother being quite the dancer in her younger days. Anna found it fascinating that there were dance instructresses for hire at the Palais and yet couldn’t find any more info about it until one day she found another book that made mention of this occupation, solidifying the story for her.
I asked about the naming of the story, because the book starts off with a 3-part definition of the word “Wake”, which seems to fit so perfectly with the whole book and, with a chuckle, Anna admitted that she had worked on the name of the book for a long time. It had been going by a working name while she was writing it and all the title ideas that her, and others, kept coming up with weren’t a good fit. It wasn’t until she thought of “The Aftermath” – which she couldn’t use because of another book coming out with that title, and then looking up synonyms for the word that she came across “Wake”, which her mother was not too keen on thinking it sounded like a horror novel.
After a short question & answer period, us book lovers knew the drill and it was time to get our books signed. It’s nice with a smaller group because everyone got a chance to really chat with the author rather than just rush through signing books. Of course, we see many familiar faces at these events so the line didn’t feel like at all because it gave us a chance to chat and catch up since the last time we had all seen each other. Such a pleasure to see Lindsey (Reeder Reads), Monique (Hello Momo), Shilpa (Sukasa Reads), Carrie (@Cmacmizzle), Lindsay (@LindsayReads), and meeting new pal Lauren (Thoughts On My Bookshelf)! A big thank you to Random House for yet another lovely wine & cheese evening, and a thanks AND congrats to Anna Hope for her fantastic debut novel!