I arrived in London around midday and it took a few hours to get across the city and out to Bishops Stortford, so I was pretty finished by the time I finally arrived. My first evening was spent quietly with my childhood friend Donna, catching up over steak and wine.
The next day I travelled back into London for lunch with my editor, Charlotte Ledger, at the lovely Rooftop Cafe, across the road from the new HarperCollins offices. Hidden behind a nondescript office building entrance, this little gem was a wonderful surprise, with a great view and even better food. We enjoyed a delightful yet healthy lunch (really yummy asparagus!), accompanied by Cava (Spanish sparkling wine) and lots of chat. We didn't talk much about business but it was wonderful just to get to know each other.
|The Rooftop Cafe near London Bridge|
|The view from the Rooftop Cafe towards The News Building|
After lunch, Charlotte gave me a guided tour of the HarperCollins offices in The News Building (previously known as Baby Shard) which began with the most wonderful surprise: a display of my books, including the very latest which I hadn't yet seen in paperback format.
I was also introduced to the two cover artists who designed my covers, met Kimberly Young (head of Women's Fiction at HC) as she was dashing between meetings, and was thoroughly impressed by the light, airy offices filled with books and surrounded by the most spectacular views. What I wouldn't do to work for a company that provides its employees with their own book store!
|The view from The News Building|
|The famous Wall of Books at the staff book store|
|Me and the lovely Charlotte in the staff book store|
Then, feeling guilty at taking up so much of Charlotte's time when she has the workload of three people, I left her to work and went to browse through Southwark Cathedral and Borough Market, where I stopped to enjoy a refreshing glass of Pimms laced with summer fruits.
|The News Building (left) and The Shard (right) from the yard of Southwark Cathedral|
I then wandered the area of Southwark, past the Golden Hinde, the ruins of Winchester Palace, down Clink Street where the infamous prison once stood, to the Thames.
|Golden Hinde II, modelled on Francis Drake's famous ship|
|Ruins of the palace of the Bishops of Winchester|
|I don't really need to caption this photo, do I?|
The late summer sunlight was deceptive and I nearly ran late for my next appointment: dinner in Belgravia with HarperImpulse author Brigid Coady. Unbelievably, after having had a big lunch, I managed to pack away another big meal, this time accompanied by Prosecco (Italian sparkling wine).
Brigid and I had such an amazing chat that neither of us thought to take photographs - which is probably just as well since this blog post is already long enough!
More to follow on my London adventures tomorrow...