Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Where to meet authors - you might be surprised.

On Thursday 17th March - coincidentally St Patrick's Day - I was in London to attend my publisher's annual sales conference bash, which was at the remarkable setting of Cafe de Paris in Leicester Square. It was a great night, with everyone dressed in amazing fantasy costumes for a masque ball, complete with a devil and angel on hand to usher the speakers on and off stage. I was in great company - not only from my friends and supporters from Hodder but with some great authors, including John Connolly, Gervase Phinn, Laini Taylor, Robyn Young, Ciara Geraghty, plus guest celebrity, Kirstie Allsopp.

Coming out of the venue, Leicester Square was in full party spirits, with droves of revellers dressed for the occasion in green hats and shamrocks, and all that business. Trying to flag a taxi was impossible, so I set off shanks pony style and hoofed it back to my hotel a couple miles away.

An early rise the following morning found me on a three and a half hour train journey back to Carlisle, Cumbria, followed by half and hour in the car to my house to pick up my wife, for a real quick turn around for a trip I'd booked up to my favourite getaway on the remote banks of Loch Tay in Scotland. So back in the car I went to take my dog to the kennels, then on the road for another four or five hours as I wended my way up north (with a few sight-seeing stops en route) to the log cabin I'd rented for a few days.

Talk about opposites.

Glitzy London one day, a remote hillside the next.

Here's the strange thing, though. I expected to meet authors while in London, but not on the banks of Loch Tay. As it was, on the Monday morning when preparing to head home, I bumped into writing buddy David Barber (Flash Fiction Offensive and David Barber's Fiction World) who just happened to be passing on his way to his day job. We had a good chinwag - which never is long enough to catch up on everything - before a bacon sandwich and a coffee (not to mention an insistent waitress who called me into the cafe) beckoned. It was great to see David, and in such an unlikely setting. What were the chances, eh?

Val McDermid, THE famous crime writer, told me that she was once 14,000 feet up in the Rockies only to be hailed by a passing climber...who she knew quite well. Odd, isn't it?


Col Bury said...

Small world, eh?

Dave told me he'd done a double-take on his way to work 'n' spun the car round. Bet he thought he was seeing things, but I recall you saying you loved it up there.

He's promised to take us to Loch Tay next time we go up, hopefully this summer.

Good stuff, bud.

Ps. Did they understand you in London? :-)

Dean Crawford said...

Awesome coincidence Matt, it's weird how things like that can happen. I always loved the ( genuinely ) true story of the guy hundreds of miles from home who was walking past a telephone booth and the phone rang. On a whim, he answered it - and the call was for him!

Col - us Londoners understand many languages - like Cockney.

David Barber said...

Matt - It was a great "chance meet" that I wish could have been a bit longer. I always say it about being up here that you can drive to Perth from Crieff (18 miles) and get arm ache from letting onto people, yet you can drive round Manchester all day and never see anyone you know. Scotland is vast yet very small at the same time.

I hope to see you at your next book launch.

Regards to you and your family.