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.
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.
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.
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.