* The woman is buying Fiona Kidman's Where your Left Hand Rests. She came to the reading Fiona gave on Saturday night at the bookshop where I work on Fridays (Rona Gallery) and bought a copy for herself. She's back because her son is getting married in Corsica and Fiona's book has a poem about Corsica. The woman is going to mark the poem with the silk bookmark attached to the book and give it to her son for a wedding present.
* The man - all 6'4 of him - is standing beside me. 'You recommended a book for my wife...' he waits and realises it needs more '... it was by a NZer...' pause '....from Dunedin?' It falls into place - it was a Mother's Day gift for his wife - he loved the idea of crime fiction and a woman cop and a South Island setting. He bought Overkill by Vanda Symon. His wife loved it but unfortunately, she lost it before she finished it. I say Overkill is not so widely available now (print on demand I think - we could order it) but we have the other two. I give him our copy of the newspaper article about Vanda so his wife can read it (it's been up a long time). He takes her second book too - The Ringmaster. Tells me again how much she loved the book. I tell him how much I enjoyed Vanda's third one - Containment - the lack of blood and gore, the clever plot... He goes off happy.
*The woman wants a book for her 8-year-old grand-daughter who doesn't read much because she's too busy running around. We trawl through a number of options, but she picks Enid Blyton's A Magic Faraway Tree because I tell her it's Bill Manhire's favourite childhood book. Except when he read it the book had two children called Fanny and Dick, now they're something else less, um, raunchy?
*Sold another copy of The Blue the other day - at the wonderful Open Mike event at the bookshop with Fiona Kidman as the guest author. I didn't read from The Blue, but Fiona gave it a bit of a plug - saying you can't have too many novels set on Arapawa Island (her Captive Wife is set there too.) Lovely to sell another copy of The Blue and to sign it...
.... speaking of which, I am very sad to see my lovely publisher Geoff Walker is leaving Penguin Books after 25 years. As I said to him, it was crazy of me to think he'd always be there like a rock in a southerly storm, but I did. He was wonderfully encouraging with my first novel and continues to be encouraging with my subsequent work in progress. I'll miss him.