Many of the London crowd will recognize Jonathan Drapes, author of the hilarious MNW novel Never Admit to Beige. Fewer will recognize the sands of Hermosa Beach behind him. ( Okay, I admit the sand isn't terribly distinctive. It takes an expert to distinguish the sand of Redondo Beach from the sand of Hermosa Beach, and I doubt that most readers here are trained Sandinistas...or whatever it is they call sand experts.)
With Jonathan is his better half Katherine, and, in the startling plaid hat, their daughter Jessica, who at this point had about enough of fooling around and being cute for visitors and wanted to head off for bed.
Though Jonathan had been a denizen of London for some time, he's on his way home to Brisbane; England's loss, but Australia's gain. Luckily, they decided to stop over just up the road from us (well, by California standards). So Pamela and I had a chance to have a chat and dinner with them, and JD and I had a chance to whine a bit about the whole process of writing.
While Macmillan New Writing may be a very British imprint, if you sum it up they've now published quite a few of us seditious aliens. At this point, I guess that--lessee, one, two, three, four...I make it no less than seven of us are from the outside. (That would be five Americans--Michael Stephen Fuchs, Peter Anthony, Ann Weisgarber, Doug Worgul, and, of course, Yours Truly--as well as the delgates from India [Suroopa Mukherjee], Ireland [Brian McGilloway], and, of course, Jonathan, who hails from the outskirts of Oz.) Jonathan, who works in advertising, was savvy enough to relocate to London just before his novel was published. (And now that it's out and the novelty effect has worn thin, he's savvy enough to disappear. This is somebody who understands PR.)
Alas, those of you who live in the UK and didn't meet Jonathan and Katherine seem to have missed your chance. Though I suppose he might move back next time he publishes a book. In the meantime, you can always pick up a copy of Never Admit to Beige, which I guarantee will be one of the funniest books you've read. Almost every review on the Amazon UK page for the book uses the phrase "laugh out loud." They mean that in a very literal sense; don't read this in public, or you'll finding everyone edging away from you.
And, best luck to Jonathan, Katherine, and Jessica back on the Gold Coast.