The day FINALLY came. I was London bound! (I had the Reception bear, Betty, in tow with me and we were off!) Jumped on the train after work on Friday and zoomed off to London. I knew that a few of the blogger friends I had made were going to be there so as well as sheet elation at the idea of all of the authors being there I was excited to put names to the faces I’d been talking to all these months online! The bookish community has been nothing but welcoming of me since I decided to join their wonderful corner of the world!
On Friday when I got to London I just hoofed it on over to the Travelodge in Uxbridge (very nice I must say… ever need a place to stay in Uxbridge Travelodge is your man!). I knew that Cora was going to be staying at the Travelodge too so I managed to meet up with her for a glass of wine on the Friday night! After a long day a glass of wine was MUCH needed.
Then came the big day… SATURDAY. YASHOT. I was excited. I didn’t know what to do, where to go or ANYTHING. Luckily Uxbridge is comprised of a pretty bog standard high street and I was told that I just needed to go up the high street… et voila! I picked up my gloriously glittery wrist band and then got the meet Lizzie and Darren (two of my twitterers) who were selling books for Waterstones! There’s something quite surreal about meeting online people for the first time in real life… but it is awesome! I managed to withstand buying ALL OF THE BOOKS and got my paws on Holly Bourne’s ‘…And A Happy New Year!’ which I was absolutely shocked to see, but absolutely made up! I also bought Laure Eve’s ‘The Graces’, which I have heard SO MUCH GOOD about that I needed it for myself!
Uxbridge Civic Centre was the actual holding place for some of the events. Within this there was an incredible quiet area. I loved the idea of this, for those of us who get over stimulated and need 5 minutes from the rest of the world! All of the locations were given bookish names: Ministry of Magic, Narnia, Wonderland and Middle Earth. Excellent choices all round.
Waterstones Uxbridge and I have been tweeting back and forth for months now and I happened to spend most of my day in there! I must say it was so calm and chill and the staff were so helpful. There just seemed to be books for days. Now yes, I know it’s a bookshop but it just seemed to flow beautifully. Props to you Waterstones Uxbridge.
The first event I went to was hosted by Hayley Long and Rosie Rowell, who talked about discovering yourself. It was fascinating to hear these two talk about their different books and the backgrounds for them. There’s quite a stark difference between South Africa and Brussels! They both drew me in for different reasons and talked about the importance of representing the culture in which you’re writing for, and how freeing it is when you’re writing for something you know first hand and have experienced your whole life. I hadn’t read either of their books but Hayley’s book with the secret code was one which went straight to my ‘to buy’ pile! They spent some time talking about their writing process with Rosie saying she starts with dialogue, which helps her characters grow, from which the setting comes out.
After that I stayed in Waterstones to hear Laure Eve and Anna McKerrow talk ‘Practical Magic’. Both of their books were very inspired by the film and both books have many elements of magic in them. Again I hadn’t read either of these books but that’s the great thing about these events – they open your eyes to so so many new books that you may not have heard of. I had heard so much about The Graces via my twitter folk and had bought it that morning (and have since started it!) so hearing her talk about it was awesome. I think this talk was one of my favourites of the day. The ladies talked magic, love potions, Charmed and Buffy. I asked them which sister they would choose to be from Charmed and Laure said ‘Prue’ and Anna said ‘Piper’. Things that I love about events like this is you learn so much about the authos as people, they’re not just robots who sit and churn out books. These two women were a delight to listen to, we laughed a lot! I didn’t want it to end. If you ever get the chance to see them either separately or together then do! And buy their books!
The final one of the day before I ran away to have something to eat was one that I’d been waiting for a LONG LONG time… Rescuers: children saving adults with Peter Bunzl and Kiran Milwood Hargrave. Now I probably don’t need to say this to anyone but I love kids books as much as I love YA, as much as I love adult fiction but ‘Cogheart’ and ‘The Girl of Ink and Stars’ are two of my favourite MG books of the recent past. If you have children in your life then please buy these books and get them to read them, or read them to your children… you will not regret it. I’ve been tweeting Kiran for months, ever since I finished GOIAS and I’d not had the fortune of meeting her til Saturday, and the same with Peter. Their event was lovely. They both gushed about the other’s book and answered questions from a hat. Before the event started we were given a piece of paper to write down any questions we had and to pop them in the hat – I loved this. It made us feel included and it isn’t as pressured as putting your hand up in a Q&A. I loved listening to these two people talk about their books and the other’s book too. We even got some sneak peek details about their new books that are coming out! I am super excited. Like the event with Laure and Anna this event comes easily in my top events of the day. It was so incredible to finally meet two authors whose work I’ve admired from afar for so long. I even got my copies of their books signed.
After the excitement of those 3 events I had about 50 minutes to fill, so I scarpered out of the signing room to get something to eat and to go back to the hotel to drop off the books I had already had signed because they WEIGHED A TON.
Come back tomorrow to see what I got up to the rest of the day!
Wanna follow some of the people I mentioned in this post?
– Cora: Blog, Twitter
– Waterstones Uxbridge: Twitter
– Kiran Milwood Hargrave: Twitter, Website
– Peter Bunzl: Twitter, Website
– Laure Eve: Twitter, Website
– Anna McKerrow: Website, Twitter
– Rosie Rowell: Twitter