They say you shouldn’t meet your heroes. What a load of twaddle. Why would you not want to meet people who’ve been important in your life, without even knowing it? Isn’t it always wonderful to find that behind those words, those images, that performance there is a human being just like you, only better?
Last night I met and (gasp!) spoke to Susan Cooper. I was 10 years old when I read The Dark Is Rising and still think it’s my favourite fantasy novel of all. I read the rest of the sequence over the next 12 months, and then read the books so often that my original Puffin Editions fell apart and I had to replace them in 1988 with new ones. And last night Susan signed that 1988 edition.
Susan was in town to promote her new book, Ghost Hawk, which I have but still need to read. She was interviewed with enjoyable fanboy enthusiasm by Marcus Sedgwick.
Susan talked about how The Dark is Rising was written by a homesick woman living in America, and how the landscapes of Buckinghamshire, Cornwall and Wales which are so vivid in those books could not have been written without that homesickness. I love that idea – of a powerful writer bringing those landscapes back to life for herself through words.
And as she signed my book, she said: ‘Lloyd. Good Welsh name, that.’
Safe to say, this hero encounter was a million miles away from disappointing.