Celebratory music plays loudly. Flamenco dancers move in unison behind me. Coloured paper and balloons drop from the ceiling. Fireworks explode all around me.
I am stood in a significant literary location. Perhaps The Eagle and Child pub where CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien used to share their compositions over beer and pipes. Maybe in a hand-stitched tent near Wordsworth’s grave.
Somebody shakes my hand and passes me a quill made from a dodo’s tail feather. It is only taken out of its vault in the British Library for occasions such as this. I dip the quill in the ancient crystal inkwell. Lean forward and sign my name. Light bulbs flash.
That’s how I should have signed the contract for my first book. Unfortunately it didn’t happen that way. I am writing for a publisher based in Chicago so they sent me the documents in the post. I signed them in my car (below), sat outside the school gates after dropping my son off at school, and his childminder acted as a witness.
It’s maybe not as dramatic a scenario as it could have been… but still pretty fun to have signed them. That would have been the highlight for me even in my fantasy scenario; not the quill, nor the inkwell, nor the music and dancers. Just the cool fact that I get to write a book for my favourite (and first-choice) publisher and that other people will be able to read it.