Listening to: new Coldplay album
Reading: India Grey, Craving the Forbidden (loved it – her books are always a joy)
Most of the time, I am an oik who scruffs around in black trousers and a T-shirt, and I spend most of my time in my head with a spaniel snoring behind me.
But two or three times a year I get to dress up and go out and be Professional Author for the day. Friday was the annual M&B authors’ lunch in London, and I had a wonderful time.
DH dropped me off at the station; just before I got on the train, I noticed this sundog.
And then it was a matter of setting myself up with a temporary desk on the train to work on the revisions… (The essentials. Manuscript, revision notes, red pen, coffee, water.)
Had a good journey to London, but the Central line was absolutely heaving and I had to let two trains go past before I caught one on my way to Charing Cross. But I arrived at the Charing Cross Hotel on time, the sky was blue, and it was lovely to see everyone.
Humour me with a bit of namedropping – the people I was chatting to included Sara Craven, Liz Fielding, Sophie Weston, Sarah Morgan, Caroline Anderson, Fiona Harper, India Grey, Kate Walker, Heidi Rice, Lynn Raye Harris, Michelle Styles, Carol Townend and Joanna Maitland, as well as meeting up with new Med authors Annie Claydon and Scarlet Wilson.
Lunch: scrumptious. Duck parfait, chicken wrapped in parma ham,
and vanilla panna cotta.
Much talking, including to Fiona Harper and India Grey:
Fiona and (incredibly skinny - and very inspirational) Michelle Styles;
and Kate Walker (who I remember being very kind to me at my very first author lunch, 9 years ago).
From there, we were due to be at the Royal Horse Guards Hotel in Whitehall for the author toast. (Gorgeous architecture.) Went for a cup of tea there first with Caroline Anderson, Michelle Styles and Annie Claydon.
The tea was amazing – I would normally have chosen a latte (as Annie did – and it did look nice) but the words ‘Persian Pomegranate tea’ were on the menu. Neither Michelle nor I could resist. And it tasted just as good as it looks here. (Silver teapot and tea-strainer, too, note.)
And it was served with these lovely little cakes.
And then the head waiter (who’d chatted to us and was very sweet) came over with a plate of pecan tarts that had just come out of the oven…
Then it was time for the party. Beautiful, beautiful building (my pics are grainy so will not bore you with the architecture – ‘nuff said that the lamps were stunning, and they had the Sisi stars pic upstairs – saw that as I walked out of the lift, and squeaked to my lovely ed that THAT was the pic I was banging on about in the Rome book).
So what does an author party look like? Just like this...
And yes, it’s as much fun as it looks. (Here's a close-up of me with Fiona Harper and Scarlet Wilson - thanks to Scarlet for the pic. And, yes, I am indeed wearing blue nail varnish. Your forties are a time to have fun!)
Your first time at an author party will maybe feel a little daunting, but then you start to chat to others and discover that, actually, even the biggest best-sellers are just ordinary people who are lovely to talk to. And once you’ve been a few times and know absolutely everyone in the room, it means you usually have sore tummy muscles the next day from laughing so much, a croaky voice from talking too much, and a teensy headache because it’s hard to keep count of what you’re drinking when unobtrusive waiters keep filling up your glass as you’re talking...