Okay, I keep forgetting to mention this so I'll bung it down quick.
HUGE thanks to Mark Samuels for his help with Mask. Not only did he write the introduction he did so whilst on his sickbed. Actually this probably explains why he said such nice things about the book, he was delirious. Cheers, Mark!
Also, at FantasyCon I got to meet John Connolly. Really nice bloke. He signed my copy of The Book of Lost Things, gave me a CD and we chatted about genre restrictions, Joe Lansdale and the addictive effects of coke (the soft drink not the drug). Yay!
Of course Katy had to spoil it all. As John walked off she gazed after him, dreamily. "He's really trim. Do you think he works out?"
I pulled in my stomach. "Dunno."
Katy continued staring after him, sighing. "He had really vivid blue eyes."
I was particularly upset about her infatuation as I had been stupendously brave on her behalf on the Friday night.
Here's the story:
We stayed in the back-up hotel, the Rutland Square hotel. Nice place but our room was right next to two connecting doors in the corridor. Every time someone walked through the doors they crashed shut making it sound like someone was trying to break into our room.
This wasn't so bad during the day but when people kept going through the doors at two in the morning it became a bit of a pain.
Every time we started to drift off to sleep ... BANG!
We both lay there for hours not only trying to get to sleep but also trying to remember that the noise was from the doors in the corridor, it wasn't someone trying to break into our room no matter how much it sounded like it.
Finally, at some ungodly hour I finally felt myself becoming drowsy and started to slip off into sleep ...
Just as someone really did burst into our room.
A huge bloke crashed through the door, thumping the light switch, flooding the room with blinding light, scowling as though he was ready to kill someone.
At this point Katy will tell you that I screamed like a girl but it was in fact a fierce battlecry designed to startle the intruder long enough for me to leap out of bed and face him on more equal terms. Not that the terms would be that equal as I was tired, out of shape and (those of a sensitive disposition look away now) naked. Still, standing I might have a chance in a fight, laying down I was a dead man. At the very least I could put myself between the intruder and Katy, giving her a chance to cry for help, call the police on her mobile, or, more likely, mumble at me to keep the noise down as she was trying to sleep.
So, facing the intruder, I yelled at him as loud as I could, forcing my voicebox into overdrive.
Next thing I know I'm sitting bolt upright in bed in the classic 'I've just woken up from a nightmare' pose to find Katy staring at me with a worried look on her face. Turned out she'd got up to use the toilet and the door had banged just as she had turned on the light. My drowsy brain had transformed this sensory input into a dream about an intruder.
Katy stood framed in the bathroom door, the light blazing behind her turning her to a near silhouette. "Are you all right, baby?"
I sat there for a couple more seconds just in case there really was an intruder then I lay down and went back to sleep.
In the morning, when I explained to Katy what I had happened, she took the piss out of me mercilessly. "I can't believe you did that! You frightened the life out of me yelling like that, you idiot!"
"But I was trying to protect you."
"I didn't need protecting!"
"I didn't know that ... Anyway, you should be flattered that even when I'm asleep I'm willing to leap to your defence."
She didn't look convinced. "Idiot."
Of course come Monday morning she had to take it all back. "There was a man hiding behind the curtains."
I blinked the sleep out of my eyes. "Eh?"
"Last night. There was a man hiding behind the curtains."
"What are you going on about?"
She looked embarrassed. "The light was streaming through the curtains this morning and it turned into a little man. He had a face and everything."
"And then he started marching towards the bed. I had to get up and check behind the curtains to make sure he wasn't real."
"Remind me -- exactly how much did you have to drink last night?"
"It's not funny. At first I was too scared to even put my glasses on to see if there was really someone there. If he was real I didn't want to be able to see him."
"If he had been real you not putting on your glasses wouldn't have made any difference."
"Yeah, but at least I wouldn't have to see anything when he killed me."
I didn't even bother trying to argue with that one. "If you were convinced there was someone in the room intent on killing us both then why didn't you wake me?"
"Oh," she said, "I didn't want to disturb you."
I shook my head in disbelief.
"Anyway," she continued, "after a while I realised that he wasn't going to hurt us."
My eyes narrowed in suspicion. "Hang on. You saw a man? And he was walking towards you as you lay in bed? You've been fantasising about John Connolly again haven't you?"