Last night, I attended a 'meet the authors' event at Heffers in Cambridge. It was a good evening, even if it was mostly 'authors meeting authors'. Hello Joe Craig, Marcus Sedgwick and Graham Marks among others *waves*.
As is standard, you're expected to sign books, which is fine when readers you don't know approach, but can be socially-crippling if people you really should know (but can't remember their names) thrust a pen and book at you.
Normally, the trick is to ask how they spell their name, and hope to hell they don't flatten their lips and say something like 'Dan. D.A.N.'. It works pretty well, and has got me out of plenty of scrapes in the past. Last night, however, a publisher's PR (whose name is now tattooed on the inside of my eyelids) asked me to sign a copy of SO BELOW. As I'd been talking to her for about an hour beforehand, I really couldn't admit to not being able to remember her name. It would've just been rude. Also, because her job involves handling authors, I figured she'd see right through the 'how do you spell your name' blag.
And so I panicked. Really badly. And just sort of scrawled across the page. It wasn't even an illegible scrawl, which might've been fine. It looked like something produced by a three year old having a temper tantrum.
I didn't blame her for looking at me funny. In retrospect, I should've just confessed that the wine had gone to my head and y'know, sometimes people forget names. Instead, I offered her the handwriting equivalent of a dirty protest. So, *****, I'm really sorry. It won't happen again.