BY GRAND CENTRAL STATION I . . .

Didn’t sit down and weep. I spent hours chatting to someone I’d never before met. And, no, I’m not in the habit of foisting conversation and copious cups of coffee on the unwary stranger.

I knew this person, but only through social media and her blog. We’d exchanged emails and messages, commented on each other’s posts and pictures but being e-friends is no guarantee that people will click – pun intended – in the real world. Who’s to say we wouldn’t take an instant dislike to each other and run screaming to the nearest exit?

Needless to say that didn’t happen.

grand central

We met at Grand Central in Birmingham. I was already ensconced in Carluccio’s waiting for her train to get in from the East Midlands.

Our profile pics can’t be too ancient as we recognised each other straight away. What’s more I’m delighted to say we hit it off from the word, go. Word being the operative, well, word.

From the moment Elaine Aldred spoke it was obvious that, like me, she’s passionate about the written word. We bonded over books: writing them, reading them, reviewing them. Coffee-d out, we moved on to lunch; discussion spilled over into publishing, authors we admire (or not), the editing process and just about every aspect of crime writing: fictional detectives, favourite characters, cracking plots to dialogue that sings off the page.

elaine aldred

Elaine’s genre is more difficult to categorise but leans towards science fiction. At the moment she’s fitting in fiction writing around an academic career and to coin a phrase: I don’t know how she does it.

Already armed with a BA in Creative and Professional Writing from the University of Nottingham, she’s currently completing a doctorate in education also from Nottingham and still finds time – among a host of other things – to produce a really excellent blog.

Not surprisingly the strange alliances blog explores different styles of writing. Elaine also crafts detailed and intelligent book reviews and author interviews. It really is worth checking out:

https://strangealliances.wordpress.com/about/

When we went our separate ways Elaine was off to – what else? – a book launch. On the way home, I immersed myself in serious research on the number 50 bus: people-watching and shameless eavesdropping on strangers’ conversations.

Which brings us neatly back to meeting people we don’t ‘really’ know . . .

Without social media Elaine and I would probably never have connected. So thank you Facebook for bringing us together. I went away that day feeling I’d made a real friend and let’s face it – there are few better ways to spend free time than drinking coffee and talking books with a committed bibliophile.

Unless, of course, it’s rendezvousing over a glass or two of vino in Grand Central New York?

World_USA_New_York_Grand_Central_Terminal_018858_

What do you say, Elaine? Next time?

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