Imaginary Conversations

I had a strange experience this weekend just gone. I was at a festival, queuing up to get a drink, when a colleague volunteering at the cafe said “You need to check out the book tent!”

So I wandered over to the big marquee full of lovely books, music and stationery (aka Claire’s favourite place to hide from the rain) and this is what I found!


They were selling my book!

And the strangeness doesn’t stop there. Shortly after I had taken this photo and done a quick lap to see what other exciting things this book tent had to offer, I returned to this spot to find someone looking through a copy of The Runaway, deciding whether or not to buy it.

Many thoughts ran through my head. Should I say anything? If so, what? These are a few of the possibilities I came up with:

  1. Psst! If you buy that book, I’ll sign it for you! No, I’m not a randomer who writes in books, I’m actually the author.
  2. Hi, this might be weird but I wrote that. What kind of books do you like reading? I can probably tell you if this is something you’ll enjoy.
  3. Oh, I’ve read that book, it was really good. You should totally buy it.
  4. Congratulations! I’m a benevolent and eccentric writer who lurks near her books to meet readers and I’d like to offer you the exclusive chance to ask the author anything you like about this book.
  5. Here’s twenty quid if you’ll buy that book and post a nice review online.
  6. I noticed that the other book you bought today was a murder mystery. If you only like books where people die horribly in the first chapter, you’d be wasting your money on this one.
  7. You’d better hurry if you want to buy that. I’ve heard loads of people saying they’re coming to get copies so the shop’s bound to sell out soon.

So which of these did I say? None of them, of course. As I thought about it, I reflected that the world is full of people, companies and messages all trying to sell us stuff by any means necessary, and sometimes it’s nice to be left alone to the joy of browsing a book stall and making our own choices. I didn’t want to take that experience away from someone, but hopefully she’ll enjoy whatever books she eventually bought from that stall.

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