As I write this, Adrian and I have just returned from a whirlwind of a long weekend away from the 'office'. It was a not-quite grand tour of the south, which turned out to be a homage to three great writers. It was an epic four day creative Odyssey. This time, however, Penelope came too (and Penelope had a paddle).
A few weeks ago we signed up our third author, Wendy Turbin. Wendy is the author of the forthcoming first book in the Penny (Penelope) Wiseman mystery series, Sleeping Dogs. At the time we signed Wendy, we realised that we would want to visit her where she lived (and where she gets her inspiration) on the Essex coast. The Essex coast is a long way from Hobeck Towers. So, as we started to consider the logistics of the trip, we realised that we could take the opportunity to do a few other things on the way and on the way back. We decided that we could visit our first author, Robert Daws, as well either end. He lives sort of on the way back. We needed to drop off some audio equipment with Robert as he is going to be narrating the Rock books for Hobeck so we had a reason for the visit. Despite feeling like we had met Robert after working with him for a few months now, we hadn't.
A few days after we had settled on a trip to visit two authors, we signed up another, author number five. (We had also just signed up author number four but that author doesn't live anywhere near Essex or Bedfordshire - more on that later.) Author number five happens to live 20 minutes away from Robert Daws. What luck! The opportunity was there. We took it. We had our trip mapped out. Home - Cambridge (to visit old friends) - Essex coast (to visit author number three) - Ipswich (to visit an old friend) - Bedfordshire (to visit authors numbers one and five).
Now we am back I feel that I have hardly drawn breath for four days. We have spent a lot of time in the car (and plotting ideas) driving around the south of England, a lot of time drinking coffee and eating biscuits (some home made) and a lot of time drinking wine and putting the world to rights.
We have had a really productive and fun time. We don't get many opportunities to travel for work but when we do, we feel it should be fun. It was fun. It was a lot of fun. Everyone we have met (the three authors and all the random friends) have made us feel welcome, made us laugh, and made us feel confident that we are doing an okish job so far with this Hobeck lark. Our four day trip has made us reflect and see that we have come a long way in four months and what a four months, and four days, it has been.
My highlights of the weekend? Wendy's amazing cat dress, coffee on the pier, paddling in the warm sea, bacon baps, chips and curry sauce, meeting a skeleton called Eric, dining on the most delicious roast dinner I've had in a long time, drinking far too much wine and then some more, eating breakfast with (or next to) Germane Greer, being licked by the friendliest Staffy dog you could ever meet, and, finally, laughing until I ached.
It is good to be back with the family and the cat, and we now have lots and lots to do over the next few days. I can't wait to get stuck in. We are so lucky to have such talented and authentic people on our author team. I look forward to the next Odyssey.