A Year In France – Episode 16

Supplied © A Year In France illustration by Mandy Dixon

“I wish I could stay and give you another day to settle in, but this week is manic at work,” Maddy said as she prepared to go to work on Monday morning.

“I’ll be fine,” Dannie assured her. “Hopefully this evening I’ll have some news about a job.”

“If there are any problems give me a ring. Right, I’ll see you later. Good luck!” With that Maddy was gone.

The weeks before the London Book Fair were always busy and this year was no exception. Meetings with publishers, foreign representatives and clients all had to be organised before the fair even began.

When Kirsty stopped by her desk to tell her they’d been invited to join the panel at a seminar on the importance of foreign rights on the second day of the fair, she protested.

“It’s a bit last minute, isn’t it?” she pointed out.

“Doesn’t matter,” Kirsty snapped. “I can’t rearrange my meeting, so you’ll have to do it. Move whatever you’ve got planned for Wednesday to another time.”

“But . . .”

“When you’ve done it, give Leah copies of the timetable so she can co-ordinate things on the stand,” Kirsty finished.

“I thought Margaret was organising the stand for us like she normally does?” Maddy said. “With Leah staying in the office.”

“There’s been a change of plan.” Kirsty lowered her voice. “Margaret’s getting a bit too old to cope with all the frenzy of the fair, so I’ve told Leah she’ll be coming with us instead. She’s thrilled.”

“I bet she is,” Maddy muttered.

She sighed as she watched Kirsty walk away. Once upon a time they’d discussed things and Kirsty had valued her opinion. She had treated her almost like a partner.

These days, though, Kirsty was taking more and more decisions without involving her. As for Leah being in charge of the stand at the fair, Maddy shook her head.

At least she’d be too busy at the fair to have much to do with Leah. There would definitely not be any snatched coffee breaks like she’d enjoyed in past years with Margaret, that was for sure.

Maddy made a mental note to check with Margaret that she really was happy with this year’s arrangement. Not that there was anything she could do to change it.

The complete manuscript of the time-slip story was in her post that morning and she quickly put it in her satchel bag to take home. She sent a brief e-mail to the author acknowledging receipt and saying she’d be in touch as soon as she had read it.

Eating a sandwich at her desk at lunchtime, Maddy wondered how Dannie was getting on. She picked up her phone to give her a ring, but put it down again. She was probably out job hunting anyway.

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.