Author says Nelson 'full of readers'
International author Chris Cleave stepped up to discuss his third book, Gold, on a spring afternoon as bright and shiny as an Olympic medal.
“I love it, it's amazing," he said of the Nelson region yesterday. “It's such an engaged reading community . . . I came back here out of choice because I really enjoy it.”
Mr Cleave described Nelson as “a town full of readers".
He planned to bring his family back to New Zealand for a holiday next summer. He had always wanted to visit the Marlborough Sounds after seeing an aerial view of it from the aeroplane.
“It's one of the problems with touring, you never get to stop anywhere,” he said.
Gold was released three weeks before the start of the 2012 London Olympics. It follows the journey of two female cyclists who are competing for a place in the British Olympic cycling team.
Readers first meet Zoe, a driven but troubled protagonist, at the 2004 Athens Olympics where she wins gold in the women's individual sprint race. In reality, this race was won by New Zealand cyclist Sarah Ulmer.
Mr Cleave said he studied Ms Ulmer as part of his research, which also included several months of intense cycle training and took a year and a half in total.
Praising the performance of Kiwi athletes at the London Olympics, he said “Per capita, you've basically just won the Olympics.”
In Gold, Mr Cleave explores the issues around child cancer through a character named Kate, who juggles her pro-cycling career with nursing her daughter through leukaemia.
Nelson bookstore Page and Blackmore, which organised the event, asked each audience member to donate a gold coin towards the Child Cancer Foundation.
Shop manager Stella Chrysostomou said the bookstore had sold 25 copies of Gold since its New Zealand release in June.
She thought the Olympics increased sales slightly but said Mr Cleave already had a good following in Nelson after visiting to promote 2009 release The Other Hand.
“He's such a nice person. It'll be really good to have him back in Nelson,” she said.
- © Fairfax NZ News