Pomp & circumstance

So you’re not entirely imaginary, after all! Thanks so much for the kind comments here & on Twitter. To be part of a virtual community like this is important for a writer whose working life is usually solitary. I really value your company.

How pompous does that sound? I do find myself getting horribly sententious sometimes. Being an author makes you feel a bit precious occasionally. Especially when you’re used to writing about other people, as I am, rather than yourself. I’m always floored when people ask questions about me when I’m giving a talk (and the next one’s in Carlisle on Saturday!), rather than about the fascinating people my books are about. It’s flattering, but does tend to encourage some ill-advised showmanship.

When I was little, and even fonder of cake than I am now, I used to put my hands over my eyes so that no-one could see me while I tried to filch another bun from the tin at tea-time. I can’t help feeling that similar tactics now – a paper bag over my head, maybe – might help quell my nerves when people ask me writerly questions on stage. It might help a whole lot of things, actually.

Then again, one of the best things about what I do is talking to audiences and performing, and however shy I might be, I have to admit I absolutely love it. We all need a bit of adrenaline occasionally – and there’s not a lot of that to be had when you’re lying on a sofa with a comatose cat, a bar of chocolate and a half-written book.

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