Last night I was wined and dined by the lovely folks at Macmillan at a posh French joint in Soho. (so posh there were only two things on the menu I could face eating! Everything else seemed to be in squid ink sauce!)
The dinner was to celebrate Charlotte Mendelson's new book When We Were Bad, published in May. I have started reading it and it's great stuff so far, but Picador are very excited and think they could have a big literary seller on their hands. Sounds like I'm being paid to say all this eh?
Nope, not a penny. The fact is I usually hate publishing dinners/drinks but this was a good one. Charlotte was a real laugh, friendly, intelligent and very down to earth. Not only that she has read our blog. And been into the shop. Top marks Charlotte...My old mate Glenn Collins was there as well and that helped the night to fly by. He was a great supporter of Love in Idleness back in our Pan Bookshop days. Charlotte rememberd coming in to sign copies on the same day as Joanne Harris (author of Chocolat). At that point Harris was huge and selling books effortlessly. Charlotte was a debutant. It was the Time of Topping at Pan and two authors at once meant the cakes were on hand in vast quantities. Charlotte admitted to having eaten cakes from Maison Blanc before only to be slapped down by Harris in a kind of "I'm a Northern lass - we didn't have cake in them days where I grew up - only rock cake made from real rocks". Poor Charlotte left rather upset only to find Glenn chasing her down the street in heroic fashion. He gave her a book (I forget which - bloody wine) and the day was saved.
I managed not to say anything too stupid. (Though I have to confess that while discussing the Macmillan offices in Kings Cross with their sales director I said the only time I'd been there I was propositioned by a "lady of the night" despite it being ten in the morning. The sales director then proceeded to tell me that was peak time...At this point conversation around the table paused and I began to blush!)
But really the main reason I had such a good time was the brilliant wine. Er no, well it was good but - I say again -
Charlotte Mendelson ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!