Parties and Panels

There’s been a lot going on this week, which means I have not managed much writing. But I have enjoyed a rare burst of social activity that should keep my recluse metre topped up for the foreseeable future so that I can get some actual work done.

The Gollancz party on Thursday was splendid as always. I met (and re-met) Gavin Smith and Sam Sykes – new authors for next year who I expect to be deeply envious of some time soon. I had several people express their shock and horror at the fact that I love the Roadkill toys. People seem to think it’s out of character considering my vegetarianism and animal rights activism. And the more they go on about it, the more I start to feel a little bit shocked and horrified myself. Why am I so fond of my gory rabbit? Is there something dreadfully wrong with me? But mostly I just feel a vague sense of amusement that meat eaters can be uncomfortable with a squished soft toy that, actually, is not really dead, yet they don’t mind paying a butcher (or their supermarket) to chop off a cow’s head. Strange, eh? But – everyone’s shock and horror aside – the Gollancz party was a great bash, and I was tremendously pleased that the midnight train was the last one running rather than the usual half past ten.

The panel I took part in at the Havant Literary Festival yesterday was also a success. Fortunately, my hangover from the Gollancz party the night before had worn off by then. At least, I think it had. No one suggested to my face that I still looked hung over anyway. The panel was very well attended, and I was particularly pleased to see the lovely Neil C. Ford in the front row, especially as he had the foresight to bring a Lex Trent ARC – something that never occurred to me (possibly because of the hangover thing).

I believe I spoke relatively coherently, although I may have blanched a little when the moderator suggested we read aloud from our books. The whole concept of an author doing readings from their own books completely baffles me. This is, essentially, a form of acting. I could no more speak convincingly in Lex’s voice (or any of my characters) than I could get up and sing a piece of Italian opera. I am no actor. If I were forced to read aloud from one of my books, it would therefore probably come out as something of a dull monotone. I lack the theatrical flair. Writing it and speaking it are, after all, very different things. I’m always amazed that so many authors seem happy to do readings at conventions and other appearances. This is certainly not something I would ever voluntarily do. Fortunately Mr Ford, perceiving my discomfort, offered to read a section on my behalf, which let me nicely off the hook. And, indeed, he read it much better than I would have done. Henceforth, I shall refer to him as Lancelot, and expect him to accompany me on all and any events I may attend – just in case.

A big thanks to everyone else who made it to Havant last night, and an even bigger thanks to those of you who bought one of my books. Think of me again in February when Lex Trent versus The Gods will be out in all its fantastic, stupendous, awesome, breathtaking, shiny book glory.

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Havant Literary Festival

Once again, I should have blogged about this ages ago, but I’ve only just realised that the Havant Literary Festival is, in fact, only one week away. How is this possible? It’s still the middle of June, surely? Not practically the end of September! Well, at least that means Christmas is closer. Yay! Christmas is a time for silly hats, and I might have to convince Moose to wear a Santa hat so that we will match!

But back on topic. Next week from Friday 25th September until Sunday 4th October is the Havant Literary Festival: I was involved in this last year, and it was a lot of fun and a fantastic event. This year I will be doing a panel at 7.45pm on Friday called ‘The Journey through Adolescence’, with authors Isabel Ashdown and Yong Pease. We will be talking about ‘the special challenges of writing for and about teenagers’. Tickets are £4.00 each: If you are anywhere near my neck of the woods and fancy watching me speak eloquently and eruditely on this subject (or perhaps just making up stuff that may, or may not, be coherent) then do come along. There will be books available to buy and have signed afterwards.

Aside from my panel there is a whole bunch of stuff going on in Havant over that weekend, with a wide selection of writers so if you’re even remotely interested in reading, writing, or just books in general, and you’re within a manageable distance of Havant, then I would highly recommend going along at some point. It was a brilliant event last year, and it looks set to be even bigger and better this year.