London at last

I know – it doesn’t look that special, does it? But this is the British Library, aka my spiritual home in London. I spent 6 joyous months there researching my PhD thesis and even now, when I walk through the doors, I smile grin like a lunatic. That may sound a bit deranged, but come on – where else might you pass an antique printing press on your way to the loo? So this was my first stop when I got off the train at Euston. I didn’t have anything to look up this time, but went in anyway to pay my respects. (And if you’re looking for a clever gift for a bookish person, you could do a lot worse than adopting one of their books.)

I met my editor, Mara Bergman of Walker Books, for lunch. Her office is on the South Bank in a converted Victorian factory.

The sign says, "Horatio Myer & Co Ltd, bedstead manufacturers"

We had a lovely lunch with Katie, a cover designer, and Emily, Mara’s editorial assistant. Mara is a wonderful editor and she’s also an award-winning picture-book author! She very generously gave me her latest book, Oliver Who Travelled Far and Wide, and it’s already become my son’s new favourite book.

Mara, holding some random title, with Katie & Emily

After lunch I met Patrick Insole, who designed the gorgeous covers for Spy and Body. I really, really, really love Patrick’s work but that didn’t stop me from coercing him into taking a picture. I’m told he detests photos. Soz, P.

After meeting several other Walkerites, all of whom were absolutely lovely and passionate about books (hello Jane and Emma and Sean!), I wandered across to the Albert Embankment, where the weather finally matched my mood.

That sky looks fake, I know, but I used no filters and haven't tweaked anything on this image.

The following day I met my agent, Rowan Lawton, for breakfast. I adore talking with Rowan – she never fails to be inspiring and energizing. We talked about the next book, and the next, and then about some wacky ideas I was kicking around. It was brilliant.

I spent the rest of my time wandering around Bloomsbury, researching the setting for my next novel. If there’s a happier job in the world, I have yet to hear of it.

And now, book news: the blog tour for The Agency 2: The Body at the Tower starts on August 2 at the Story Siren! My theme this time is Notorious Victorians – oh, yes.

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4 Responses to “London at last”

  1. Steph Burgis says:

    Ooh, the British Library is one of my favorite places in the world! I too did PhD research there and floated on air the whole time I was there – I’ve still got my old BL card even though it’s long since expired.

  2. Colleen says:

    I also adore the BL, although I didn’t do research there. I simply squee’d and gasped like a starstruck fan looking at the illuminated books display, which included a complete Chaucer from the early 1400s. *Swoons*

  3. Becky Earl says:

    The British Library was the first place i ever visited in London. My friend kep t laughing at me because i walked round going ‘oooh’, ‘wow’, ‘aww’ etc. it is a truly magical place. want to go back someday.

    shame you didn’t have time for the eye. it is a must! love your photo of the bridge in London, it’s a great photo. :D

  4. Ying says:

    I love a good BL-squee. So glad you all share my excitement!

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