Simon Whaley interrupted his family holiday in the New Forest to come along to Writing Buddies, in the Borders bookshop in Southampton, on Friday.
It was great to see him. Personally, I was really excited to meet him as he and I have been corresponding by email for several years, but had never met. It was good to finally talk face to face with the person who has helped to keep my spirits up when necessary and who has suffered through my writers block, lack of inspiration, imagination failure and a million and one other trials and tribulations that are a part of life for writers. Mind you, he has also shared the highs. He was as thrilled for me as I was for myself when I got my first book contract and when ideas I have discussed with him come to fruition, he is as pleased as punch. When his recent Bluffer's Guide came out, I could not be more pleased for him and I do remember teasing him about how clean and tidy his desk was in the photograph of him in his office, in a recent writing magazine.
He came and charmed the group of Writing Buddies, aspiring and professional writers of all genres, who meet for a cuppa and a chat once a fortnight in Borders. We talked about starting out in short story writing, offered advice to one of our number who needed some help with the credibility of a stereotyped character and marvelled that the piece I had written for Writers' News about Writing Buddies had been published. It was a meeting full of fun and laughter and we left feeling that all was good with the world.
Simon, thank you for coming and we look forward to your next visit, which we hope will not be long!
In the meantime, I have been left with lots of food for thought, as Simon gave me some very sage advice. More on this in due course...