This afternoon, I made a pretty young woman very happy. This is not something I do with any regularity these days, so I thought I should remark on it.
Her name is Rachel Davenport. I don’t think she’ll mind me putting her name on here because, soon enough, she’ll be famous anyway. You see, some years ago, my wife and I went into the travel agency where she works and booked a flight. I’m not sure where we were going on that particular trip, but that isn’t important; what is important is that, as we left, she handed me her business card.
“Rachel Davenport, International Travel Consultant,” I read out to my wife, as we returned to the street. “It sounds like a superhero.”
And so, over the next year, I wrote a book titled Rachel Davenport, International Travel Consultant about a young woman who works in a travel agency by day but fights crime as a self-styled superhero at night. Admittedly, it was a strange concept. Stranger still is the fact that I have found a publisher willing to take it on.
Chuffed as I was over this unexpected but delightful turn of events, I couldn’t help entertaining dark thoughts about the real Rachel, and what reaction she might have to being the subject of a book (because you know I’m going to make certain everyone in town knows about it). Odds were that she would be flattered and happy with the situation, but there was always the chance that she and a few of her mates might corner me in a dark stairwell in the mall and do a beat down on me with their handbags.
“What the fook you playin’ at using my name and not paying me residuals, eh, wanker? I’m callin’ my solicitor, innit!”
So, to put my mind at rest, I visited the travel agency where she still works and, with less awkwardness than I had a right to expect (seeing as I was a perfect stranger walking in out of the blue to tell her I had written a book about her), told her the story of her business card, my manuscript and the upcoming publication. She was, thankfully, thrilled, and she and her work mates did a lot of giggling, speculating and extracting of promises to keep them updated on progress.
The book, of course, has nothing to do with her personally; I don’t even know her. The heroine of my novel is an ex-child prodigy and media darling who decides to chuck it all in for the quiet life of a secret crime-fighter. It’s sort of like Stephanie Plum meets Sheldon Cooper. (What? Too obscure? Remember, Google is your friend.)
As I left, she offered me another business card. It read, “Rachel Davenport, Manager.”
“Sorry,” I told her, “there’s no book in that.”