All right, I've done it. It wasn't easy, and I'm quite nervous about it, after all you hear some funny stories about these things - and then there's all the drinking and carousing and I don't even know how to carouse because I haven't got a reindeer and my roller skating ability is suspect, and...
Oh. Sorry. Did I not mention? I've just booked tickets to my first Unconvention. This is run by Fortean Times and it's a collection of the weird and the wonderful (which is me), mad stuff and peculiarities (still me, I'm afraid) and a lot of intelligent discussion about the esoteric and inexplicable (definitely me).
So, I hear you ask, in your cute, yet shrill voices, what has any of this to do with writing and books and stuff? Well, I shall tell you, if you let me get a word in edgeways... it is research. Yes, indeedy. Far be it from me to attend such a gathering purely for my own interest, no. We writers (or should that be wee writers, for I am not very tall...) collect experiences like we collect...um... what are those things called that crawl all over you? Children? Lice? No, writers collect experiences like picnics collect ants. I am collecting convention experiences for my novel Starstruck, which comes out in September. And Uncon is in November.
For, in the spirit of weird and intrigue, I am conducting retro-research. 'Aha!' I shall be able to say, for there will be no-one there to stop me, 'Aha! This is precisely how it happened in my book (Starstruck, £7.99 from all good bookshops)!' I may have to force some of these occasions, because Starstruck is set in Nevada and Uncon is set in Camden and there are likely to be very few other similarities between them, but I am prepared for this. In fact, to this end, I shall be taking a pink convertible cadillac, some Valium, two bottles of Jack Daniels and a cylinder of oxy-acetyline gas with me. 'Aha! An explosion! This is precisely how it happened in my book (.....)'
It has just been pointed out to me that my voyage of discovery to Uncon is actually fact verification. But I prefer the term 'retro-research'. Sounds more 'sciencey'. So, if anyone fancies a couple of days of weirdness and the highly strange...e mail me your address and I shall come and stay with you for the weekend. That should put you off.