09 Jul Sonny Bill Williams Meets Daniel Tahi

Those of you who have been hanging out here with me since before I published TELESA, will know that this picture of Sonny Bill Williams may have been the inspiration for certain key scenes in the book where Daniel Tahi emerges from various water features.  (I can neither confirm nor deny that this picture was pasted in the working Word file document of TELESA for reference at various points in the writing process…)

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And that time at Samoa College when Leila sees Daniel on the rugby field with a t.shirt tied round his head cos it’s sooooo hot outside?  Possibly came from this pic. Just a very slight possibility…Tattoo? Check. Abs? Check. Sweat? Check. Smile? Check.

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And if you imagine this is night-time and photoshop in some stars, and black sand spangled with silver moonlight…and an ie faitaga, and cut out all the other people bombing this pic – then this could MAYBE be Daniel walking towards Leila on their beach wedding night.

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Which is why, when my Little Brother told us he was coming to Samoa with the NZ All Blacks team as part of their security detail – I was alight with a BRILLIANT idea. How cool would it be to give Sonny Bill Williams a copy of TELESA  and get a photo of SBW holding his TELESA book?! (Which he could then take home and give to his wife- because somehow I doubt he wants to read a Young Adult romance novel that has a few too many descriptions of Daniel Tahi’s rippling muscles…I mean, the dude has his own muscles, why would he want to read about Daniel’s?)

This was it, the perfect opportunity to get my book into SBW’s rugby-player-model hands. And maybe explain his very slight, very miniscule connection to Daniel Tahi. This was destiny!

For some odd reason, my little brother didn’t agree. He called and when I asked him if I could come visit him at the hotel and CASUALLY bump into SBW so I could gift him my book, my brother said, No.

“But why not?” I whined.

“Because our job is to stop people from harassing them. Not let them in.”

“But I’m your sister,” I argued. “I don’t want to harass him. I’m not dangerous. I’m not a stalker. I just want to give him my book.”

“No,” he said. “And if you come down here, I’m going to pretend that I don’t know you.”

“I’ll yell out your name,” I threatened.

He wasn’t moved. “The security team will drag you away and I will tell them that I aint never seen that woman before in my life.”

I was really feeling the sibling love. #Not.

Then my lil brother came over to say hi to everyone. I plied him with chocolate cake and ice cream. Lots of hugs and smiles. Then I asked him if – instead of me cornering SBW at the hotel and throwing TELESA books at him…”how about YOU give him my book? Tell him your sister is an author and its a present!” What a fabulous idea.

“No. I could get fired,” said my brother.

But I am crafty and sly. “I have a better idea. When it’s your turn to look after Sonny Bill Williams, you can be reading my book. Then in a lull in the activities, you can exclaim real loud with excitement and say ‘Wow Sonny, this book is so fabulous! You should read it.’ Then you give it to him. Real subtle like, see?”

This time the Hot Man joined my brother in shaking their collective heads with a look of befuddled disgust. “You’ve obviously never worked as a security, have you?” said the Hot Man. “You ever see a security bodyguard reading a book while they’re on duty??”

My brother laughed as he repeated…Wow Sonny, this book is so fabulous! “Who says that? You expect me to say ‘WOW Sonny’ to one of the All Blacks??”

Everybody laughed.

But I was not deterred. No, no. Because a meeting between  Sonny Bill Williams and Daniel Tahi is DESTINY DAMMIT.

“I got another idea,” I said. “You wait till you’re all on the plane back to New Zealand. Make sure you’re sitting near Sonny Bill Williams. You start reading Telesa, then you can pretend to be confused, and you lean across to him, point out one of the big words and say, ‘This is a hard one. How do you pronounce this word bro?’ Then you lead in to a conversation about the book and before you know it, he’s dying to read it.”

“NO,” said my brother. “NO.”

Even second servings of cake and ice-cream couldn’t change his mind.

I was rather bereft. Whats the point of having a brother work security for the All Blacks if he can’t foist your books on unsuspecting rugby players?

Then the historic game happened between the Manu Samoa and the NZ All Blacks. It was a very exciting game.  I was overwhelmed by national pride and patriotism which  took me by surprise actually. It was so intense that I may even have yelled for someone…ANYONE to please rip Sonny Bill Williams beautifulness to pieces.  I didn’t care anymore that his tattooed arm and six pack may have lent themselves to Daniel Tahi’s creation. Nope. He was the enemy along with all the other All Blacks. And the Manu Samoa represented everything that is fierce and fabulous about Samoa.

I was sad when Samoa lost. And incredibly proud too.

I wrote my feelings on Facebook…

So proud of  Samoa and to be Samoan. From the months and weeks of preparation, to the welcome, to the game, to the moving words of Alesana Tuilagi at the close. From every village that flew Manu Samoa AND All Blacks flags, to the Womens Komiti that wove fans for the NZ team, to the hardworking crew that co-ordinated everything behind the scenes…and so many more. Malo lava to all those who made it happen. Thank you for reminding us why there truly is no place on earth like our beautiful country.  And to the shamahzing players of Manu Samoa – thank you for fighting hard from start to finish. I know nothing about rugby but it was quite satisfying to see key All Blacks players getting taken down and smushed on Samoan soil!

Then I messaged my brother – Don’t worry. I don’t want to give Sonny Bill Williams a copy of my book anymore. In fact, NONE of the All Blacks are allowed to even breathe on my book, let alone read it.

I’m sure they’ll all be devastated to hear that. #Not.

BUT if anybody is friends with Mrs Sonny Bill Williams, could you pleeease ask her if she’d like to read a thrilling novel inspired by Polynesian mythology – and possibly a little bit of her husband’s tattooed arm? Thank you!

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