The author was Ben Johncock, talking about his novel The Last Pilot in conversation with Andrew Smith, author of Moon Dust.
I enjoyed Moon Dust, which is a sort of The Right Stuff: Where Are They Now?, interviewing the surviving men who have experienced walking on the moon and investigating how that experience changed them, so I have high hopes for The Last Pilot. The novel follows a fictional pilot from the 1940s to the Moon missions, throwing in real life figures from the era. Pretty ambitious for a first novel, especially one written by a Brit who has only ever spent four days in the USA and much of that watching The Phantom Menace.
But people who'd already read it were making comparisons with James Salter, and the author signature is one of the best I've ever seen, coming with a fingerprint and two different rubber stamps, one of which proclaims the book to have come from the library at Pancho Barnes' Happy Bottom Riding Club. I look forward to reading.
Bookseller Crow is a lovely shop, with tempting stock and friendly staff - do wander in, if you're ever in Crystal Palace. Most of their evening events are free, and for those that aren't, you can usually drink enough to make up for the cost of the ticket.