Have you ever shyed away from attending a literary or writers' festival? Ever wanted to go but backed out thinking I won't know anyone? Yep, me too in previous years, but this year I have finally made it to the Festival of Romance in Leighton Buzzard. I arrived last night eager to collect my tickets and spot the faces, many of whom I know, some which I don't. But, and here's the beautiful thing about romance writers, you don't have to know anyone, honestly you don't. At times, we may be introvert creatures but we always chat to a friendly face, include another in the crowd and willingly share a bottle of rose!
Last night, I attended an author panel 'Girls' Night In' comprising of Rowen Coleman, Jane Lovering, Mandy Baggot and Jill Steeples - the session was filled with much laughter and humour. Each author spoke openly about their routines, novels, writing desires and next project. The audience welcomed their honesty when answering questions and their encouragement to the unpublished.
I have tickets for:
'Meet the publishers and pitch your novel' at 11am in the library theatre.
A session packed with questions for the panel of publishers - a dozen brave folks pitched their novels and received immediate feedback from the panel. Kate Nash did a superb job of balancing the timings giving everyone chance to be heard.
'An afternoon with award winning authors' at 2:30pm in the library theatre. Liz Fenwick hosted the author panel: Katie Fforde, Carmel Harrington, Tracey Bloom and Fiona Harper - who answered questions regards their writing having each given a reading from their latest book. Sadly, the one hour session simply flew by.
'Romance Readers awards 2014' at 8pm in the library theatre were as follows:
Best Romantic Read - One Step Closer to You by Alice Peterson
Best Historical Read - The Dress Thief by Natalie Meg Evans
Best Short Romance - Taming Her Italian Boss by Fiona Harper
Best Ebook - The Oyster Catcher by Jo Thomas
Best Author Published Romance - Christmas Yves by Nicola May
A huge congratulations to anyone who was short-listed - that alone is a massive achievement.
Alongside these events there is an open air authors' book stall in the Main Street, so fingers crossed it stays dry and each author sells every book.
I arrived home on Sunday filled with a renewed vigor and lot of memories filled with laughter. Who couldn't laugh when a certain group of ladies are taking photos of non-tattooed arms, some are doing their rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody to accompany the barman playing the piano and finally, guessing the weight of firemans' equipment raises the roof! Thank you for a fab weekend, I'll see you all next year x