I had a close encounter on foot with a man in a van this week.
There I was, minding my own business, crossing a side street when said van man drives past on the main road and then stops and, with no indication, no checking mirrors, reverses at speed into the street I’m crossing. Fortunately, an alert pedestrian shouts a warning. I freeze. Van man stops. There is a coat of paint between us. Note, I did not spring out of the way, a la Jason Bourne, nor did I identify the van’s registration in John Rebus style. It was as if someone had cut the power cables to my brain. Before I had the chance to curse, the white van – why is it always a white van – disappears, laying rubber, in the opposite direction. Thanks very much, mate.
Then I got thinking and, by the time I’d got to my cash point destination, paranoid me reckoned someone had put out a contract, and I’d written the opening line of a thriller, a neat reversal of the saying ‘Art imitates life’.
Motoring mayhem aside, I had an altogether more positive dose of reality this week. Two writers I’ve helped, with my Writers’ Workshop freelance hat on, obtained publishing deals: Luca Pesaro’s ‘The Zero Alternative’ with e-book publisher ‘Three Hares.’ Lips sealed, until release, on the other, but it didn’t stop me from feeling like a proud mother hen with chicks.
And me? I had the rare pleasure of meeting up with a longstanding fan of my novels over coffee in town. It’s quite an odd feeling to finally meet someone who has been in email contact with you over a number of years. I don’t doubt it’s equally strange to meet the writer whose work you’ve long admired. Luckily for both of us, we got on like the proverbial house on fire, but then Craig Chapman is not your average reader. A musician and former band member of ‘Tara’s Secret’, Craig is no slouch in the music ‘bizz’. I thought writing was a tough game until I got talking to Craig. Illegal downloads are the bane of a musician’s life. Subsequent sales may be in zillions and you might be a music sensation in Japan, but the humble musician won’t receive a penny. Just as in writing, for every band that makes it big, there are thousands who bump along the bottom, and ‘don’t give up the day job’ applies as much to musicians as writers.
Like I said, back in the real world. And if you don’t believe me, check out Phillipa Ashley’s incisive post on D H H Literary Agency’s blog!