I was on a panel of crime writers at a literary festival where an audience member asked how we sleep at night, with so many murders playing in our minds. 'Don't you get nightmares?' I replied truthfully that I sleep very well.
Well, last night, I did have a nightmare of sorts. It didn't involved monsters or gushing blood. No, I dreamed I was at my book launch. Lots of people were arriving at a bookstore, nothing like the real venue for the launch party. It had corridors, and different rooms, an easy place to get lost (my usual worry dream.)
Lots of people were arriving. I didn't get lost. There was a fantastic buffet (sorry, only the usual nibbles at the real event tonight.) I was wearing The Dress and it fitted fine.
As I was greeting guests, I was distracted because I couldn't find any copies of my new book. I was due to give a short speech but still hadn't found my books. 'Here they are' my (in real life lovely) publisher said. He pointed to a table covered with small children's books. 'We decided to bring it out as an easy reader for young children. You must have agreed.'
'No,' I replied, aghast. 'That's not even my name on the cover!'
'We thought it best not to confuse the new series with your other books.'
I picked one up and looked inside. It was number 22 in the series. Scrabbling around we finally found numbers 1-3 wrapped in cellophane. Scanning through the first one, I could think of NOTHING complimentary or even vaguely interesting to say about the book which was aimed at young children learning to read. There were cartoon pictures to colour in. The text was short extracts from my book - unreadable and incomprehensible to the target audience. It made no sense!!!
I stood up and began my speech, mainly reading from the back of the book: 'You can read this book with mummy. Mummy can read it to you. There's a chart for parents to fill in to show what aspect of reading your child struggles with so you can work on those specifically.'
As I was talking, people were standing up and leaving.
I'll write about the actual book launch as soon as I have time after the event tonight. It may take a few days, as we're off on tour again tomorrow going to Birmingham and Solihull. But I'm sure the real launch will be nothing like my dream!