Friday, 23 November 2007

Mayo Magic


Yes, that's me and Helen Dunning getting friendly with a Dalek.

Why?

Well, Simon Mayo has chosen The Russian Concubine as his Book Of The Month on Radio Five Live and I was invited to go on his show with a panel of reviewers to talk about it. So off I trotted up to London again to the BBC at White City, which is where I bumped into the Tin Terror.

Simon Mayo is an icon. A radio giant. And there my book was in all its glory on Radio Five Live's homepage - just me and the football. (We won't talk about the football disaster - crashing out of Europe. Aaargh!)

On the journey I tried to prepare myself for what kind of reception The Russian Concubine would receive from this impressive panel of reviewers, though I hoped that the fact that it was Book Of The Month indicated that my judges might not be too harsh. And it turned out that I didn't actually need that calming camomile tea beforehand after all. Instead of getting dissed, I was greeted with generous comments and thoroughly enjoyed talking with Helen Dunning, Sarah Harrison and Boyd Hilton about how I'd come to write the book and its connection with my mother's White Russian history. And Simon Mayo made the whole experience of doing a live radio show a breeze. Nerves? What nerves?

Lovely Tamsin, my PR person at LittleBrown/Sphere, came along for morale boosting and did a great job. Thanks, Tamsin. As elegant and supportive as ever.

And to top it all, sitting next to me at the recording table was the Pultizer Prize winner, the brilliant American author Richard Russo. He's a real charmer and I just love his new book - The Bridge Of Sighs. Give it a try.

But only after The Russian Concubine, okay?

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