Woke up early to a snow covered world and pondered the possibility that I might be mad for contemplating crossing the Peak District on the first train on a Sunday morning. It could be cancelled, or it could get stuck in a snow drift beyond Hope. Or something. All this to watch an author sign her books in Nottingham.
And that’s another thing. Nottingham. The witch family always gets lost when travelling anywhere near Nottingham. But, this was for Sara Paretsky, and if she can cross the Atlantic, braving airport security in her new undies, then a witch can battle the snow. Broom would have been good, but chilly. The train was OK in the end.
Once in Nottingham – which seems quite a nice place – I cased the joint (=checked out Waterstone’s) and downed a cup of tea in the store’s Costa, which had that nicest of things; a member of staff who likes NCIS. (He fancies Ziva.) Not being someone who eats her own sandwiches in cafés, I then attempted to gulp it down just outside the shop, only to encounter Sara’s marvellous PR lady Kerry mid-chew. My mid-chew. Kerry appeared to have lost her author.
We went inside and inquired about Sara’s whereabouts, and they had also lost her (I said Nottingham was dangerous!), until she turned up exiting the lift bearing a cup of coffee. So that explained that. Having heard Sara on Radio 4 saying how she is such a perfectionist with her coffee that she even makes her own and pours it out if it fails to make the grade, I was astonished at her bravery, but Sara said it was good coffee, when I challenged her. Must be the NCIS connection.
And that wasn’t the only losing of Sara going on. Someone had misdirected her in Cambridge the night before, and THAT’S NO WAY to treat Sara Paretsky. I was introduced to Ian who had SatNavved Sara to Nottingham (that will be why they made it…) and he’s perfect. I didn’t realise there are men like that. Young and good looking and wearing a purple shirt and purple Converses. With black. Sigh. I’ll start writing books for Hodder now. Just so I can, you know…
OK, I need to get back on track.
Sara settled down to her signing and chatting with all the fans who had turned up. I don’t know how she does it, but when every single one of them say how great her books are, and she manages to sound surprised and pleased and thanks them for saying so. One fan pointed out it had been 19 years since he’d last seen her, but I say he hasn’t tried hard enough. And I hope I got this right, because it seems Sara has only ever missed one signing, which is pretty good going.
While this happened, Ian and Kerry went off to switch luggage and cars in two different car parks, as part of what they call their ‘author relay race’. They only lose a few authors that way. (Joking!)
Sara apologised for being tired and confused, due to having been farmed out to breakfast television, live radio, two events a day and eating odd food at odd times in odd places. And then Kerry told Sara about the lovely fish and chips you get in Whitby, before saying they weren’t going there. Well, fine.
So what did we talk about, as Sara signed every book in the shop? Of hers, obviously. The new Hardball, and all the others. Well, her blogging, and how she enjoys the little cyber community that meet on her website blog. (Yes Bag Lady, that includes you.) Her writing plans, where she is contracted for more VI Warshawski books, and the novel Sara hopes to write for her husband based on his background working in Physics, which sounds a lot more interesting than I can manage to describe like this.
And we had to mention NCIS. I complimented Sara on getting her UK tour dates arranged almost to perfection, with no need to miss any episodes, seeing as the Olympic Winter Games are on while Sara tours. (How did she manage that?) She watches on her laptop, (well, who doesn’t?) and Kerry added that she had watched the previous night, which only shows that her heart is in the right place, but she’s seriously behind. Sara likes Gibbs best, although I got the impression she feels Mark Harmon has passed his best by date. (Nah, I wouldn’t say so…) And she secretly wants to be Ziva.
After that serendipitous meeting of so many NCIS fans under the roof of Waterstone’s, they had to go and play a trick on a poor witch. In exchange for a photo of Sara, I had to pose with her while Melissa from the shop repeated her Hairy Bikers camera duty and snapped us together. I pointed out that when forced in this manner, I tend to cut myself out later, but Sara had a way round that, albeit rather short arms.
It would seem that my camera malfunctioned in a big way, but anybody’s cheeks would be that red after a trek across the Peak District. In the snow.
Then Kerry gathered up her author and went to find the M1 going North.