Puffins, apparently, live more or less forever -- or at least for 70 years. And they like a (noisy) party. So it was great to have all those friends and relations out in force to celebrate the birthday -- Eoin Colfer, Cathy Cassidy, Jeanne Willis, Lauren Child, Cressida Cowell, Morris Gleitzman, Kevin Brooks, Charlie Higson...and those are merely my close personal friends. It's only after the huge heaving screamingly loud party is finished that you realize what a weird bunch of small conversations you actually had. Here are mine, all conducted at very high volume:
With author Cathy Cassidy about whether the car would be towed. With the Guardian's Lucy Mangan, about a sequel to The Bride's Farewell. With Australian author Morris Gleitzman, about being on tour...again. With Eoin Colfer, about his 18 million sales (if it were humanly possible to dislike Eoin, I would). With KM Peyton's agent, Michael Motley, about race horses. With Penguin CEO John Makinson about his teenage daughter's facebook page. With ex-Penguin MD Helen Fraser about girls' schools. With Kevin Brooks about life oop north. With ex-Scholastic MD Elaine McQuaid about hating spreadsheets. With Lauren Child about her silver Vivienne Westwood shoes with embossed toes, which she said was like having hooves. With Cressida Cowell about the darkness that lurks in all writers. With my editor Elv Moody about her Lanvin wedding dress. With agent Sophie Hicks about something I couldn't hear. With Jeanne Willis about how much she fancies Ed Vere. With Nicolette Jones from The Times about a lift home.
It was a great party, but you can kind of see why they call it small talk.