First things first: I staggered off the train and onto the Tube with my extremely heavy suitcase and found my hotel, where I flung off my boots with extreme prejudice and flumped onto the bed for a little bit until I cooled down, because even though it was gloomy and dark, London was *ferociously* hot and I was (as always) not really dressed for that. I just can't get used to the difference in temperature and humidity - it feels like being in a different country.
Here is said bed before I wrecked it:
And it was supercomfy, let me tell you. Eventually, after a judicious application of air conditioning, I peeled myself off the supercomfy bed and took a picture of the view, which was pretty spectacular.
The Gherkin AND the Shard! When you read Frail Human Heart you will realise why I'm so thrilled about seeing the Shard. It didn't look like that by the time my story was finished with it, that's all I'm saying. By the way - Frail Human Heart IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD ON KINDLE. If you have a Kindle or the Kindle App on your computer, and you're into that. Again: just sayin'.
Having got myself upright, it was time to tackle the first part of Operation Flying Visit, which was to get my butt back on the Tube and to the British Museum, where there was much researching for Codename: DtH to be done. I don't think I've talked very much about this particular future book on the blog before - I've mentioned that it's another fairytale retelling and is a sort of companion novel to Shadows on the Moon, right? However, it's based on a Chinese story this time, and therefore the setting needs to be a fairytale version of Imperial China rather than Tsuki no Hikari no Kuni/The Moonlit Lands, my fairytale version of Feudal Japan.
And I honestly know nothing about Imperial China, which is why I have a pile of books to read that reaches nearly to my hip (mostly library books - reference books are so expensive, erk) and why I was seizing the opportunity to spend some time in the Asian Rooms at the BM.
Looking at my camera this morning I was a bit stunned at the amount of pictures I'd taken. I mean, I knew I'd taken a LOT, just... not quite that many. We're talking in the hundreds, here. There's just so much to see at the British Museum and it's all so fascinating that you start feeling worried you'll miss or not absorb something important, so the impulse to snap images of *everything* is fairly overwhelming. And that's what I did. Here's a small and carefully curated selection of those photos.
I stuck around until pretty near to closing time, and then headed back to the hotel to get some rest, because the next day was the #WalkerFictionFest. I'm a bit gutted that I didn't remember to whip my camera out for this as well, honestly - I could have gotten some great photos with blogger pals and the other authors, but I was feeling a bit flustered (I was doing my very first public reading from a finished copy of Frail Human Heart!) and it basically slipped my memory.
Luckily lots of other people with more presence of mind were attending, including my friend Sarah of Feeling Fictional, who has the most fantastic Instagram account filled with photos of everyone who was there, and who (among other things) made this fantastic photoset of all of us and our book covers (thank you, Sarah!):
I got to meet Lauren James, author of The Next Together and hear her presentation about this highly anticipated debut as well as her reading from it. As expected, Lauren was charming and smart and adorable. I'm sure anyone who likes my books will love hers.
I also got to meet Katie Everson, author of Drop, who was thoughtful and sweet and lovely and she had the presence of mind to get a selfie of us, which I've pinched off Twitter:
Her book sounds emotionally shattering - perfect for fans of Keren David or Melvin Burgess. She is also a professional cover designer and she's the one who created the covers for both the UK edition of FrostFire and the second UK paperback edition of Daughter of the Flames. How cool is that?
Here's me during my presentation, waffling on about something, probably Frail Human Heart or my love for sushi (I don't know who took this one - someone from Walker Books?):
Much talking and laughter - and Pringles and mini-doughnuts - were had, and a good time enjoyed by all, including me. And that was Operation Flying Visit! And now I have to go and renew my library books, so I shall bid you all adieu, Dear Readers! Tell me how your weekend was in the comments - and if you haven't entered yet, don't forget that there are still signed copies of Darkness Hidden up for grabs here :)