It's one of those things you most look forward to when you're unpublished - your first publication day. In actual fact, the launch of a book is never quite that clear cut - I remember walking into a bookshop two weeks before the launch of my first book and finding half a dozen copies on the shelf. I was so shocked that I asked the staff what they were doing there and they thought I was complaining and offered to remove them!

Then as time goes on and you publish more books, the publication date becomes even more intangible, particularly if you're published in one country but live in another (like me, US published but UK based).

So yesterday I was having lunch in London with three friends who are also writers (Mark Billingham, Simon Kernick and James Twining). Mark was the first to arrive, we had a drink and he raised his glass and said, "Congratulations, here's to the book", and it took me a moment to catch up with the fact that he was toasting the success of my book, "Who is Conrad Hirst?", which was officially launched in the US yesterday, the 13th November.

It's easy to take for granted sometimes but it's a remarkable thing, that someone has seen fit to take some of my words, print and bind them, sell them, that other people will pay to read them. How crazy is that? No wonder a recent survey found that being an author was the number one dream job.

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