Wednesday I am elated. A teacher from a school in Cheltenham emails to tell me how much they enjoyed my event. They have based their history, drama and literacy lessons on my book, The Thieves of Ostia.
Thursday A quiet writing day. I type my name in www.google.com to do a vanity search on the internet. I discover a kids' website has given my book a mediocre review: only three stars. Yesterday's elation becomes today's dejection.
Friday A children's bookshop in London has invited a class to hear me talk. Not one pupil has read the book. None is studying Latin. I read the revolting Roman food passage and ask them to tell me about the most disgusting food they have ever eaten. One or two participate. Inspiration strikes. "Jonathan, the Jewish boy," I say, "speaks Greek and Latin. But what's his native language?" Hands shoot up. The answers range from Arabic to "New Zealandish". None guesses the right answer - Hebrew or Aramaic - but at least I've aroused their curiosity.
Caroline Lawrence used to teach Latin and art. The Thieves of Ostia and The Secrets of Vesuvius (both published by Orion) are the first two books in her new series of children's historical novels set in ancient Rome