Well, March has been EVENTful (badum-tsh!). March has been the month that contained my first bookshop event, my first literary festival, and my first time approaching a bookshop to sign copies for stock. And it has all been MAGICAL.
Firstly, I got to spend World Book Day at YA Birmingham, which was beyond incredible. Incredible to be on the other side of an event I’ve celebrated for so many years, incredible to meet people who liked my book enough to come out on a chilly Thursday evening to talk to me about it. Some of my family came, friends came, and fans (you cannot imagine how amazing it is to think my book has fans) came too.
I got to meet people like Sofia and Lize – who I first spoke to on Twitter – face to face and chat to them about the book, as well as catch up with people like Chelley Toy, who I met at the Scholastic Bloggers’ Brunch in January, and who is rapidly becoming an excellent friend/potential arch-nemesis.
During the event I answered questions posed by the very wonderful Jamie from YA Birmingham (who also presented me with THE most amazing present afterwards). I read two passages from the book, the beginning, and one of my favourites, and then took some audience questions, before finally holding a book signing! A more detailed version of the night can be found here on Chelley Toy’s Blog, Tales of Yesterday, and the photo above was also taken by her.
There’s no way of writing it down without it sounding trite, or saccharine, but it was the most wondrous thing for me, to have this real-world experience of seeing the book out there, in people’s hands, and talking about it. If I’m honest, it made me hungry for more of it.
So it was a very good thing that on Saturday 21st, I was invited, along with my fellow YA authors Catherine Doyle and Lisa Williamson, to be part of the Young Adult Rising Stars panel at Oxford Literary Festival. Chaired by the very warm and witty Caroline Sanderson, we each got to talk about the worlds and characters we’d created, what our inspirations were, what being published meant to us, and what we planned to do next, before taking questions from the audience.
Oxford Literary Festival is a huge, well-respected, and vital part of the UK, and global, literary scene and it was an absolute privilege to be invited. I was more than a little overwhelmed by it; I’m still pinching myself, and again, it was a brilliant opportunity to meet people who were really interested in how we’d come to write our stories, and why we wanted to in the first place. I loved hearing more about what inspired and drove Cat and Lisa, and if you want to know more too, then the very lovely Lily Golding has written a full report of the panel on her blog The Whispering of the Pages.
Finally, today I did something I’ve been building up to for a long time. For a long time I’ve seen people tweeting about how they’d been into bookshops and signed copies for stock, and I wanted to do the same thing, but had no idea how you’d go about it.
A quick ask online informed me I could either nip into my local shop and offer to do it there and then, or email/tweet/call in advance and see if it was something they’d be interested in. I decided to bite the bullet and do the former, and I’m so glad I did.
They let me sign all the copies they had, said they wished they’d known I was local, and told me I should come back, soon, and often and that they’d love to do an event with me in the future. So I’m going to try and be braver when I go to new places and ask if I can sign a few copies in lots of bookshops.
That’s all for now, but I’m hoping I’ll have some news to share soon. If not, I’ll write a post about how much I love my new bicycle. It’s a real beauty xxx