Now, I'll do anything for a bit of publicity for my books - so, when my publishers said they'd been contacted by one of our newish and exceedingly popular radio stations inviting me to take part in their live "Book Babes" show, I leapt at the opportunity. Okay, so with hindsight the show's title should have given me an inkling that this wasn't a literary programme that was going to give Mariella Frostrup sleepless nights, but it's always easy to wise after the event, isn't it???
Another warning sign that things might not go exactly to plan (mine) was that they chose to introduce me by playing Christina Aguilera's "Dirty"... and this was terrifyingly compounded when the lovely presenter said "... and now from one dirty Christina to another..."
I simpered and sweated, as you do, and knew that I was in big, big trouble...
"Tell us about your dirty books," she grinned knowingly.
"Er..." I muttered, knowing that Elle, The Doctor and The Toyboy Trucker were hanging on my every airwaved word, "actually, I don't write dirty books..."
Everyone in the studio laughed. A lot. And I could tell from the body language that this wasn't the response they'd expected.
"Yes you do," the presenter insisted, smiling manfully. "That's why you're here."
"Actually," I muttered in panic, "I - um - write romantic comedy novels and funny short stories and - um - none of them have any sex in them at all..."
More panic-stricken laughter all round. The presenter asked me all about the new book - Happy Birthday - and I could tell by the look in her eyes as I described the feel-good funny bits and the eccentric characters and the villagey background that she finally realised that there was No Sex.
It was getting very, very hot in the studio. I was sweating buckets. Everyone was smiling with gritted teeth and manic eyes.
"Right," the presenter said bravely, knowing that her thousands of listeners were probably now getting a bit tired of this coy shilly-shallying, "but you have romance and love affairs in your books, so there must be some sort of flesh-on-flesh action in them."
"Actually," I gulped noisily into my microphone, "no, there isn't..."
"Ah... Right, well - that makes this next part a bit tricky..."
Next part? I swallowed. What next part? And how much more tricky could it get?
Very, very tricky as it turned out...
The presenter had invited half a dozen other Book Babes into the studio and had asked them to all read out some erotica... Oh, hell on wheels...
"And you," she said manfully, " are going to judge them. You can decide which one is the hottest, most erotic, the most down and dirty of the lot..."
I whimpered and prayed Elle and The Doctor and The Toyboy Trucker had found something more scintillating to listen to.
Well, give those girls their due - they gave it their all. And it wasn't erotica they were reading out - it was porn - pure and simple. Flesh-on-flesh action wasn't in it! Mortified with embarrassment at full-on sexually graphic descriptions that would have made Russell Brand wince and a contortionist give up, I did the only thing left for me to do. I laughed.
I laughed a lot. The presenter and the girls laughed with me - although not quite so hysterically.
"...er," I stammered when mercifully it was all over, "they were all - um - really good, but I'd have to pick..." I stopped, unable to remember any of the girls' names, "ah - the last one as the winner. It - um - she - was very - er - good..."
They all clapped, breathed a sigh of relief, thanked me with more warmth than I deserved, put The Other Christina back on the sound system, and ushered me out of the studio.
I sat in reception and wanted to cry at my on-air humiliation. The Book Babes were all wonderful - but I have a feeling I won't be invited back to join them any time soon...