Wednesday, 25 January 2012

My Day Out





You will recognise this building if you've ever walked along the South Bank looking north across the Thames. It houses Penguin, still my publisher for another 22 days.

Penguin is such a big deal on The Strand that they have their own entrance hall now. I want to say lobby but my brother recently accused me of sounding too American. It hasn’t always been there, the lobby, you used to have to walk into the regular lobby with all the ordinary people, but now you are able to stride through the etched glass door to the right into this cool haven of books and people smiling because they get to work with books. There are books in frames under glass, books stacked in piles on the shelves that scale the walls, books everywhere. A copy of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes is on each coffee table. I know that they will let me take one if I ask, and they do. They being: Helen, who has read Sweet Little Lies and says she loves it, that it was satisfying to read a book where you could relate to both the main characters, and Ruth, who hasn’t read my book but as she has always been the nicest person I have come across in publishing (and there are loads) I will let this pass.

I am at Penguin to do some bits to camera about Sweet Little Lies for their friendly new hub, Book Boutique. It feels strange to talk about my book when it has been so long since I delivered the manuscript. The baby I delivered shortly afterwards is running and climbing and demanding complex things like ‘not this biscuit, the other biscuit’ and yet my book is still a few weeks from birth, gestating in their labyrinthine offices, and I am nobody, but here I am sitting in the media suite (oh yes) drinking great coffee with a plate heaped with biscuits, so many that I wish I had brought Tupperware. I swear it hasn’t been this much fun for years. A Reluctant Cinderella was published without so much as a glass of water, and because of all the back and forth on the cover and the title that book too was held up, so not since the heady days of 2006 and Ruby Valentine have I been given the movie star experience that is visiting Penguin.

I have only been on camera once before (not including the occasions I was spotted in the background during my stint in television production) When I was twenty-two I made an audition tape for a travel show but I never heard back. I’ve been on the radio though and it is a bit like that except that you will see my face. The cameraman is called Paul, he doesn’t say much. I gabber away like a prize galah and hope it isn’t too cringey when I get to see them back. I will probably post one of two of the videos here eventually but can I just add that it was raining outside and the media suite, though both flash and fattening, did not have a mirror and neither did I.

I talk about the Sweet Little Lies and the big stupid one that Anna tells at the heart of the story. I talk about my best friend Hannah, because the book is about best friends as much as it is about romance. And I talk about the character of Ben because of course it’s about romance too.

I read Me Before You all the way home on the train.

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