I wonder what Agatha (Christie) or Enid (Blyton) would have thought about this kind of thing. I don't think Agatha would have liked it, anyway.
I speak, of course, about the New Intimacy between readers and writers. It is no longer enough for a writer to sit at home and write the books. Dear me, no. Neither will it suffice for an author to go on the occasional book tour, give readings, and answer questions for a few minutes at the end.
No. Nowadays Web 2.0 interaction is all the rage, my dears. If things go on the way they are, readers are pretty soon going to want to be present when their favourite author buys his underpants, or gets fitted for a new bra.
By way of example, witness the case of Philippa Gregory, bestselling author of The Boleyn Inheritance and The Other Boleyn Girl. On Sunday 16 September, at 2.00 p.m. EDT (you'll have to work out for yourself what this is in Europe), Ms Gregory is hosting a live web event for her fans around the world.
'Never before,' says her publisher, Touchstone, 'has an author such as Gregory participated in an interactive web event of this magnitude.' Oh, but they all will before long -- mark my words.
Philippa Gregory LIVE will feature a 'live simulcast' (whatever that is) of Ms Gregory speaking to an audience in London. She will discuss her historical research; writing process; her latest novel, The Boleyn Inheritance; the upcoming major motion picture based on The Other Boleyn Girl; her next novel, The Other Queen; and where she buys her bras.
If you want to get truly intimate with Philippa you need to register in advance. And it's worth doing, apparently, because 'throughout the one-and-a-half-hour long event, online attendees will have the opportunity to ask Philippa their own questions and interact with other fans and book clubs.'
What fun, eh? Bet all you wannabes just can't wait for it to happen to you. Good luck, kids.