I met Annie Claydon only last year at the M&B lunch, because she’s very new to the M&B stable, but I knew we’d be friends the minute she joined the medical authors’ email loop and started chatting there – and I was dead right, because she’s as lovely in person as she is online and in her books. (I love her books, especially the astronomy scene – wish I’d written that one!) I had the pleasure of having a very posh cup of tea with her last year, and we have lots in common. And it’s also lovely to have a friend who understands hearing loss – I didn’t have to ask her to move so I could see her face in a noisy environment because she did it automatically.
Over to Annie:
Kate, thank you for inviting me to help celebrate your 50th book, I'm thrilled to be here.
There's another little celebration going on here in London at the moment, which has a few things in common with Kate's party. The Olympic Games is all about hard work, talent and achievement, and is being followed from all corners of the globe. But to Kate's credit, there are a some important differences - so far she's caused absolutely no disruption at St Pancras Station, nor has she managed to bring the Central Line to a grinding halt. I haven't received any merchandising emails from her either (although thinking about it, I'd definitely be up for a 'Team Kate' t-shirt).
Last Friday I was one of the 200,000 visitors to the Olympic Park, and even in such a large area that number of people is a spectacle in itself. Add in the men and women from the Army, Navy and Air Force who deserve huge thanks for keeping the Park a safe place, the Volunteers, who have been the good humoured stars of the show, athletes from 205 countries, buskers, performance artists and a sprinkling of very cheery policemen and you get a wonderful crowd.
I had tickets for the Basketball Arena, where the cheering, clapping and stamping of 12,000 spectators made the whole place shake. But 12,000 or even 200,000 is a drop in the ocean when you consider how many copies of Kate's books have been in circulation around the world in the last ten years. Wouldn't it be something to gather all of those readers together and hear them cheer?
I'd like to award Kate my own personal gold medal, too. As a very new writer, with only two books to my credit so far, I'm in awe of her achievements. Not just the terrifying number of books she's written in such a short time, but the creativity, warmth and humour that's a hallmark of her work. (And of course the heroes. Who can forget Kate's heroes?) I'm so far out of her league that I should be content with one of her discarded chocolate wrappers. But does Kate think that way? In a word – no. In addition to her prodigious talent, she's a truly nice person, generous with her advice for newbies like me and open hearted with her friendship.
So step up to the podium and take a bow, Kate. Enjoy every moment of your party. And to add to the cyber champagne, chocolates and roses that your other guests have brought along, here are some different kinds of cyber flowers – these are from just one of the swathes of wildflowers at the Olympic Park, which on their own make the area worth a visit.
You can find out more about Annie and her books on her blog, http://www.annieclaydon.com.