The day before I left, I happened to google one of my favourite authors who I know lives in London. By wild, crazy luck, a post had been made on her website–that evening, author Sophie Kinsella was speaking. I managed to score a ticket (the event was supposed to be closed to members of The Sun newspaper, but a kind member of Kinsella’s publicity team sent me a Ticketmaster link) and ohmygoodness the event was incredible.
Sophie Kinsella writes women’s fiction/chick flicks/romantic comedies/whatever you want to call them, and I absolutely adore her. I discovered her on a whim this summer and read all of her novels as soon as my library could deliver them. Her books are absolutely hilarious and extremely well-written and always give me the happy feelings and distract me from the world. She’s incredibly talented, and I don’t even care if you find yourself above romcoms because every paragraph is crafted exquisitely. So the fact that she happened to be speaking the one night I was free in London was nothing short of kismet.
The event was super classy and upscale–I walked in wearing my favourite hiking dress and boots and felt very out of place. They handed me wine and I sat on a cushy couch with olives on a side table. The ticket, which was ten pounds, came with a free copy of her newest book, which cost 19 pounds, so I was very proud of myself for not having bought it when it came out a couple of weeks ago.
Kinsella is a fabulous public speaker, as well, and I was really excited to be able to commend her in person on her writing. I asked her specifically about Finding Audrey, a YA book she released a few months ago that really surprised me in how well and naturally it dealt with issues such as extreme social anxiety while still maintaining her normal comedic voice.
It’s hard for me to keep track of my favourite authors, but she’s definitely up there with Gabrielle Zevin and John Irving, so I’m still kind of shaken at how perfectly the timing worked out and that I was actually able to meet her. She seems to write in a way quite similar to me, so especially having just finished NaNo, she was quite an inspiration.
Her most popular series is the Shopaholic series, but I prefer her stand alone books as the amount of shopping that goes on stresses me out. If you want to pick up an easy and delightful rom com read, try Can You Keep a Secret? I read it in a night last summer and had a huge stitch from not laughing and waking my roommates!
After, I met up with one of my Kiwi cousins who lives in London now and had a beer before heading back to my hostel.
I love London, I really do, as much as one can from one day exploring. Their public transit is reasonably easy but there are also a lot of random places to walk on foot. They have good (kiwi-ish) food and the people, though not rather friendly, seem down to earth and interesting. Everything’s rather expensive, but that seems to be how most good cities are.