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In recent months I have developed an unhealthy obsession with author Tom Rob Smith.

I never thought it possible to fall in love with someone without actually knowing what they look like, but after reading Smith’s first two novels I was frankly, smitten.

Child 44 and The Secret Speech are set in the fearful heights of Cold War Russia. Smith makes this sinister, fearful period electrifying, as he transports the reader into to the secret world of spying. This is a world where the police are the criminals and the criminals are the good guys.

Nothing could have prepared me for the combination of terror and exhilaration that I felt on reading these novels, nor for  my new found obsession with military tanks and machine guns. The person that has the ability to convert a Jane Austen fan (me) to a lover of post-war thrillers must have great talent.

Without further ado, I decided that this Tom Rob Smith needed some investigation. After scouring his biography at the back of the book, I just knew that this author was the man for me.

Born in 1979 (Ideal that means he’s eight years older. Nice to have a mature kinda guy)

Half Swedish (Even better, he’s obviously got Aryan good looks from his Goddess of a mother)

Cambridge graduate (It’s always a bonus to have a good brain)

Lives in London (Perfect! When can we meet?)

The penny dropped, and just like that, I  came up with a foolproof plan. I was going to contact this Swedish, bookish hunk and in the name of ‘journalism’ interview him. In my whimsical dream world, Tom and I would discuss his literary inspiration and then we would fall helplessly in love with each other. Easy.

Not one to waste time, I set to work tracking down my future husband. As I scanned through a Wikepedia article my eyes fell on an unsavoury sentence:

Tom Rob Smith is gay

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! My plan is foiled. My heart is broken. This is tragic.

This really IS lamentable news, but I will just have to be grown up about this. If I can’t have Tom, I spose I’ll just have to make do with his fictional hero – Leo Demidov.

Hang on a minute, something’s just struck me, Tom Rob Smith’s sexuality should have been blatantly obvious from the word go. Anyone that can create such a masculine, handsome yet tough hero as Leo Demidov simply has to be gay.


So now I’ve told you about SRK and the exclusive world of social networking, it’s high time to mention another, all together different aspect of my life pre-christmas.

By day, I worked chez SRK, by night, I schmoozed with the rich and famous – satisfying them with mulled wine and designer canapes.

Now most of us have probably worked in a bar or a restaurant at some point in our lives, but there is nothing quite comparable to working in events. Every job is unique, in a different venue, with different people and a fresh dollop of gossip.

I’ve worked at charity do’s, funerals, carol concerts, birthday bashes and some fairly spectacular Christmas parties. I’ve done events for snobbish bankers, Zimbabwean hunters, trendy film makers and even rampant lawyers, (yes, I did walk into a pair of barristers ‘getting it on’).

I’ve worked with the well-to-do in South Kensington and I’ve worked amongst earnest Guardian readers in Islington. I’ve served chipolatas to vintage clock enthusiasts, Parisian art dealers and even the Archbishop of Canterbury. But my most enduring memory as a waitress had to be dressing up as a Hopak dancer for a Russian Inspired extravaganza.

I discovered a number of things as I waitressed my way across London:

1. There’s always a secret shag at a Christmas party.

2. Parisian and Italian women won’t touch canapes.

3. English women are the first to tuck into a plate of sausages.

4.  People that work in catering, work bloody hard and are jolly nice

5. If you keep smiling, you can get away with any number of spillages or breakages. Just.