Last Friday I met a lot of people I have only known as words.

Perhaps a tiny picture, or a photo of their garden, or child, or book. But we met in Foyles, Charing Cross Road, London, and it was an extraordinary experience. Looking into someone’s eyes who you have never seen in the flesh, and yet feeling as if you know them. In fact the bonhomie was so strong I found myself hugging total strangers as if we had grown up on this planet together!

Which I suppose we have, in a way. I met Derek Murphy, from far away, who designed Toxics – a cover that still stirs people to tell me how beautiful it is. Thank you, Derek.

I met a list of names and now they are people with whom I have shared a drink, or a giggle, or a tussle over space, or even a sandwich in the lovely cafe. Amanda Hatter, Debbie Young, Helena Halme and her bad husband, Christopher Bowden, Gilly Hamer, Liza Perrat, Catriona Troth, Jane Smith, Roz Morris, Dan Holloway, Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn with the long surname,  Ian Richardson, Derek Birks, Clare Flynn, Polly in Germany, Orla Broderick, Orna Ross, Dan Holloway, Ian Sutherland, Sandy Osborne, Chele Cook, Alison Morton, Eliza Green, Angela Formby and her lovely son, Nick Stevenson and the hard- working drinks staff who kept their good humour in spite of a roomful of hot, thirsty authors throughout the long day.

Thank you, Peter Urpeth for relinquishing some floor space so Toxics could be seen!

It was supposed to be a day of learning, in this needy, greedy world of writing and promoting your own work. And the speakers were marvellous. Realistic, inspiring, diligent, and giving of their own time after a very long book week at Olympia’s trade fair. I made copious notes on a brochure all through the long day, and lost them in the last moment! Perhaps it was for the best. They were so full of instructions I would probably have found myself gibbering with inaction at where to begin with my bossy instructions of what to do next – what to do better – what must absolutely be done.

My family asked me if I had had a good day. I was too dazed to reply. I have a kaleidoscope of faces flitting through my head, and in the end, it’s always about the people, isn’t it?

I have neglected my readers, in trying to finish Oceans, and for that I am sorry. So today I thank all who visit and like my blog, and you know who you are! And I welcome all new who fly by, and I will really try to find the time to say something – even though I still believe there are so many out there saying it better – if you are here – HELLO :)


‘We come. We go. And in between we try to understand.’

Rod Steiger