“I am a bit nervous,” I admit to the Manager, over the phone.
It is true. I am more a writer than a personality, and I have no idea why anybody should want to actually meet me, unless they are a scary Stalky McStalker. I convey this fear to the Manager, who is a terribly nice chap and very sympathetic.
“Look,” he says. “Remember this is King’s Lynn – it’s not Piccadilly Circus. So you needn’t worry about it being a bit quiet. I will sit with you and hold your hand, so you do not look like a lemon.”
This will help.
“We had Roy Hudd in here a while back,” he continues. “And there were queues round the block. And then the next week we had another author, like you – not a famous name. And there was tumbleweed blowing through the store.”
There is a short pause. “Thank you for your reassurance,” I reply.
Everybody is sympathetic in the Village Pub. Mr & Mrs Martin the IT Consultant promises to turn up to buy another copy, as does Short Tony, who wants another copy to give to his brother for Christmas, signed and with the inscription ‘To Short Tony’s Brother.’ Jerry the Brush also says he will try to make it, as he has never read a book in his life and he thinks that he should start with mine, to see what they are like. I think that perhaps sometimes people use the phrase ‘has never read a book in his life’ very figuratively, but in fact Jerry the Brush has literally never read a book in his life, so I am hoping this means that I will be able to apply for some sort of adult literacy award from the government, etc.
The chickens will still not be attending. But I am hoping a smattering of celebrities such as the above will lend glamour to the occasion.