September 23, 2009:

Hard sleeping night as I knew I was leaving on an early train to London. But of course I made it on time, and from Edinburgh on I was in first class. These trains now have wi-fi and eletcricity so you don’t run out of batteries. I did email and then worked on CURSES for the four and a half hours into the capital. Strange to be writing while the landscape whips on by: small woodlands of beech and alder, stone houses, stone fences like the spines of dragons climbing up hills, allotments with the tag-end of the summer vegetables, in one garden a man practicing his golf game. Life busily flying by, and all the while I am typing away! I managed to get up to page 78 on the mss.

In London I was staying in a Smith College grad’s two-floor flat. She and her husband (both Americans who are long time residents in London) have the top floor and I had a bedroom and private bathroom on the lower floor next to their offices and living room. Heaven! Of course to get in took four keys and five locks, and I needed help from their neighbor who had an office across the way. Luckily, I know the language. Sort of.

I unpacked and then got a cab to HarperCollins where I had a lovely afternoon with my two Harper editors who have done the British editions of the HOW DO DINOS books which have solved over a half million copies, very good for GB. (In America and the clubs, the figure is over 12 milion!) We also looked at illustrator options for a picture book they bought several years ago.

Then a cab ride (paid by Harper) to the British Library to wait for my friend, Farah. As I got there early, I had time to sit and outline the rest of CURSES, one of those very loose outlines that will grow (I hope, since it only goes up to 120 pages and the first book is 160.

Farah and I walked from there–about 20 minutes–to John and Judith Clute’s flat where we had a lovely dinner and MUCH conversation. Then I took a cab back to the Smith College flat. And fell into bed.

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