Earlier this week I had my first official trip to London as a soon to be published author. It was an intense and pretty exhausting time, but overall proved to be fascinating. On Monday morning I visited my fantastic agent, Juliet Mushens, and Sarah, her lovely assistant, at their offices for a chat about the book and the trilogy, my plans and what happens next.
After that it was my first trip to the Orbit offices to meet with my editor, Jenni Hill, for the first time. Orbit have their offices at 100 Victoria Embankment, which is a massive and very impressive building, inside and out. I was nervous about being late, so rather than risk getting lost, I got off the tube and did the sensible thing. I asked the nearest security person at the station how tin find the building. The woman was very kind and patient, as she walked with me to the entrance to the tube station and then pointed at the giant edifice directly across the road. Whoops! I grinned sheepishly and scuttled off.
Over lunch Jenni and I talked about the book, the characters, and really got into a meaty chat about the first book, Battlemage, and how it connects to the others in the trilogy. I think it’s the first time I’ve had a proper discussion about the series and the shape of it with someone who had read the first book. For the longest time characters have just lived inside my head and on the page, but suddenly they were breathing again as we talked about the future and what happened next. I could answer all of the questions but I think it was the first time I’d said some of it aloud to someone else. I probably got a few strange looks from other people in the restaurant but I didn’t notice.
After that I was shown around the Orbit offices and met the rest of the team who were all fabulous and so enthusiastic. With little time to spare I zipped back across London, checked into my hotel, then ran back out again for an early dinner with some friends. The rest of the evening I could just sit back and try to unwind and unclench, as the attention was firmly on Jen Williams (she of the fabulous The Copper Promise fame) and Den Patrick (he of the equally awesome The Boy with The Porcelain Blade). At Blackwells on Charing Cross Road, Jared Shurin was asking the questions and the topics ranged from influences to monsters to magic. There was a great crowd who queued up in the typically polite English fashion to get a copy of each book signed. Technically Porcelain wasn’t out on Monday, but there were a few cheeky copies that had been released early, so I made sure I snagged one and got it signed by Den.
Not long after we adjourned to a local pub for drinks where I nobly battled to stay awake after a long and tiring day. I think I managed fairly well and had a few geeky conversations as well as getting a chance to talk archery with Gillian Redfearn. It wasn’t a late finish, for which I was grateful, and I crashed out in my hotel.
Tuesday morning I was back on the train, headed north again, towards home and also an appointment with a photographer. I think they came out quite well, despite the bags under my eyes and the stubble, but they’re both usually there anyway, so it’s going to be accurate.
It’s quite a few months until my next convention, 9 Worlds in August in London. I’ve settled back into my normal daily routine again, and have got back to work on book 2, but somewhere in the back of my mind I am now aware that other people are talking about the characters from Battlemage, and that they’re waiting to see what I do next in book 2. I also have a deadline for the first time, but so far, very little has changed day to day. I’m sure that will change next year but for now, it’s head down and keep writing.