This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
By Cesca Major
I'm sitting on the train with a big grin on my face after the most wonderful, warm evening with Simon & Schuster, recalling Santa Montefiore – an absolute tour de force and the most fantastic story-teller – in the midst of doing a marvellous impression of one of her characters who was in no way based on someone she knew well. Who then did not recognise herself in the book, because as Santa put it, “no one ever looks in the mirror and sees a mean-spirited old harridan”. I paraphrase but you get the idea. We were giggling furiously as she entertained.
Typically, my train had been cancelled and I’d arrived puffing and red to one of the smartest restaurants in WC2 – The Delaunay. In an intimate candlelit room in the back, the big fish at Simon & Schuster and a bewildering array of booksellers – WH Smith, Waterstones – you get the idea, not forgetting the wonderful Sheila Crowley from Curtis Brown, were all present. I was incredibly excited to be hob-nobbing on behalf of Novelicious and was welcomed by everyone I met. You know you are onto a good thing when you are sitting next to one of Richard Asplin’s (T shirt and Genes/Gagged) good friends and a man who thinks Kate Morton is fabulous.
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We talked books, books and boarding schools, Simon and Schuster authors: the charming Ali Harris and Wendy Wallace (just celebrating a place on a distinguished list of authors competing for the Desmond Elliott Prize for her brilliant novel The Painted Bridge), we strayed briefly into politics and then we talked books some more. There was a real buzz and energy in the room mostly because, as Kerr MacRae at Simon & Schuster would have described her: Santa is a radiator. One of those people who exudes warmth and fun. No half empty glasses in sight. (Literally – the staff at The Delaunay were the definition of efficient).
I'm excited to see how her Santa’s book Secrets of the Lighthouse gets on later this year (certainly her latest sales for The House by the Sea are already over 150,000) and she seems to have found a great home for her writing.
Thank you to everyone at Simon & Schuster for showing off their company at its best, as ever. You get a massive Novelicious thumbs up. In fact make it a double.