What’s it like to do a book signing? (Contains mild peril.)

Yesterday morning, I set off for Crewe to do a signing at Waterstones. On the way, I decided I’d take some photos and blog a photo journal. So I did. (Have you ever watched an E! True Hollywood story when everything’s going along swimmingly and then… “Stormclouds of discontent…” or somesuch? This post’s going to be a bit like that.

Not long after I’d set off on the short walk to the station, I noticed the moon was still visible. I love seeing the moon in daylight.

My local station. I never see this sign without saying it in a Buzz Lightyear style. In my head, honest.

I got on the train and settled myself in with a magazine and some Softmints.

The view’s pretty nice too.

Plus the ticket fella sold me two tickets each way, saving me a fiver. Result.

I arrived at Preston…

… and then fell up the stairs. Again. I scraped my fingers, obviously bashed my legs and, for a second, thought I’d grazed my nose, but thankfully my nose was fine. I staggered to the coffee place and the woman there was very sympathetic. She gave me wet paper towels for my fingers, told me to sit down and relax and was basically lovely. I said I’d fallen up the stairs before and I’d just realised they’re smaller than the other stairs. She said people fall up them all the time. I got my coffee and a breakfast sandwich and toddled off to my platform, thinking I’d wash my grazed fingers on the train.

Once I was on the train, I thought I’d better check out my leg. I pulled up my jeans and…

What. The. Actual. Arse? That’s not my knee. That’s a bloody great golfball-sized lump STICKING OUT OF MY SHIN. I looked around the train in slight panic. I actually genuinely considered asking if there was a doctor “in the house.” I was baffled. I poked it. It hurt. But mainly I just thought “There’s a bloody great thing sticking out of my leg!”

I hobbled down to the buffet car and asked if they had a first aid person. Then I showed the woman my leg. She muffled a shriek, so I knew it wasn’t just me. She suggested I got and sit myself down and she’d fetch… someone.

I sat down. I looked at my leg from many angles. It was still baffling. The train conductor came along. He asked if I wanted an ambulance, he could get me one, but I had to decide fast or it would be too late. I had no idea. Can you get an ambulance for a lump on the leg? I figured that since I could walk on it, it probably wasn’t broken, but what the hell WAS wrong with it?!

The conductor told me I shouldn’t have boarded the train, but should have “sought medical attention” on the station. I pointed out that I hadn’t known I needed it until after I’d boarded the train. The lovely buffet woman brought me ice and plasters and a couple of Ibuprofen. The conductor huffed that he’d have to fill a form in now cos the first aid box had been opened. Diddums. LOOK AT MY BLOODY LEG!

I asked Twitter for advice and I texted David a picture of my leg. He replied “Gah!” which wasn’t much use. Lovely Twitter friends were lovely, of course. Not just helpful, but capable of making me laugh out loud even when I had a golfball sticking out of my leg. (I have to just mention @bookclubforum in particular, since she was fabulously helpful and comforting all day long.)

Waiting to get off the train at Crewe, a passenger asked me what had happened and then told me I should go to hospital in case of a blood clot. This was not comforting. The train conductor seemed spooked by this, however, and decided he’d get me a “medic” at Crewe.

At Crewe, the “do you want an ambulance” debate started again. There was a platform woman (PW), first aid man (FAM), and a woman waiting for the train (WWFTT), all involved. WWFTT told me her son had broken his shin and his whole leg had swollen up, so it probably wasn’t broken. FAM didn’t think it was broken either, but was happy to get me an ambulance if I wanted one. I still wasn’t a doctor, so I still didn’t know. PW fetched me a big bag of ice and asked me what I was in Crewe for. When I told her I was there to do a signing at Waterstones, she said, “Are you an author?” When I told her I was – and about the kind of books I write – she said, “My daughters always liked that Jacqueline Wilson…” “Oh yes,” I said. “She’s very popular.” “We had her on here once,” PW said, which made me laugh. Bloody Jacqueline Wilson gets everywhere.

PW told FAM that, because I’d fallen at the station, they should get me a taxi to Waterstones. He didn’t seem convinced, but eventually he gave in, ordered one, and escorted me upstairs.

The taxi driver thought I’d cracked the bone. He offered to take me to the hospital, but added, “You’ll be there all day…” so I declined.

I made quite the entrance to Waterstones, with my big bag of ice and pained expression, but they were all absolutely lovely. I could quite happily have stayed in the staff room chatting with them all day, but I had to go and meet my public. *cough*

The staff kindly provided me with a chair and a step stool. You don’t get this kind of glamour with Jacqueline Wilson. Probably.

So I sat there rather like a Dame and received lovely Beth Kemp and her daughter Charlotte (who’d come all the way from Leicester to see me, which made me want to go “What, me? Why?” but I refrained). Then my friend Susan and her family came. They laughed at my leg (in the nicest way) and took a photo of me looking like a chipmunk.

I went upstairs for a cup of tea (and more chatting: Kindles, piracy and 50 Shades of Grey, inevitably) and noticed my leg was clicking when I walked. I won’t lie to you, that spooked me a bit. The lump had gone down a tiny smidgen, but I kept thinking of people you hear about who have a fall and go to hospital weeks later, saying their neck’s a bit stiff and it turns out they broke it and their head’s holding on my a thread. Or something. I suggested I might have to leave early and take myself off to A&E and the staff were lovely about it. But I knew my Twitter friend Julie was coming, so I went back downstairs again to see her. (She took the blackboard photo above – I didn’t even see it!) While Julie and I chatted, a teenage girl seemed to be loitering, so Julie left us to it and the teenager – Eleanor! – came over and bought a book. Hurrah!

I bought a couple of books myself (obviously) and then headed back to Crewe station.

In the manner of an E! True Hollywood Story, I’m going to have to leave it there for now. I need a drink. So tune in tomorrow to hear about my exciting* trip to A&E and find out if my leg indeed fell off.**

* It wasn’t exciting.
** It didn’t.

But come back tomorrow anyway, eh. Jacqueline Wilson might be here!***

*** She won’t.


9 thoughts on “What’s it like to do a book signing? (Contains mild peril.)

  1. It’s not often we get to see the day in a life of an author doing a book signing! I’ll definitely be back tomorrow to see how the leg is.

    Take care in those train stations! 🙂

  2. Oh Keris, you make me laugh! I am so sorry you got injured, but I’m glad people were so kind to you and were so caring. I wish I could have come to the signing, next time I’ll come WITH you and be your carer, just in case! Hope your leg feels better. xxx

  3. Fab! Not the golfball lump but all the other stuff! Look forward to reading about your trip to A&E, glad your leg didn’t drop off!! X

  4. Oh, Keris. Thank you for the laugh – hilare blog post. V sorry about lumpy leg, of course, and am agog for next installment. Am speaking/typing oddly due to rewrite craziness. Can’t help myself. x

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