Name dropping aside, it was an opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people, established successful writers and aspiring authors alike, and to hook up with familiar faces. Here are The Curzon Group, behind the scenes in the Green Room before our panel on Friday. From the left, Richard Parker, Zoe Sharp, me, Tom Cain and Matt Lynn. Zoe moderated our panel, which was just as well. She did a grand job keeping us all in check. The audience asked probing questions and we had some lively discussion about character vs plot, among other topics.
On Saturday I was invited to participate in the Debut Authors Panel, chaired by Marcel Berlins. I was pretty nervous about meeting him, but he put us all at our ease within seconds, and made the panel feel like a relaxed chat between friends. Here we are, after the panel.
Also on the debut panel was Mike Hodges, who wrote and directed the original film of Get Carter. Mike has just written his first novel, Watching the Wheels Come Off. It was thrilling and surreal to find myself on a panel alongside such an iconic film maker.
Discussion included the pros and cons for an author of being signed for a series or for one stand alone book. I have to say, I'm really happy I was offered a three book deal - with a subsequent offer for a fourth in the series.
I also gave a talk on writing a series, and was pleased to have a decent audience. Once again, the questions were searching and challenging, and I discussed the development of Geraldine Steel and the balance between offering the reader something familiar, and the need to avoid becoming formulaic.
The icing on the cake was seeing - and signing! - sale copies of ROAD CLOSED for the first time. Publication wasn't due for a few weeks but WH Smith's Travel wanted to do a promotion in June so the printing was brought forward to meet their deadline. A box of books was delivered to the convention venue in Bristol, literally hot off the press. The books vanished somewhere in the hotel but my publisher was able to tell me exactly when and by whom the delivery had been signed for and the Blackwells bookseller went out of his way to track the books down. If you read this, Blackwells in Bristol, thank you!
I also spent time with fellow authors I'd only 'met' online before, and caught up with Mystery Women.
The convention was a tour de force of organisation, with panels, talks and interviews running constantly and concurrently throughout the event.