I had a good reason, I promise.
I love Justin’s writing and I loved his novel so when I saw that that he was appearing at Croydon Literary Festival with none other than Mike Gayle, I made a small adjustment to my travel plans. (It involved getting up far earlier than I would have liked after a Darius Rucker gig in Manchester so I compensated by booking First Class on the train, it’s the little things.)
I had drinks (tea, obviously) with a friend yesterday and when I told him of my plans, he raised a questioning “Mike Gayle?”. When I led with “he’s written loads of fabulous books like Turning Thirty”, a lightbulb flickered with memories of a 30th birthday gift and a recollection that it may be perhaps… funny. (Spoiler: it is.)
Mike Gayle’s books have always resonated with me. I could almost call The To-Do List life-changing. He’s a former agony uncle for a teen magazine and apparently his novels entitle him to appear at Croydon Literary Festival under the heading “Men who write romance”. It was a humorous hour of book readings followed by a Q&A session. Both Justin and Mike came across as so likable that I should have hung around afterwards to chat but that would have involved, well, talking to people and we all know I don’t like to do that.
(That said, I was approached by a girl on the train platform afterwards who’d seen me at the event and I chatted to her so I guess I can have a gold star for social interaction today.)
I was rereading The Last Romeo on the train to London and, when I finish that (today, probably), I am now inspired to reread all of Mike Gayle’s books – I have eight flights in the next 16 days so it shouldn’t take me long!
And, while I’m in a literary mood, take this as my notice that this year I am committing myself to #NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I will endeavor to start penning the story that has been floating round in my head for the last few years (so far I have written the first page and the epilogue!). So that’s 50,000 words starting on a plane to Texas. Wish me luck!
Also found in Croydon: