This week I was privileged to be invited to give a talk about being a writer to a school reading group of around 20 11-year-olds. I alternated between excitement and terror beforehand. It's a long time since I was 11, and I was unsure of the right level at which to pitch what I said. I was also conscious that most of my audience wouldn't have met an author before and might be expecting someone far more witty and glamorous than me. If I disappointed them, I might turn them off writing forever.
I needn't have worried. The youngsters were so enthusiastic about their own reading and writing that they were full of questions. This meant I soon abandoned my notes and treated the occasion as a conversation. The children were attentive, polite and really keen to improve their writing.
At the end, one of them came up to me and said I'd inspired her. What more could I ask for? Oh, and I also had my very first request for an autograph. Magic!