I am a celebrity this week. I may be indulging in big fish syndrome, but I insist on enjoying my moment of fame in next week’s chip papers.
The local press were hot on the heels of Good Housekeeping Magazine in bringing my story (From Farmers Wife to Author of Saucy Novel) to the world’s attention. Ok, not to the world. To the UK readers of GH magazine and a very small corner of Essex. And the reason for all this attention? The combined efforts of me, myself, and I, plus the instrumental role played by Eldest Daughter, my home-grown PR, who got me into GH and wrote the press releases.
I received an email from our accountant: Subject: Very Strange Question. Message: Forgive me for asking this, but I’m on the train reading this month’s edition of GH magazine, and I have come across a picture of someone I recognise, bearing your name. Is this you?
The temptation to reply “No, I haven’t got a clue who that is” was strong. This lady does our accounts, I kind of figured she would be bright enough to work it out for herself. She had worked it out, of course (I am being mean-minded for the purpose of comedy) because the final line of the message congratulated me on writing the book. I am using her missive to underline the surprise (should that be shock?) which acquaintances experience when they find a friend/colleague/client in COMPLETELY THE WRONG PLACE. A fish out of water.
I had a similar reaction from the lady who waxes my eyebrows (“Was that YOU in the local paper?”) and to be entirely fair, if my accountant or the lady who waxes my eyebrows had been splashed across the media for writing a ‘saucy’ novel, I would undoubtedly ask them the same question.
Generally, the result has been positively overwhelming, with moments of fear thrown in. Such as when the vicar called to offer her congratulations and confirm that she was “looking forward to reading the book.” I shook in my boots then. “It isn’t vicar reading” my mind was screaming, but instead of saying that I made non-committal choking noises at her. Shame on me, for passing judgement on a vicar’s reading choices; the woman has undoubtedly seen more of life than I have. It does, however, make me uncomfortable when people read my book because I wrote it, rather than because it is a book they would pick from the shelf. Plus, well, you know, it is a little bit raunchy. (I prefer ‘raunchy’ to ‘saucy’, saucy conjures images of Benny Hill which are far more disturbing).
The Gallivanting Granny scared me a little, when she rang up to say the picture was “terrible, terrible, terrible” (yup – repeated three times) and The Farmer added to my disquiet when, having read the article at his brother’s house, he reported back that the headline was “Saucy Farmer’s Wife”. Lucky then that the terrible picture would quickly dispel that notion. Even luckier that when I finally got to see the paper (our house being too remote to benefit from paper delivery) the picture was poor, not terrible, and the headline was saucy novel.
Great fame and fortune have resulted from the articles: An instant invitation (before I knew the piece had featured, which proved confusing) to talk about self-publishing at a creative writing class. A last minute request to speak to the WI (their pre-booked speaker was poorly) and, as a I write this post, a plea from a friend to speak to her Mother’s luncheon group.
So, wha’ do ya know, I’ve become a Public Speaker! I didn’t see that coming. The W.I. were great. Good fun, spirited, enthusiastic. My heart stopped the words getting out of my mouth for the first few seconds, but then by some stroke of luck I remembered that I am a show off and thoroughly enjoyed myself. There was one mildly hostile moment from my audience, when I told them the excerpt I was reading would be free of smut, but we got through that.
As a post note question, don’t chips taste so much better when they are wrapped in newspaper?