Author Photo day, hurrah! Lovely Sadie: Make Up Lady transformed my pallid old fizzog (apart from the cold-induced red nose – so festive) into something resembling a human being. Dominic the photographer skipped about with a big flappy foil kite to make natural light suffuse me with glowiness, while shouting ‘Say A Sentence!’ at me at intervals. (This is to keep your face muscles relaxed between glamorous-yet-intellectual authorial smiles. Either that or he was a bit bored.) And I was fed cups of tea.
Very emphatically best of all, though: on the way out I passed the next author in the photo queue, an affable-looking chap who was introduced to me as ‘Philip’ and kindly asked about my book. ‘And what do you write?’ I asked. He looked slightly crestfallen, and mumbled something about having written quite a few books, actually, at which point I thought ‘Oh arse, he’s someone terribly famous, have made utter fool of self and offended him, gaaaah’, until his mumbling included the words ‘Mortal Engines’ and OH BLIMEY IT WAS ONLY PHILIP REEVE! I adore Philip Reeve (despite evidently not knowing what he looks like). I covered my huge error by flailing at him like a lunatic and telling him he’s completely brilliant, and would’ve gone on for about half an hour if he hadn’t had to go and Say Sentences at Dominic, which on reflection was probably fortunate. He seemed to find it all quite entertaining, anyway: apparently it makes a change from people thinking he’s Philip Pullman. Oh, and he was wearing a brown moleskin three-piece suit, which makes me love him all the more.
After that there were dull things like being trapped on Oxford Street for an hour and a half (they closed the tubes due to overcrowding: strangely this did not improve the bus/traffic interface), but pfft. Philip Reeve!
Jenny Valentine’s Finding Violet Park, which won the Guardian Children’s First Book Prize this year. Only halfway through but it’s a thoroughly deserving winner already: real laugh-out-loud-with-a-lump-in-your-throat stuff. Hearing good things about the follow-up (Broken Soup, out in January) already too.
Failing at Christmas shopping decisions (even choosing wrapping paper, for pity’s sake), lusting after Lyra Belacqua’s Northern wardrobe (please someone tell me where I can get a hat that looks like it has a sort of woollen plate attached to the back of it?), eating fudge immediately before bed (clearly unwise).