Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I first met Terry Pratchett back in the late 80s at a book signing in Ealing. That was very shortly before he really hit the big time, and there were about 30 of us in the queue awaiting an audience with the Creator of The Disc.
Terry was brilliant with the fans; every one was greeted with a smile and he chatted to every person, taking interest in what they had to say.
A few years later there were far more fans waiting in line, and a book signing could take up to five hours, with people queuing round the corner to get to meet him and say hello.
Many other authors upon getting famous, are – although smiley and polite to their fans – will only take as short a time as possible with their fans, and with a well practised flourish of an autograph and a much rehearsed ‘Hello, so pleased you came and purchased my latest book!’ will get through their signings in the allotted time, say between 1pm and 2.30pm, but not Terry, oh no.
Even when the signings were running nearly three hours overtime, he would still make sure that he took the time to chat to his fans and sign whatever they’d brought along and placed before him, bless ‘im.
Back in the late 80s, I had no idea that one day I’d be at book signings with Terry but then, after a flurry of letters and presenting of Figgins and Sticky Toffee Rats on Sticks, there I was after the release of Nanny Ogg’s Cook Book, and it was my turn to stand there for hours on end while people plonked books in front of me to sign as well.
Obviously, I was only mostly asked to sign copies of the Cook Book, but I did get my share of fans asking me to sign weird and wonderful things such as neck braces, super-soakers and underwear, which was interesting.
One day I was asked to attend a book signing in St. Albans in the guise of my ‘Terry Pratchett Approved Alter-Ego’, Angua*.
This meant that not only did I get asked to sign the Cook Books as myself, but I also got asked to sign things as Angua, and by the end of the signing I was beginning to get confused as to what my name was, but anyway.
Terry was in fine form. The fans had been queuing for hours and the line stretched twice around the book store floor, down the stairs to ground level and out the door.
Terry as usual chatted away to fans old and new and had been signing things for about half an hour when he noticed a woman waiting patiently whilst holding a large bag of books, and also had a small baby in her arms.
Being the darling gentleman he is, Terry called her over telling the others that it was only polite to ensure she didn’t have to wait any longer than necessary with a teeny-tot, and the woman hurried over smiling and thanking him profusely.
When she go the to table, she put the bag of books on the floor, and placed the baby carefully on the table in front of Terry, who looked at the little one for a moment before asking…

“So where do you want me to sign it?”
The fans roared with laughter, as did I, and I was still giggling on the way home.
Terry Pratchett. In my opinion one of the nicest and funniest famous people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.

*Despite doing a book with the great man himself, being told that I am Angua in the flesh and straight out of the Discworld itself is one of the greatest accolades of my life!