I must admit, I'm getting slightly addicted to book launches. I've been to three now, and I'm writing this on the way to my fourth - for Sarah McIntyre's Vern and Lettuce anthology of her DFC comic strips. For the first time, I'm also taking my ten-year-old daughter, who is both comics-mad and quite excited. She's sitting next to me on the train at the moment, diligently writing in a tiny notepad and occasionally breaking off to discuss plots for zombie stories! Very much her father's daughter, then...
So, back to book launches. They are, I feel, a bit like weddings. A whole load of people from all of the branches of your life come together in one room and you are the centre of attention. You desperately want to talk to everyone, but seem to have only thirty seconds with each person. There's never enough wine and somehow you don't get to drink more than a few sips. At least there's no dancing - not unless you're peddling a Strictly tie-in book, in which case you can probably entice Bruce Forsythe along to drum up trade.
It's an immense privilege to know writers who are getting published. Real actual live books that you can pick up and buy. Whenever I'm at a launch, alongside the great conversation there's always a voice at the back of my head saying "this could be you. Keep going." Right now, that's a voice I really need to hear.
So now I'm home and the post-launch glow has faded a little. But we do have a lovely copy of Vern and Lettuce which is not only signed, but personally cartooned-in to boot. Despite my predictions, Sarah's launch was both very nice and quite atypical. By partnering with Stitch London, she managed to fill much of the pub with people knitting sheep. Yes, you did read that right - my daughter sat for nearly two hours producing a rather fetching example in gold lamé thread. There were so many needles clicking away that Sarah was relatively unmobbed and able to talk. In a Who Ate My Brain? exclusive, I can reveal that this is because she actually can't knit! Shocking, I know, but in every other way, Sarah McIntyre is a creative dynamo - a brilliant writer/illustrator who bridges the gap between children's writing, comics and ... erm ... knitting.
Vern and Lettuce is the exuberant story of a sheep, a rabbit, several mischievous bunnies and a world not so very different to ours. It's very funny, beautifully drawn, superbly coloured and available right now.
*Sales pitch ends*
Edit: Here is Sarah's own writeup of the evening, with plentiful photos.