Friday, 30 January 2015

The Big Breakfast

Brilliant end to January because I went to my first Chicken House event at the Groucho Club in Soho...

The room was jammed with authors, publishers, editors, reviewers and assorted book-people. And they all acted as if it was OK for me to be there among them. 
I saw dozens of people who I've only previously known as avatars - which was trippy but fun. At one point, the writer Catherine Constable perched on the arm of my chair and I was able to tell her how much I'd enjoyed The Wolf Princess. A few minutes later, I told the writer Rachel Ward how much I enjoyed her photography. The writer Emma Shevah was so lovely I think I actually hugged her. 

There's the Groucho club (photo by scarily famous author Dan Smith, whose book Big Game has just been made into a film!) where we were all served with coffee, croissants, quails eggs - and lots of other delicious things that I was far too nervous to eat or drink.

There's Barry - in his element of course. He introduced all his 2015 debut authors to the room (including me) and everyone clapped and stared at us. On my left is the super-glam Catherine Doyle whose book Vendetta has just been published to delirious reviews. On my right is lovely Linda Davies whose book will be published a month after mine. Her story features a longbow-wielding heroine - hence the specially made longbow that she's holding.

The freakiest thing of all was when these high-powered people acted as if they really wanted to meet us. Some of them had already read my book - which I still have no idea how to react to. A publisher from Scholastic in Germany (Hi, Anya!) came up and enthused about it. "I loved it! I just loved it so much!" she kept saying. Of course I had no idea what to do about this...other than another fierce hug. Which she didn't seem to mind - thankfully.
So I guess I'll be published in Germany if nowhere else!

After the Big Breakfast, I went to lunch at Pescatori with Barry and my editor, Rachel Leyshon (who is on the BranfordBoase longlist again!) to talk about my book. I'd worked so long and hard on it right up to the end of last year that I wasn't sure I could do any more editing. But they both came up with so many interesting ideas that I was re-inspired all over again. I had to get up three times in the dark last night to jot down notes by the light of my phone!
So that's how I'll be spending February - yet more editing. But thanks to Barry and Rachel's enthusiasm - plus all the encouraging things that various book-people said to me at the Groucho Club, I'm actually raring to go.
Bring it on February!

Saturday, 3 January 2015

A very Harry New Year!

We started the new year off with a visit to the Warner Bros Studios in Watford to see "Hogwarts in the Snow". And I honestly don't think I've ever taken so many photos in my life. So you're in for it, I'm afraid...

Since it was Twelve-year-old's birthday, the tour guide let him open the doors to the Great Hall of Hogwarts and let everyone in (which made him grin like a loon!)

There were massive Christmas trees and decorations everywhere - flaming puddings in the Great Hall and the remains of a Christmas dinner in the Burrow. And the spectacular model of the castle was covered with snow!
The Burrow
The Potions dungeon
Diagon Alley

Halfway through the tour we stopped for some Butterbeer. And it was gak. 

After that, we went on the Knightbus, Sirius Black's motorbike, the Flying Ford Anglia and the Hogwart's Bridge. We also visited the Potters' Avada Kedavra'ed cottage and the Dursley's house at 4 Privet Drive. But they weren't in.

And then - finally - the giant model in the snow. I took dozens of pictures but there aren't any that show how enormous and spectacular it really is. You'll have to go and see it yourselves - recommend!