On Saturday 30th May 2015, I appeared at the Hay Festival. Yes, I really did just write that last sentence. It was, without doubt, one of my most exciting, surreal, overwhelming author experiences to date.
The festival itself was HUGE- like a mini town full of book-loving people- and offering so many wonderful events, it literally make my head spin. As for the green room where writers and publicists hang out before and after their events… well, lets just say I was glad I’d brought my glasses because the people-watching was immense- Michael Morpurgo, Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer, Helen MacDonald, Cathy Cassidy, Meera Syal… ok, I’ll stop but you get the point. And don’t even get me started on the food…
My event was with the lovely Linda Coggin -whose brilliant debut is The Boy With The Tiger’s Heart -, and Gillian Cross, Carnegie winner and author of many wonderful books. At Hay she was talking about her latest, Shadow Cat, which is one of my favourite reads so far this year.
In the pic below( courtesy of Linda’s partner) I’m the one in the red boots who appears to be nibbling on a sandwich. We were chaired by the excellent Danny Hahn, and talked about the thread that links all of our books- ADVENTURE.
Our characters, we discussed, all want something badly and are willing to put themselves in real physical danger to get it. Somewhere along the way, they also experience an emotional discovery of sorts. We all read action scenes- mine was from The Girl Who Walked On Air- and afterwards, signed copies of our books in the festival bookshop. Due to a bit of cunning on my publisher’s part, I was able to sign the VERY FIRST COPIES OF IN DARKLING WOOD. I have to say, the three books together on the shelf did look pretty awesome.
After all that, I went to listen to Kate Saunders talk about Five Children On The Western Front. She was funny, witty and hugely entertaining. Then it was back to the green room for hot chocolate and cake (very good on both counts) to wait for Team Faber’s other authors to finish their events. Then it was off for dinner with Faber publicist and all-round superstar Hannah Love, Pip Jones, Kate Saunders and agent Julia Churchill. Much was consumed and all sorts discussed- we certainly put the world to rights, I’d say. Sunday dawned wet and grey. After a rather queasy car ride to Hereford station it was time to catch the train home, lugging my tired self and complimentary Hay case of wine with me.
Earlier in the week, I’d read Robin Stevens’ tweets about feeling sad to leave Hay , and I confess I did too. I knew I’d have two very enthusiastic Jack Russells waiting for me when I got home, and the lovely Mr Carroll. But I felt a little pang on leaving Hay. I really did have the very best time.
Ah well…until next year ( fingers crossed!)