Most of the time, being a writer involves coming up with rubbish excuses to avoid doing any actual writing. Making tea. Making some more tea. Attempting to excavate peanut butter from inside one’s laptop after an ill-advised toast/facebook interface. Going to Co-Op to buy more tea, even though you already have tea, and then making tea with it. It’s a rollercoaster ride.
Occasionally, the distractions are a bit more jolly.
Yes, that is a dinosaur’s bottom, and those are the beautiful people of the book trade. The Bookseller Retail Awards took place in the Natural History Museum, which turns out to be a rather smashing place for a party – not least because you half expect a burly security guard to flick on the lights and yell ‘What the bloody hell are you lot doing in here?’
In the absence of Scooby-Doo-esque shenanigans, we concentrated on looking enthusiastic about learning who had won Supply Chain Initiative of the Year, and not talking about the McCann case. I met the completely lovely M.G. Harris, a fellow children’s writer whose Joshua Files will be out in February (a sort of 13-year-old Indiana Jones, blogging and not-quite-snogging his way to Mayan gold: sounds like larks), and who not only lives about ten minutes from my house, but is also gloriously nerdy about Blake’s 7 (anyone who will namecheck Chris Boucher in casual conversation is all right by me). As for the resident slebs, it turns out that Antony Horowitz is surprisingly orange, Tony Parsons is unsurprisingly oleaginous, and Dara O’Briain is unflappable as well as very funny, compering away despite the twin distractions of a malfunctioning microphone and Tiny there in the middle of his audience.
As befitted the location, it was an educational experience too: apparently one never leaves a publishing do empty-handed. I’m not sure whether eating a free chocolate bar declaring that Cathy Kelly’s new novel is like ‘Chocolate Therapy’ will make me read it: it definitely makes me wonder if people will not read mine (or, more to the point, booksellers won’t put it on shelves) if they aren’t bombarded with gratis confectionary first. Perhaps I should ensconce myself outside the nearest Waterstone’s on publication day, and thrust Jaffa Cakes at unsuspecting passers-by…
In any case, the food was great, the company greater, and ‘I was eating some fishcakes with a bronotosaurus’ is the best excuse for not having written anything all day I’ve yet come up with. Can I do it again next week, please?
the three Rs: