The phone rang this morning. My agent is suggesting I write a blog.
‘But I don’t have anything to write about,’ I protest, feebly.
‘Darling – you’ve been ill. Fighting for your life.’
‘I don’t remember that.’
‘Well, that kind of makes my point, doesn’t it?’
‘But what shall I say?’
‘Anything you like, darling. Just don’t mention the mucus. That was quite unpleasant. No one wants to hear about the mucus.’
‘Or the hacking cough. That’s not the sort of thing people want to know either,’
‘Or the bit about you sneezing yourself out of bed. I mean, yes, quite funny, darling, but not, you know, terribly tasteful.’
A slight hiss as a minion opens another bottle of prosecco.
‘Or pebble dashing your laptop. Or wandering around talking to a table lamp. That sort of thing worries people, you know.’
‘Is there anything I can say?’
‘Lots, darling. Lots and lots.’
‘Tell them you’re better. Tell them you’ve stopped barking like a dog. Tell them how spectacular the cover for Doing Time is. Remind them When Did You Last See Your Father is out in September. Oh – and don’t forget Long Story Short is out later this month.’
‘I’m not sure you’ve left me much to say.’
‘Nonsense. Tell them about signing ten times your own bodyweight in books in Didcot last week.’
‘And that you were so stupefied that not only did you spell your own name wrong – twice – but that you signed one book “John.”’
‘Why did you do it?’
‘No – why would I tell anyone that?’
‘Human interest darling. Makes you sound like a real person rather than a snot-clogged, anti-social obsessive who can’t bear to be separated from her laptop. Oh – and don’t, whatever you do, tell anyone you coughed all over the books – so negative. Tell them about drinking wine in the sun afterwards. That’s the sort of thing a normal person would do. Good for your image. You know, more normal – less voices in your head style of thing.’
‘I don’t remember any of that.’
‘Well, you were a bit out of it at the time, darling. It was quite funny but I don’t think anyone noticed.
‘You wouldn’t like to write the blog for me, would you?’
‘Sorry darling. Prosecco to drink and royalties to gloat over. That’s my royalties – not yours. And off-shore accounts don’t manage themselves, you know. Did I tell you I’m getting a helicopter?’
‘I’m flying to Derby for the Edge Lit thing on the 13th?’
‘Don’t be silly, darling. Toodle-pip.’