The bat squeak of fame – and Vincent Price

A rather wonderful thing happened to me last week.
I was walking along the street just enjoying the sunshine when Sheila, who runs our lovely Deli “Real Meals”, ran across the road holding a copy of “The Drowners”. Somewhat breathlessly she insisted I follow her into the shop where a young couple were sitting at the window table. Would I, Sheila asked, sign their book?
Of course – I was happy to sign it and have a chat. They had read “Death of the Elver Man”, borrowing the copy from the library, and decided to buy “The Drowners”, which is now available in town thanks to Jenna and her fabulous little book shop in the square. Now, that is how small communities should work!
We had a talk, the young couple and I, and I found myself musing on this tiny, bat squeak of fame. It is a very positive experience when people stop me in town and comment on the books. Sometimes they ask about the characters, recently there have been some queries about the next book. Soon, I promise. Even sooner if I stop writing this and finish the edits and proofing…
I think it was Alan Bennett who told a story about Vincent Price that has been my guiding light over the last few years. A supermarket in Los Angeles phoned to ask if he would open their new branch. They were very apologetic – he was such a big star and they were a small chain – surely it would be beneath him. Price’s wife, the divine Coral Browne, took the call and drawled, “Of course he will. You know Vinny, darling. He’ll go half-way across the States to open a manhole cover”.
Well, if a group does me the honour of asking me to do a reading or signing or to talk about writing, I’m happy to do it if I possibly can. Vincent Price was a real star and I’m a crime writer from a small town, just starting my journey, but I hear that faint squeak of recognition and I thank everyone who reads the books and takes the time to review them, comes to a reading – or asks me to sign a copy.
It’s okay – I don’t bite. I haven’t even cut up any bodies in real life.
Now, back to the final edits….