I've done some strange things as a bookseller, but walking through Abingdon carrying a large, battery-operated flashing Scorpia Rising display stand must be up there near the top.
We'd had the stand for a month, down the back of the shop, ready and prepared for the bookstall we had very kindly been asked to set-up for a charity event with Anthony Horowitz to raise funds for Helen and Douglas House. However, once we realised the stand would not fit in the car - there was nothing else for it. Luckily the venue is about a ten minute walk away from the shop. And let's be honest, it's Mr Horowitz we're talking about here. Anything to make sure he felt right at home in Abingdon...
I was understandable nervous ahead of the event - five years of selling Alex Rider books, never met the author before, and - like many successful writers - he's obviously someone who demands a lot of himself and those around him. But I needn't have worried: Anthony was a joy to meet and talk to, he was brilliant with the kids (and adults) who queued for over 90 minutes to get their books signed.
But the hour he spent talking and answering questions was a revelation. I don't know quite what I was expecting: maybe some advice for young authors, some amusing anecdotes from the peaks of bestsellerdom, perhaps measured insights into his writing process (from his children's books to writing for Midsomer Murders and Foyles War).
awaiting publication in November) read to an enthralled audience. Throw in an exclusive preview of his new ITV drama Injustice, and lots of questions answered from fans - it was a fantastic evening.
Finally, obligatory pose with slightly overwhelmed booksellers. That's the display stand we're leaning against. He was pretty pleased to see it - so well worth the few odd looks I got from people in the town when I carried it back later, tired but happy...
follow this link to find out what we've got coming up.