You turn up at these events unsure of what you will find. There is an imaginary vision in your head - books will be laid out for sale, drinks provided, comfortable chair for the speaker, appreciative audience. It never arrives - until last night. Everything went smoothly, I gabbled away at top rate, answered questions, signed books, drank tea and ate custard creams and twiglets (could there be a better combo?). Even better, I was delighted to see on the display stand my favourite books: they'd seen the list on my website and dug them out. It was an object lesson in how to make an author happy. Thank you.
The evening would also have been memorable for the presence of two Only Fools and Horses fans among the sea of, well, generally middle-aged women. Aged 13 and 12, they were a great credit to their mums, and behaved impeccably, listening to me going on about books and writing for hours when all they really wanted to know was what David Jason was like.
And oh dear, I probably rabbited on for far too long. I spend most of my time talking to the computer, and may have no face to face contact with real people for days, so when I see lots of them I go a bit...verbal. And it was the first Kissing Mr Wrong talk, so I was nervous on top of that - I'd wanted to read a WWI bit but on practising at home realised I couldn't without crying. Nowadays you just have to mention the Somme and I'm off.
Add prime minsterial debates and rain into the mix, and the whole thing could have been a disaster. But I had a good time. I just hope the audience did too.