Apologies to the great Roald Dahl for a little shameless borrowing from his immense imagination, but I thought it was a fine title for this musing.
I'm not talking a chocolate factory here, but the ticket that being an author brings you to just about anywhere, anyone and anything in this wonderful world.
A small example from this week - I was invited to talk about the tvdetective books to the East Devon Luncheon Club in Sidmouth.
The setting was beautiful, the splendour of the Victoria Hotel, and the audience very kind.
The age range was towards the retired - one lady said I represented "da yoof" (quite a compliment!), but that didn't mean any less of a sparky time. Witness this one exchange -
Guest - Do you get nervous, giving talks?
Me - Yes, a bit, of course.
Guest - I shouldn't worry, we'll all be asleep a few minutes after you begin.
(Happily, that didn't turn out to be the case - at least half the audience stayed awake...)
As part of the research for the new book I'm working on, I also went to Exeter Mosque this week for a look around and was made very welcome by the Imam.
And on Friday, I did a talk at Exeter College, where the age range was very much the younger.
Again, it was a lively discussion, talking about how the media and writers represent the world, and whether we sometimes over dramatise life.
(to which charge I pleaded entirely guilty, with the mitigation that - what kind of a thriller would I be writing if it consisted of... person gets up in the morning, goes to work, not much of interest happens, comes home to nothing unusual, goes to bed and repeat etc etc.)
But, going back to the Golden Ticket, the theme which unites these three different experiences of the week is, in my humble view, this -
What a privilege it is to be an author.
In so many ways, of course, but here I'm thinking specifically -
How kind people are to you, just because you may want to write a little about their interests, or their worlds. How they open their lives to you, give you access to them and are happy to talk about them.
The Golden Ticket is another element of what makes writing such a wonderful way of life.
So, finally for this blog, a big thank you to everyone who came along to my events this week, and who helped me in so many ways with research and thoughts for my scribblings.
None of it is taken for granted, and all is hugely appreciated.