This week brought the privilege of one of the most enjoyable book talks I've done, in the stunning Dorset town of Sherborne.
It was great for the wonderful audience, the Friends of Sherborne Library, how kind they were, and how welcome they made me feel.
It's not often I smile contentedly enough to avoid looking like a villain from Dr Who -
After the talk I reflected on why it went so well, and came to the conclusion there was one powerful factor which really helped.
I got into Sherborne a couple of hours before the talk and had time for a wander around. I enjoyed a delicious hot chocolate and slice of cake in Oliver's, a wonderful coffee house. I strolled around the town and marvelled at the beautiful old buildings and park.
It all gave me a sense of what the town was about, which I think helped me to understand the audience before we even started the event... which went a long way to breaking the ice.
One of the notable points of Sherborne was a new Costa Coffee in the high street, among all the traditional older shops. It didn't take a great leap of imagination to see how welcome it would have been for many.
Mention that at the start of the talk, get a few chuckles, and all at once I'm not a stranger in town, I'm one of the locals.
Many times I've said how important preparation is in anything writing, however uncool some might think. The delight of my day out in Sherborne is another example.