Yesterday I gave my debut talk on Sherlock Holmes and Conan Doyle to a travel group. This group, charmingly described by their own tour leader as 'ancient', consisted of approximately twenty retired ladies and one gentleman. At a guess the ages ranged from just over sixty all the way to the mid-nineties.
I, along with representatives of the organisation who had 'hired' me, began by mingling and exchanging easy conversation before sitting down to a less than stunning buffet lunch. Predictably, some of the diners had issues with the food and service and I spent most of the time cornered by two Swiss ladies who, fortunately, were charming company.
At 1.45pm I was 'interviewed' Wogan-style and spent about 45 mins giving them countless items of useful information about Sherlock Holmes, Conan Doyle, Victorian London and even a few tit bits on Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple (Lord knows how we ended up on them). My talk, upon conclusion, was greeted with reassuring applause.
Then we got down to the business end of the day - selling my book. Tight so-and-sos only bought six copies between them. The royalties on those (before tax) will just about cover the cost of my travel. There's precious little glamour in being an author.
P.S. One lady fell asleep during my talk. However I keep telling myself this was due to the combination of stodgy food and oppressive heat rather than my wonderful voice.