April 20th, 2009

fairy bun

London, baby!

So I am in London for the London Book Fair, and my most fabulous agent Kristin Nelson suggested I come early so we could have a Quintessentially British Day Out. 'Sounds like fun,' I said, and came early.

I arrived at my hotel behind a young couple holding hands. The lady at the desk gave them a bright look.

HOTEL LADY: I am so sorry, you cannot be permitted to stay here. The hotel is broken.
HOTEL LADY: We'll call a taxi to take you to a different hotel.
SARAH: Um, I also have a reservation...
HOTEL LADY: Right this way!
SARAH: But the hotel was - I thought - no, Sarah, be quiet, you have to be near the Fair!

I went to my room with great trepidation. The hotel doesn't seem to be broken. But I distrust it, just the same.

As part of our British Day Out, Kristin and I went to see Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap, where Kristin proved she has a more criminal mind than I do by guessing the killer. And then we went off to eat at the awesome English gastropub (pub food, made by chef, really excellent) the Anchor and Hope. I'd called before but they don't do reservations: they said to just come by.

SARAH: Hello we would like a table? We can wait.
WAITER: I am so sorry, you cannot eat here. The food is all gone.
KRISTIN: Is this some of that famous British humour...?
SARAH: The hotel is broken. The food's all gone... No, Kristin. This stuff just happens around me. Let's go.
KRISTIN: Are you under a curse?

So next we were off on a day trip to Blenheim Palace, because we both agree that Pride and Prejudice is one of the greatest books of all time. (And anyone who does not agree, well, Kristin is too much of a lady, but I am prepared to throw down.) Blenheim Palace is thought to've been one of the inspirations for Pemberley, and I believe the outside of the house was used as Pemberley in one of the productions. It was actually too fancy to be really Pemberley, and I think they should have 'Too Fancy For Darcy' on a sign outside.

But they don't. Still, it's totally gorgeous.

We were late getting to the tour bus. 'You cannot miss it' said the lady when I called. 'Grey Line. There's a sign up.'

There was no sign. We did miss it. When inquired of, people said suspiciously, 'GREEN line?'
'Sarah!' Kristin exclaimed in horror and fear. 'No, Grey Line!' I said, my courage almost failing me. 'I'm sure. I'm almost sure.'

The tour guide disapproved of us, for being late. For leaving the scheduled pub lunch and creeping off to the bakery in Bourton-on-the-Water, a gorgeous Cotswold town I am totally writing about one day. For sneaking away to the rose garden in Blenheim Palace. It was clear to him we were bad, bad to the bone. 'Where are you from?' he asked in his Oxford accent, regarding us with wide grey eyes. 'Colorado,' said Kristin. 'Americans!' said his eyes.

I was too scared to talk to him, so I decided to be from Colorado too.

We had a lovely time despite this, and then were back in London. I showed Kristin Hatchard's, a bookshop which has existed since the 1790s, and as we walked along to Piccadilly Circus a man stumbled forward and tried to seize me in his arms.

TOTAL STRANGER CRAZY PERSON: My little pixie girl!
SARAH: Fler? Augh!
KRISTIN: It's all so clear to me now. You're like the Crazy Whisperer. All the madness comes to you.

Today at the London Book Fair, we had lunch with my Finnish publisher. It was awesome to meet my Finnish editor, and as the book has just been published in Finland, he gave me a copy of my very own which I am currently holding in my hands! I can't read a word of it, of course. But I am enjoying petting it.

Some of you are Finnish, and have most kindly already bought and talked to me about the book! kupukello was lovely enough to send me pictures of the book in bookshops, and the inside all full of mysterious, awesome Finnish.

FINNISH EDITOR: We're doing a treasure hunt thing where people can win a thousand free books, and The Demon's Lexicon is one of them.
SARAH: Oh my God, I wish English bookshops did treasure hunts where I could win free books. I would hunt them all down!
FINNISH EDITOR: Perhaps you would like to come to the Helsinki Book Fair in late October?
SARAH: Oh, yes, I would love to!
KRISTIN: ... I hope Helsinki is ready for the crazy.

I have every confidence that Helsinki is ready for the crazy.

I am back to the London Book Fair now, to pick people up. I hope London is also ready for the crazy: I have a signing at the Simon&Schuster UK stand (of the UK edition, so in English :)) in the Fair at 1.30 tomorrow. Knowing my life, a stand is bound to go on fire. Or we may be attacked by zombie clowns.

Still, I may be the Crazy Whisperer, but I am feeling very lucky - not least to be in London in the sunshine!