Went to a signing for John Connolly's latest novel The Reapers on Tursday.
John told some funny stories about the stupidity of criminals then discussed the themes of The Reapers and spoke about the film version of his short story 'The New Daughter' which stars Kevin Costner and the girl from Pan's Labyrinth. He also read an extract from the novel he's currently working on, The Lovers. With a wicked glint in his eye he revealed that it always annoys his agent when he reads work to the public before the agent has had a chance to see it.
After the signing John invited everyone along to a nearby pub where he had reserved the upstairs bar. He recently turned 40 so as everyone chatted away several of his fans presented him with birthday gifts. Continuing a joke on John's message board about his advancing years one of the gifts was a pipe and a pair of monogrammed slippers.
From the pub we went on to a restaurant which served what are possibly the best chips in the world. Wine flowed, as did the conversation, with John regaling everyone with witty anecdotes. At the end of the evening he picked up the bill despite the best efforts of one of his fans who was desperate to pay it himself. (I'm sure none of you will be surprised to learn that this fan wasn't me.)
On the train home I read the first couple of chapters of The Reapers. At first I was slightly worried to discover that it not only dealt with similar themes as one of my forthcoming stories but it also featured a piece of research crucial to that story. Just to make things freakier John even introduced a character named Bliss which is the title of my story. By now hyperventilating at the prospect of being sued for plagiarism I tried to reassure myself that there will be more than enough differences to set the two stories apart.
After all The Reapers is a finely crafted tale, full of well-rounded characters, snappy dialogue, stunning imagery and thoughtful insights into the human condition.
And 'Bliss' has been written by me.