'Happy New Year.'
I don't answer. The presenter is speaking to her army of listeners.
I've been asked to go on the radio to discuss my new book and read a piece which my lovely publicist, Kesh, has edited to remove swearing and all references to padophilia, violence and drugs which has reduced us to two paragraphs.
I trip over a cable which is snaking across the studio. The presenter gives me a look that would freeze medusa. In my defence, I'm new to this game and so excited I put on odd shoes when I left the house. Fortunately I had a spare pair of sneakers in the car which admittedly don't go that well with my trouser suit but at least I won't be seen by the book buying public.
'Have I got a treat for you,' she chirps. 'A hot new novel. And boy is it gritty, gritty gritty.'
I begin to relax. At least she likes the book.
'Don't read it before bed,' she advises. ' 'cos this is gritty, gritty, gritty.'
I pull on the mammoth headphones and beam. This is going to be great. No doubt she's prepared penetrating questions and we can get into the important themes.
'Don't go away,' she trills. 'We'll meet the author right after this track.'
She hits a button on the huge banks to her right and pushes away her mike.
'Listen, love, I haven't read it.'
'Ah,' I keep my rictus smile in place.
She sniffs. 'Not my cup of tea, to be honest.'
Before I can answer we're live on air.
'So Helen, tell us all about Damaged Goods.'
'It's a thriller,' I gulp. 'About a lawyer who's client...'
'I bet,' the presenter interupts, 'it's gritty, gritty, gritty.'
'Yes,' I say. 'Gritty, gritty, gritty.'