Here I am yesterday in the company of a gaggle of fellow Chicken House authors.
Look, y’all! In the foreground is the left-hand side of Dan Smith’s face! Dan wrote Big Game, Boy X, a couple of great WWII dramas, as well as four (I think…) novels for adults.
And look! There’s Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of The Girl of Ink and Stars, no less!
Mr Barry Cunningham (Chicken House big cheese, he of the flat cap) is flanked by Kerr Thomson (who read brilliantly from The Sound of Whales) and the mighty Sophia Bennett, whose Love Song is out now and sounds fabulous…
And look! There’s me in the cap and next to me MG Leonard, whose Beetle Boy is everywhere – deservedly so – at the moment. And the tall guy at the back, I hear you ask? None other than Chris Callaghan, author of The Great Chocoplot. Follow the links folks. All these wonderful people have better websites than me.
We were at the Chicken House Big Breakfast in Edinburgh, and a fantastic morning it was. Except for two things that are on my mind, gnawing away at me; bothering me badly, tugging at my conscience. I can’t sleep about it.
One: I had a bite to eat with some of this lot afterwards. Dan and Chris are both from Newcastle; proper north-eastern lads. Both ordered a beer with their lunch. Me? A croissant and a glass of tonic water. When it arrived, there was an awkward silence. Dan Smith, deadpan, said, “Do you want a pair of ballet shoes with that?”
Two: on the train on the way home, one of our ticket inspectors passed down our carriage. He was carrying a large clear plastic bag, empty except for a pint or two of clear water gathered in its bottom third. He held it up. “Listen everyone,” he said. “Anyone seen a goldfish?”
Life is mysterious.