The Bloomsbury training event was a great success and also fun. Nine of us, including Celia Rees, Mary Hooper, Graham Marks and Pauline Fisk, were given very good advice about how to prepare an event based on our latest title. "Do not expect that anyone will know your books," advised David Bond, our trainer.
I think this has been a bit of a Road to Damascus revelation to me. Instead of getting upset about the lack of preparation in schools and for events, one should just do a presentation that doesn't depend on it. Of course. it's still worth sending out a flyer beforehand and directing teachers to one's website. And I shall still limit Primary age appearances to when I have a new book out (see The Fat Lady has Sung for reasons why). But I shall prepare a "Grace presentation" and a "Stravaganza presentation", perhaps with Power Point, and tour it next year.
And I even did the dreaded videod reading, from an unprepared passage from City of Flowers. Talking of which, I bumped into Ian Butterworth, the designer, at the Bloomsbury Christmas Party afterwards (candles, tangerines and chocolate coins at the beautiful Home for Fallen Women in Greek Street - Saint Barnabas). We both felt nervous about the jacket, which was due any day, and then we found out it had come that day! This was immensely frustrating as it hadn't been brought to the party.
But now it has come by post, very gorgeous in red marbling and silver fleur-de-lys, and there are no mistakes in the text either. All the bound proofs have gone, so I must get back my only two from daughters. The finished copies will be here at the end of January.
Next day I gave blood for the first time - it was a doddle! Just do it, everyone who can.
To the QI club in Oxford on Monday for lunch with Fiona Kenshole, who published one of my books at Collins (Bump in the Night) and two at Hodder (Trace in Space and Special Powers) but who has just become Director of Scouting [sic] at Vinton Studios, an animation company bought by the multi-millionaire founder of Nike. The club was started by the man who brought QI (Quite Interersting) with Stephen Fry, to our TV screens. It is supposed to be a place for interesting encounters and conversation. I met a French film director who is making films about PG Wodehouse, a TV series about surreal life in an English village and a film about a Casanova type at the court of Louis Quatorze. "All in the casting", we women thought. "Stuart Townsend," I said droolingly, and he seemed convinced. Invite me to the premiere, I said.
That would be quite interesting enough for me.
Off to the panto now. A very Happy Christmas, one and all!