“I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille”
“I’d like to thank the Academy…”
“My fellow Americans…”
“I, Kimberly, take you, Jon Bon Jovi…”
“I’m off to London to have lunch with my editor.”
Well, I still haven’t had the chance to use any of the first four, but practicing that last one really came in handy recently. Because I did go to London and have lunch with my editor. Squee!
Okay, so I got on the wrong train (totally not my fault and I wasn’t the only one on the wrong train. It had been announced incorrectly), and then I got a little bit lost in Richmond and went the long way around to the Mills and Boon office, but those mishaps aside didn’t take the glam out of the event. Other than showing up at the office a little sweaty from my trek.
Sadly, I have no pictures (sorry, Angel, but you weren’t there to remind me).
I presented myself to the receptionist and told her who I was. She had to call up for someone to come get me. (Boy, security is tight. I was wondering if aspiring authors wander in off the streets occasionally trying to find an editor.) There’s a M&B rack in the lobby, so I perused the books while I waited. Happy of happiness, I found one of my books on the rack! I’m on a lobby display rack! How cool!
Then Lucy (Gilmour – my lovely editor) and Bryony (Green – Senior Ed of Modern Heat) came down to get me from the lobby and took me upstairs into the M&B sanctum. Just the thought of all the creative energy and book-making gave me the shivers. Alas, it looked a bit like any other office (I’m not sure what I was expecting). But then, editors came out of their cubicles to say hello: Tessa Shapcott (head of the Modern/Presents line), Jenny Hutton, Sally Williamson (Lynn Raye Harris’s editor), Joanne Grant, Kimberley Young (who let me interview her for the Playground a couple of years ago) – if anyone from the M&B office is reading this and I’ve left you off the list, my apologies. A newbie author can only absorb so much fabulous editorial at one time. Talk about feeling special – after so many years of stalking editors at conferences, having so many actually want to say hello is just surreal.
Then it was off to lunch. Lucy and Bryony led me to a wonderfully hidden-down-a-back-street French restaurant where we sat in a walled-in courtyard. A bottle of wine, a menu of things I didn’t quite recognize, everyone around me with either a British or French accent – I felt like the punch line to every Alabama Redneck joke ever invented.
And then I began to babble. Hmm, seems I should have spent less time practicing accepting my Oscar and more working on making small talk with my editors. I don’t know why I was nervous. Bryony and Lucy are both wonderfully friendly people, and I know this wasn’t a job interview, but still… Babble city. Ugh. Did I mention the Alabama Redneck part?
But all good news from my editors. My books seem to be doing all right. They seem happy with what I’m writing and want me to write more books. Lucy has confidence I’ll be able to get the revisions on the current book done (glad one of us does!). And I was told that I could come back for lunch again when I bring AC over to see her grandparents next year. (Annual lunch with my editor in London? Really? Man, I love this job!)
Then I was back on the train headed back to central London with a couple of M&B books in my bag for the ride home. (Okay, so I asked for books. Tacky, but I’d read my entire magazine on the wrong train earlier.)
Back in London, I met up with the fabu Heidi Rice, fellow Modern Heat author, who continued my day of author glamor by taking me to the National Gallery Café for drinks. Drinks overlooking Trafalgar Square while talking about editors and books and royalty statements made me feel very Author-like indeed. I didn’t miss the surreptitious glances of “Are they famous people?” from the folks at the next table as we tossed around publishing terms. Good for the ego -- if not great for my liver or waistline.
The most horrible train ride ever followed as I made my way back to where I was staying with some friends. However, in the midst of my misery (and trust me, crowded commuter trains out of London when there’s been an accident on the tracks and mucked up the entire schedule is misery indeed), I came up with an idea for book number five. Yep, I felt like an author.
Now I’m home in Alabama and there’s absolutely no glamor to be found as I dig through the post-vacation mess of laundry/mail/empty fridge – oh, and let’s not forget the optimistic deadline I gave Lucy about my revisions looming on the horizon.
But I had lunch with my editor in London. Squee!