A gaggle of excited teenagers chanted “Jas-mine! Jas-mine!” as she entered the convention hall. Afterwards there was a long queue in front of her desk, individuals clutching copies of her graphic novels along with special pens for signing. Just before the appointed time the arts reporter from the national broadsheet approached her desk; she was still inscribing copies for the last few eager fans. Minnie recognised the smug glassy smirk – she’d seen it enough times – and smiled her own secret smile.
“Hi, Julian Fortescue,” he said by way of introduction, placing his Dictaphone ostentatiously by the reducing pile of novels. It was only a matter of time, Minnie thought as he launched into his spiel. It wasn’t long coming.
“Don’t you think fantasy is a bit, well, the wrong thing to feed to young minds — y’know, putting impossible dreams into their heads? After all, it’s escapist in the final analysis when they should really be concentrating on getting good exam results and decent jobs, don’t you agree? It doesn’t, you know, put food in anyone’s belly and money in the bank – unless of course, haha, you’re a bestselling author!”
Here he laughed even more at his own joke.
* * * * *
Somehow he’d slipped and fallen on his back. One end of the trestle table had collapsed and the last few novels had fallen square onto his face. His Dictaphone had fallen off the dais and disappeared into a dark corner. Guffaws burst out from the remaining fans, Jasmine’s agent and the security staff who’d gathered round expectantly: they’d heard this sort of thing usually happened when Jasmine was confronted with unpleasant individuals.
After all, it was commonplace in The Minx — one of the most successful series of graphic novels to date — whenever a Dark Lord was involved.