A while ago I was asked to take my books along to a meeting and speak about my writing. The chairman who greeted me was friendly enough, if not a little dour and rather solemn when introducing me. I stood up to give my talk.

Honestly! I’ve spoken to some off-putting audiences in my time but the sea of glum faces that greeted me took the biscuit!  I hesitated.  My opening story was meant to be amusing but it was clear it would take a genius to get this lot to crack a smile.

A smile! Ah! Perhaps that’s the secret! I opened my mouth speak – except I didn’t. I gave a wide smile – then – still smiling – I told them what a pleasure it was to meet them all. (so OK I lied) But it did the trick. One by one the plaster faces cracked, the eyes crinkled, a light of interest came on and lips parted into – yes – a smile.

What a world of difference a smile makes – and it sells books!