When I first read that the inimitable MARIAN KEYES was coming to Bury St Edmunds - which is a mere hop, skip and a short train journey from me - I thought I'd misread the missive, but no, she was definitely coming and tickets were available. And not just any old tickets, but FRONT ROW tickets. Needless to say, I snapped one up and added an Extra Special Event countdown on my phone, an honour usually only reserved for Christmas.
As the day drew nearer, there was of course the inevitable weather spanner thrown in the works, as there ALWAYS is with any event I'm hosting, attending or taking part in (folk who know me are well aware that this is no exaggeration and have even refused to attend functions with me for fear of being struck down during a freak storm that my presence will conjure out of nowhere), but I thought 'feck it,' as Marian herself would say and set off, ignoring the battle cries of Storm Dennis and made my blustery way to Bury.
It wasn't just Marian's unique sense of style that I wanted to admire from my front row seat, but I wanted to hear all about how she tackles the writing process, why she writes what she does, how she does it, which bits she loves, loathes and everything in between, because for me there is nothing more interesting than discovering how other authors do the job of writing the words.
I know that we all have very different styles, methods and ideas. There's absolutely no one size fits all when it comes to writing a 400 page book - or in the case of Marian's latest, Grown Ups, a 600+ page book, and having the opportunity to hear first hand how other authors, especially 33 million worldwide selling authors, go about it, is fascinating.
And did Marian live up to expectations? Of course, she bloody did! Warm, wise, engaging and unflinchingly honest about far more than her writing, she has us all in the palm of her hand. I learned loads, and I know I wasn't the only one, and not only about her passion for cosmetics and Strictly. I was even brave enough to put up my hand and ask her a question - another 'feck it' moment and one I was extremely proud of.
It was an absolutely stand out afternoon for me and one that I'll be thinking about for a very long time, so thank you Marian for travelling to my little corner of the world and lighting up a very stormy Saturday with your charm, kindness and much welcomed words of wisdom.