Sunday, November 08, 2009


Magpie Hall is now officially out in the world. Available at all good (New Zealand) bookstores yada yada. I feel something like relief.

It had a great launch at Mighty Mighty, which was the perfect venue - it conjured up all the lushness of a Victorian tattoo parlour. The book was launched by my good friend Gemma Gracewood who said unbelievably nice things about Magpie Hall and about me. Afterwards we discussed the fact that while Rosemary Summers isn't based on anyone we know, she is someone we could imagine knowing (indeed, Sally, the manager of Mighty Mighty, is herself a tattooed lady who collects taxidermy). After the speeches, Gemma was joined on stage by three more friends (Nigel, Carmel and Andy) from the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra, and they serenaded us with songs by Nick Cave and The Be Good Tanyas, both inspirations for the novel and on my list.

The launch was somewhat overshadowed by the sad death earlier in the week of our friend Heather McKenzie. She was sorely missed and will continue to be so.

Further to my last post about my new website, within days of it going up it was chosen as one of 8 great author websites, alongside the likes of Dan Brown, Peter Carey and Isabelle Allende! Thanks to my fantastic designers Sharon Blance and Brence Coghill. Sharon also took my author photos. If any authors out there would like to contact them in view to having their own website done, please feel free to leave your contact details in the comments here and I will pass them on. They were wonderful to work with and really listened to what I wanted, the result being my dream website. These two are multi-talented and are also the best swing dancers around.

Finally, if you are in Christchurch, I am doing an event tomorrow night (Tuesday, November 10) with Women On Air at Our City, Oxford Terrace. For more details visit, or Please tell your friends!


Unknown said...

It was our pleasure! xxxx

Marianne said...

I'm so glad I could be there (and very grateful to Lynda who taught my class despite battling a cold) - it was a fantastic night.

Maggie May said...

congratulations on your webpage :)

and i'm so sorry to hear of Heather's passing. in her 40's...very deeply sad.

Andrea Eames said...

It sounds like a fantastic event. Much more exciting than any book launch I've been to!

So looking forward to reading Magpie Hall.

Andrea Eames said...

I should think ahead and include everything I want to say in ONE comment, yes? Sorry. Wanted to say that I am going to come along tomorrow night, and I'm very much looking forward to it. And this is my last comment, I promise.

Andrea said...

Congratulations on the launch of Magpie Hall - I have bought my copy and am looking forward to reading it!

Rachel Fenton said...

So sorry about the death of your friend.

Congratulations on a successful launch and I look forward to reading your book sometime in the next year or so (can't read it until I've finished writing my book as I noted on your website that you mention it dealing with "vintage", one of the themes in my novel in progress...otherwise it was going to be my Christmas holiday read!)

Rachael King said...

Rachel , I mentioned this on Mary's blog... that seems a little extreme! Rosemary likes vintage clothes, that's all. It's not a 'theme'. It barely has anything to do with the story, it's just a minor part of her character. I really wouldn't worry about it. I promise if your character likes vintage clothes too I won't think you have stolen my idea!

Rachel Fenton said...

Hey, haven't checked back on Mary's yet, not meaning to come accross as extreme, just wouldn't want to colour my thoughts with anything similar. I have my character all mapped out - even drawn her and made a wardrobe for her! Didn't want to read something and have to decide not to use any of what I've planned is all. Really looking forward to reading your book though :)

Vanda Symon said...

What fun! It sounds like Magpie Hall was introduced to the world in a grand way. Is that a melodica Nigel is playing, I didn't realise those things still existed! (I went to high school with Nigel.)

Congratulations Rachael.

Darla: Retro Ways said...

Yay congrats to you.

xo Darla

Sharon said...

Rachel I just finished Magpie Hall and I loved it. WELL DONE YOU!!! My only complaint is that is was over too quickly - I especially loved the Henry and Dora story and wanted to be with the characters for longer.

I also now really want to get another tattoo :)

I am already picturing what a fantastic movie this would make... I'm sure the book will do fantastically well.

CONGRATS again! You are superbly talented.

Kirstin said...

Hi Rachel, you signed a copy for me at the launch, and I have to tell you how much I loved it!

I read it in a fever over two nights, compromised my day job, and generally thought about it all the time I wasn't actually reading. I haven't felt that way about a novel in ages, so thank you. I think you've rekindled my love of paper books.

Rosemary felt incredibly familiar and Dora and Henry were so intriguing. I loved the Wuthering Heights connection, the girlish search for a great romance. Your naming of Tess gave me a hint of the tragedy of Tess of the D'urbervilles too. And I really liked the mysteries, the limestone caves, and the bones in the walls, the tattoo parlour, and all the unfolding secrets past and present.

Congratulations on a wonderful novel. Kirstin.

Unknown said...

Looking forward to picking up Magpie Hall for Christmas.

And now to detour back to your much earlier post on Vintner's Luck, did you see the page two story in the Press today (19 Nov)? My fears for that movie appear to be true: the main relationship between Xas and Sobran has been sidelined completely - Caro has obviously tried to take the movie mainstream, thus has missed the point and the joy of the novel entirely.

Don't know if I shall bother seeing it.

Quoting first paragraph of Press article:

"Author Elisabeth Knox lay in bed and cried for days, upset after watching Niki Caro's film adaptation of her book, The Vintner's Luck ..."