I may be an author of eleven books but actually I like talking about them almost more than writing them. Not just because it means I travel to interesting places to give my talks but mostly because I like meeting my readers, hearing what intrigues them about my books, telling the story in a different way.
I have just spent a week on a cruise ship due to sail to New York but actually stuck in port at Southampton because of a technical fault. Of course it was a disappointment. I have once before sailed into New York harbour at dawn and marvelled at the Statue of Liberty stretching out a welcoming hand and longed to see it again.
Many of my books are about transatlantic women so I am a good fit for a transatlantic voyage. But it was not to be.
I soon realised that my lectures, or ‘entertainment’ as they are called in cruise speak, were more important than ever. With no gushing sea to inspire the walkers on deck, no gentle lilting from the waves to remind all passengers of the elements, it was a competition between me and eating …. And the food on this cruise ship was fantastic. Of course there was also bridge, ballroom dancing, live music a gym swimming pool and sauna but I felt I contributed once a day by talking about these Anglo American women whose biographies I have written always sprinkling each talk with a little bit about me and what it means to be a biographer with the responsibility of describing other people’s lives. Doing this has taught me so much about my own life and how i can try to shape it.
So I shall now return to my solitary task of writing the books. But I hope to get back to the lecture podium soon and start the very serious task of entertaining.