I've been busy....


7th April 2022

Things have been rather busy since I last blogged! The English language edition of Sticky is now available all over the world, with translations to follow in the next 18 months or so. I've talked to a huge number of lovely people in Europe, the UK, the US, Australia and here, in Aotearoa New Zealand, about all things friction and surface science. It's been wonderful.

With things now beginning to slow down a bit - and my long-awaited trip back to Ireland just a few weeks away - I thought I'd give you a (non-exhaustive) update on some recent book promo, with lots of links for those who want them.

  • Front cover of the Dominion Post - the Dom Post is a national newspaper here in NZ. The journalist Will Harvie wrote a lovely 'portrait' piece about my career and life, and one of the paper's photographers came to my home and took some fun pictures - one below - to accompany it. I kept thinking that this would only be published online, but in fact, it was also slated to appear in the weekend print edition of the paper. On its publication day, my friend S-J messaged me to say that my face was on the cover - I was shocked! I headed to my local supermarket and sheepishly picked up a copy to add to my memory box.
  • I appeared on Science Friday! SciFri is an extremely well-known radio show that broadcasts from NYC. It's also one of the very fist podcasts I ever subscribed to. I am a big fan. So I was incredibly flattered to be asked by the show's Director, Charles Bergquist, to be a guest. I must admit, on the day, I let the nerves get the better of me - I felt like I'd done a truly terrible job of answering his questions. Thankfully, Charles is a brilliant editor and the final piece turned out great. SciFri also published an excerpt from my book - the entire introductory chapter, in fact - on their website, for all to read.
  • Radio New Zealand - Nine to Noon is a hugely popular show in NZ, hosted by Kathryn Ryan. She had me on for a fairly extensive interview, which was a lot of fun (even though it was live)! And then a few weeks later, the wonderful Mary Fawcett (who owns my local bookshop, Schrodinger's) decided to review the book on the same radio show. It was so incredibly exciting to hear her lovely comments, and the engaging conversation between the two women .
  • Town Hall Seattle - this was a very enjoyable interview. A long and winding conversation with Steve Scher :)
  • The Positive Economist - the world of finance and money is not one I usually inhabit, but a few years ago I had the pleasure of meeting economist Susan Hayes Culleton at an Irish Embassy event here in Wellington. She made an immediate impression on me and we kept in touch. When she asked me to appear on her very popular investment YouTube show, I said yes. We had a great time!
  • Little Atoms is another podcast I've listened to for years. I was lucky enough to record an interview with Neil in his London studio back in 2016 for SATC, so this was a return visit.
  • Late Night Live (ABC, Australia) - I'm not sure I've ever answered so many questions in such a short space of time! This was a pretty information-dense interview - I was out of breath by the end!
  • The Point with Mindy Todd was a chill, detailed and nicely-paced conversation. I enjoyed speaking with her.
  • Something You Should Know is a very popular podcast in the US, often appearing on the Apple Top 100 chart. Chatting to Mike was a lot of fun.
  • Think KERA (Dallas) - this was a very early morning start for me, but totally worth it. The host Krys Boyd was a pleasure to speak to. I suspect we could have kept going for hours!
  • Thanks to book publicist extraordinaire Rebecca Simpson - who I hired to lead the charge in NZ - there's been lots of interest from regional media too, including Q&As into local papers. Rebecca also lined up the Nine to Noon interview, along with lots of other radio opportunities, and managed to get book excerpts into outlets like The Listener and Kete. She is the best. I'm so glad I found her and loved working with her.
  • Startalk - I've left this one till last because it is undoubtedly the biggest 'gig' I've done to date - the show has 209.5K followers on Twitter and 1.75M subscribers on YouTube..... The show is hosted by none other than astrophysicist and legendary science communicator, NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON! He's about the biggest science celeb I can think of. So to be on his show, alongside Gary O'Reilly and Chuck Nice was just incredible. I was very nervous beforehand, but I settled in, and ended up having a blast. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive too, which is both unexpected and lovely. You'll find the audio version here (or wherever you usually get podcasts) and here's the video version for your viewing pleasure!

There've been a few new reviews published too, including this AMAZING one from Nature Physics! Chemistry World reviewed it too, as did Riccochet. It's even appeared on a few 'cool new science book' lists. And I've done some more events, including a Skeptics in the Pub talk, and the Northern Ireland Science Festival (The science of the winter Olympics).

So, I really wasn't joking when I said I've been busy! As I write this, I'm prepping for two in-person events, both happening within the next week. A small, public launch event at Schrodinger's Books (tomorrow) and a bigger launch event at the Irish Embassy (on Wednesday). We're being as safe as we possibly can - vaccine passes and masks are a must, and numbers are well below the legal limits so we can space ourselves out. Fingers crossed they go swimmingly!

All of this promo seems to be having an impact - the first royalties statement (which only covers sales until the end of Dec 2021) shows that lots of people have been buying copies of Sticky! I'm still miles away from earning back my advance - in other words, no $$ for me yet - but I'm relieved and happy that the book is out there and copies are selling :)

I'll finish with this. The Startalk interview (I think combined with the KERA one) also led to something extremely unexpected happening. For a while on 5th April, all three editions of Sticky - kindle, audiobook, hardcopy - were in the Top 10 materials science books on US Amazon!! "Bestselling author, Laurie Winkless". I like the sound of that! (Yes it's a niche book category, but I'm taking it!)

Stay well, everyone.

L x