Last weekend, I was browsing in our local children’s bookshop and picked up a copy of a new book called ‘The Knife of Never Letting Go’.

“The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk,” it begins, “is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say.”¬†

That was enough to make me carry on through the first chapter. Which was enough to make me buy the book and spend the next week reading it. It’s a story about a world where people (and animals) can hear each others’ thoughts, and it’s just what a book for 12-year-olds should be – exciting, unpredictable, eloquent, awkward, moving and occasionally funny.

By Wednesday, I got round to Googling the author, Patrick Ness. I discovered from his blog that he too was gay and in a civil partnership and liked Scrubs and cookies and stupid statistics about his iTunes collection. OK, time to close down the browser before crossing over into the realms of cyber-stalking. But not before discovering one final fact – that he was speaking at an event in Brighton on the Friday entitled ‘So You Want to Write for Children?’ Well, yes I do and he seemed like the guy to tell me how, and I do like a sunny weekend in Brighton, and why stop at cyber-stalking when you can actually stalk the guy in the flesh?

And so two days later, Steven and I boarded the train from Victoria. (Thanks to Steven for the picture of me finishing the final chapters on the journey.) At the other end, I had to run to the theatre to get there on time, arriving hot and sweaty and looking slightly deranged. It was a good event, both authors read from their books, and they and their publisher gave some interesting answers to all sorts of questions. Afterwards came the signing bit, at which point I’m afraid that I completely lost the Wordage poise and turned into stumbling fanboy, babbling incoherently about how much I liked the book.

Thankfully, the incident ended without any restraining orders being issued, and Steven and I could get on with enjoying the traditional pursuits of a Brighton weekend – catching up with friends, window-shopping, paddling in the sea and touring trashy gay bars.

Back in London, I checked Patrick’s website again (Stalker? Moi?), half-worried that there might be some allusion to the fawning idiot who’d cornered him. ¬†Brighton was fun, he reported. And, to my relief, he added that the audience contained “no apparent crazies”.

Thanks, Patrick. You’re too kind.

 

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