Liz and I had a couple of firsts this weekend: our first visit to Newcastle, our first live event talking about our writing, our first time signing books for readers (apart from our book launch, which somehow just feels different).
We were in Newcastle – which is GORGEOUS, by the way: that architecture! And those accents!! Swoon. – for the UK Young Adult and Children’s Extravaganza 2016 (UKYACX for short). We’d been invited by the lovely organisers, Kerry Drewery and Emma Pass, to come and talk about The Witch’s Kiss. Two minutes each on a panel with three other authors. Our tendency to ramble was strictly controlled by the Sand Timers of Fate and the Honkers of Doom, ably wielded by Kerry, Emma and our wonderful MC, Paula Rawsthorne.
Obviously, four minutes isn’t very long (and as a team we had twice as much time as the individual authors). Still, we spent approximately 30 times as long as that worrying about what we were going to say. Something concise, intriguing, amusing, devastatingly witty… I’m really not sure we managed to cover all (or any) of those bases. And yet, it was a huge amount of fun. We got to talk about our book (which we love). I didn’t publicly humiliate myself by falling off the stage or tripping over my own feet (both of which I’ve done before). And we got to answer some really great questions from the audience, including:
- which book would you recommend and to whom? I chose Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, which I’d give to anyone who says they don’t like graphic novels.
- which are your favourite film adaptations of books? I picked The Lord of the Rings trilogy (the extended versions, of course) and Love and Friendship, the recent film version of Lady Susan.
Aside from our own panel, we really enjoyed the opportunity to meet other authors and readers. It was fascinating to hear about other writer’s lives and inspirations. I was particularly intrigued by Paula’s ghostly encounter in a Derbyshire cottage, and as for Kirkland Ciccone’s amazing catwalk demo…. There are really no words.
This is the third year that Kerry and Emma have organised UKYACX, and from what I’ve heard, it just keeps on getting better and better. Whether as a visitor or a participant, I can’t wait until next year’s event.