Old friends and new reading

I had a lovely lunch yesterday with a friend who used to own a bookstore, and Pam and Maria from HarperCollins. I first met Pam at the CBCA awards in Melbourne in 1993, when Leaving it to You was shortlisted, and over the next few years she took wonderful care of me at book events, not only in Melbourne but even in regional places, picking me up from trains, taking me out for lunch or coffee, generally looking after me at a time when I wasn't physically strong. That type of thoughtfulness is rare, and something to be treasured, especially when combined for an absolute passion for, and knowledge of, children's books.

Luckily I don't need that sort of care anymore, and although Ark in the Park (another Harper Collins title) was recently reprinted, most of my books are now with Allen and Unwin in Australia - but it's still a pure pleasure to have the chance to catch up with her.

I also took a bottle of champagne for lunch to celebrate that I hadn't needed to stay with my bookseller friend a couple of weeks ago - she was my planned refuge if I needed to evacuate because of fire.

But we quickly got the personal chat over with and just discussed books and writing: what a treat to hear informed readers. I always feel slightly discouraged and very enthused at the thought of many books I haven't read! And then of course the treat of coming away with a stack of proof copies and swapping books.

So this morning my own ms has had to wait as I've been distracted by Alison Goodman's Eon. I always say I don't particularly like fantasy, but once I start a good one, I'm engrossed. And this is a good one..

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