For months I have been pestering and pleading with people to PLEASE vote for me! My book, Cold Enough to Freeze Cows was longlisted for The People's Book Prize and through grovelling and cajolling, I made it through to the final round. I had posters printed, cards made, press releases released and t-shirts printed. I even got thrown out of The Hay Festival for unauthorised canvassing...
Last Wednesday, Huw and I made it to London with bags full of finery. We had a hotel with a view of St Paul's Cathedral (which does look a little different in the flesh) and we found The Millenium Bridge. We even managed to look appreciative for some time in Tate Modern.
Then it was on to the People's Book Prize award ceremony. We had been told to prepare a speech in case we won, but it felt that to do so would jinx the outcome, so I cobbled a few notes together and decided that if it came to it, I could wing it.
I was very nervous, but there is nothing like bumping a wheelchair up a flight of stone steps in the rain to bring one back to earth.
The night was fabulous! Great company, good food, free wine (yippee!) and by half way through, I had decided that there was no chance that I would win and so I might as well get stuck in. By the time the winners were to be announced, I'd almost forgotten what I was there for.
As finalist I had to stand and be clapped: that was nice. As a "final three", I was allowed to remain standing and then it began to get a bit scary. We three remaining had to stand on the podium and look happy for each other. Frederick Forsythe came along too and did a nice little speech about "Don't worry, I didn't used to sell many either at one point!"
Then it was time for one of those envelopes to be opened. If I had leaned over his shoulder, I could have read the result and known what face to put on - but I felt it might be a little unprofessional.
The upshot was, I didn't win, but I was a top three finalist. Huw says that technically I can say I came third. Personally, I prefer to say that I was probably second.
It is said that you don't get anything for coming second, but I felt like I did. I met great people, got alot of advice and some good empathy, I got to wear a nice new dress and sleep for a whole night without being woken up by a child. Fantastic.