I’m saying that really casually, aren’t I? Just nonchalantly dropping it in. But inside my brain, it’s more like: LONDON FILM AND COMIC CON! I WAS THERE! WOOHOO!
It was arranged kind of at the last minute – another author was unable to make it – and I literally gave a shriek of joy when my publicist asked. What? Go to LFCC for free AND sign copies of my Angel trilogy? And hang out in the green room with Doctor Who stars and sip champagne and make scintillating conversation?
Oh, twist my arm.
(Ahem. There may not have been any actual champagne. But there was a bubble-sparkling vibe to the day nonetheless.)
My husband came along; he insisted that someone needed to carry my Angel banner for me. (Basically, he’s as geeky as I am and LFCC is Geek Mecca.) We got to Olympia early, so went and found a Costa Coffee nearby. And then we just sat outside and drank cappuccino and watched all of these amazing costumes parade past down the sidewalk. Green Lantern. A trio of Ghostbusters. Batman and Poison Ivy.
London being London, no one paid any attention. BUT IT WAS SO COOL. And I found myself thinking about the need to belong to something: how in modern life we don’t often have a sense of tribal identity, yet these people had all found who they were – or who they enjoyed pretending to be – and at LFCC they could come together and celebrate it.
Admittedly, maybe my mind was buzzing on caffeine. But I think the best thoughts always come then.
When we got inside it was almost painful to have to walk past all the booths and the people and pretend to be professional when I just wanted to stop in my tracks and say “OH, WOW,” a lot. We were taken back to the green room, an enticingly unmarked door in the corner. Inside were some tables and a lavish spread of food. I went to use the loo; when I came back my husband was wearing a VIP badge and had one marked ‘Guest’ for me.
“What?” I said. “How come you’re a VIP and I’m just a guest?” (Yes, I am this petty.)
He smirked. “Don’t know. But the girl insisted it was right.”
I put on my ‘Guest’ badge, but kept looking over at his. After a few minutes, I said again, “Yes, but how come you’re a VIP and I’m not?”
He’s allowed to smack me at times like this.
(Raise your hand, dear readers, if you think he switched the badges.)
So then the signing. I was there with Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass) and Samantha Shannon (The Bone Season) and I don’t think I’ve ever had a signing with such a fun buzz. A huge thank you to everyone who came by my table – I loved meeting all of you, especially those who came clutching such well-read copies of Angel: for a writer there’s no greater compliment. And some of you even brought little presents, and chocolate, and – wow. People are so amazing. THANK YOU.
Halfway through I had a mild panic when Sarah and Samantha rose to go give the authors' talk. The authors' talk?! Wait, no one told me I was going to have to give a talk. Thankfully, this was because I didn’t have to, having been such a late addition to the programme.
So instead I got to go watch them. Authors never get tired of hearing how other authors work, and both Sarah and Shannon were articulate and passionate. “I really love what I do,” I thought as I listened to them, having the sense that here I was, in my own weird little world of writing, where I thoroughly belonged.
See? That tribal thing again. Any writers reading this: you are my tribe! We should have t-shirts made.
Afterwards my husband and I roamed around to our heart's content, geeking out on comic books and Vincent Price DVDs. When it came to the stalls, I especially had my eye on one that sold amazing handmade notebooks (writers to notebooks = moths to flame). Look: Is this not amazing?
And he takes commissions! So I’m going to get one specially made for my work in progress, and the sheer awesomeness of this is just taking my breath away. I wish I could tell you what’s going to be on the cover, but I’m still being Mysterious until the new project is officially announced. Soon all will be revealed, I promise.
Maybe we didn’t meet any Doctor Who stars, but it was a memorable day. On our way out, we asked if they needed our badges back, and they said no. So my husband gets to keep on being a VIP.
I think he probably deserves it.