Yesterday I was delighted to attend a Fantasy Faction meet up in London with around 30 forum/Facebook group members.
We met in the Waterstones Gower Street store, where they’d reserved a space for us, somewhat randomly, in the medical section. 30 fantasy fans browsing shelves filled with books on intestinal ailments, urology, nephrology and parasites. I can see some fiction being filled with distressingly accurate medical conditions appearing in the next few months!
It was a fantastic day, meeting up with authors – Adrian Selby, Mike Brooks, Michael R Miller, GR Mathews to name but a few, and fantasy fans and forum members – Simon, Dominic, Alice, Chris-who-came-all-the-way-from-SAN-DIEGO!!!!!
We all hung out for a good few hours, indulged in a PINT OF TEA FOR £2.00 (my new favourite thing ever), grabbed lunch, hung out some more, and then trotted off to find food, beer and the second Waterstones store of the day (this time in posh Kensington) for the Hobb/Newman panel event, hosted by FF’s founder, Marc Aplin.
It turns out Kensington High Street doesn’t have anything as common as a pub, so we struggled to find said food and beer prior to the event, eventually finding the Prince of Wales a half-mile or so past the Waterstones. We had time for a very quick beer and dinner and then it was back again, into the rather stifling heat of the downstairs of the bookshop, packed to the rafters with fans, to see two incredible authors and one excellent panel lead (Marc!) for an hour of brilliant Q&A.
It was great to hear Robin, who’s such an accomplished author with such a huge body of work, talk about how her characters still just go off and do what they want, regardless of her wishes, and to hear Peter’s boundless excitement to be (a) being interviewed alongside Robin, and (b) be delighted to have his first full trilogy out in the world.
Robin was a huge advocate of bookshops and the expertise of booksellers, and they both commented on the need for diversity in retail – not just huge online retailers, but the importance of that face-to-face contact and the recommendations of good booksellers to open doors to books you might otherwise never find.
It was a looong day, though not as long as it was for Chris-who-came-all-the-way-from-SAN-DIEGO!!!!
Everyone was really excited to be meeting up, and I signed my very first autograph, for Adrian Selby of Snakewood fame (he’s currently writing another set in the same world) and we had a good chat about what he liked and didn’t like about Godblind, which was very useful. I think the emphasis was more on liking than not liking, which is always a relief, but he made some valuable comments and hopefully these will bleed through into my writing of the sequels.
I also had a phone interview with Ed Fortune from Starburst Magazine about Godblind, which was nerve-wracking. No idea how I came over, but hopefully I didn’t waffle nonsense too much. Look out for that in the near future. I’m not sure which issue it will be in, but as we’re less than two months out from publication, it shouldn’t be too long.
Currently reading: The Book of Phoenix, Nnedi Okorafor
Currently listening: Soundtrack from Dances with Wolves
Currently watching: Doctor Who, Marvel’s Agents of Shield, Lethal Weapon