I feel compelled by the confessional nature of the blog (it really does feel like some creepy pale-skinned man-in-a-frock reads everything I write) to admit to doing something shocking today …

I am sure I am not alone, as an author, in going into bookshops and helping with the arrangements of displays. There is the familiar feeling of disappointment when I find A Prickly Affair not face out at eye-level … but as I am sure that is just an accident, I like to show willing by helping out and rearranging things.

So, that is okay? Isn’t it?

Then there is the business of signing books … now, I don’t just wander around bookshops signing my copies without asking (though there have been incidents where people have been found signing away in obscure volumes that might, or might not, be theirs) – I ask, and usually feel a little embarrassed about asking. But it is an important thing to do – not only do people feel they are getting something a little more special (though what could be more special than A Prickly Affair anyway?) with the scribble … but there is the seriously important fact that once the books have been signed, they cannot be returned.

If only I had spent a year running around the bookshops in America to stop them returning the far better title US edition – The Hedgehog’s Dilemma … got my royalty statement yesterday – ow, that hurts reading those numbers …

So, moving books and signing them – ok?

But then, while signing the books on the display in Waterstones, Oxford, today, I did something that reveals the true depths I will sink too … my book was on a display – manager’s choice … ¬†four stars out of a possible five and a great selling point too … and what did I do? I coloured in the final star – at the time rationalising like the book placement – obviously it was just an oversight on their part, and actually, it did look like there was a partial colouring in of the final star and ….

How low will I stoop in the quest to sell A Prickly Affair? Other top tips welcome!


early morning, I have a spurt of energy and decide to use it up on a new post … but then Pip (age 3) decided I would be a suitable alternative for his climbing frame – and is now sitting on my shoulders … and wobbling, deliberately, every now and then, just to send my heart racing. But I really wanted to share a little bit of excitement – the treatment for my next book is taking shape. There have been a number of very delightful connections – tonight I am going to see a botanist, who has written a wonderful book about Robins, play the Lark Ascending – and tomorrow I spend in the company of a bumblebee man – all this after I managed to identify the rather well-hidden Vole Woman …
And as if that was not enough, I have my first visit to the Hay book festival on Friday … I am more on edge about this presentation than any other. But it was nice to get noted:


you have to scroll all the way to the end … and then you will see why I was excited.

And I am using all these dots again … dot dot dot – for those who have seen Mama Mia, this made laugh. My 6 year old daughter, Mati, was looking over my shoulder as I read a story to her, one that included … I treated it as the pause it was, but she said, no, you missed that bit – dot dot dot – I was obviously confused so she repeated herself – ‘dot dot dot – it is what they did in the olden days’!!!