Before the start of 2019, I had only been to one event with an author. That was David Nicholls, and even then he spoke mostly about his screenwriting work and how he had adapted certain classic novels for television.
This year, I have tried to put that right, and although living in the South West of England has its disadvantages with bookish events as opposed to somewhere like London, I was lucky to be able to attend three separate events, hearing from a total of eight authors.
Here are the authors I saw this year:
On a rainy day in May, I went to the Bath literary festival, where Stacey Halls was one of two authors who discussed how they became historical fiction authors, and the inspiration behind their work.
I was really impressed by Stacey and how polite and down to earth she was. After the event, I was able to have a chat with her and obtain a signed copy of her debut, The Familiars, which has the most beautiful cover! I read the book a couple of months later, and enjoyed it a lot.
Elizabeth was the other author I saw in Bath, and by then I had already read her debut novel, The Doll Factory. It was extremely interesting to learn more about the book and have some of my own questions answered, giving me that little extra insight.
For anyone who has read The Doll Factory, you will know that it has a brilliant sense of atmosphere and a well-realised setting, with some dark themes. It was great to understand some of the thought-processes behind it.
I saw Kesia Lupo at a periodical event called Novel Nights, in Bristol back in June. She had just published her debut YA fantasy novel We Are Blood And Thunder, and spoke about what knowledge and skills were needed to write for a YA audience.
She is also a novel editor and runs a small literary agency, so even though I did not feel especially well that evening, I came away with some useful tips and insight.
Joining Kesia Lupo was the author of another new YA release, The Million Pieces Of Neena Gill. It was fascinating to hear Emma Smith-Barton talk about her writing journey and how she had eventually become a published author.
Her novel also contains a very detailed mental health rep, so it was good to learn how she had approached that.
Exeter Literary Festival
In November I decided to attend the Exeter Literary Festival, which just so happened to take place on a weekend with major rail disruption. That meant my journey was much longer than normal, and I was able to go to a Q&A session with four crime/thriller authors.
The most well-known of these authors was C.L. Taylor, by whom I have read three books. She was also the most interesting one on the panel for me, speaking about a number of topics including TV/Film adaptations and making the transition from writing romcoms.
We also had Katerina Diamond, who is a very prolific crime author who sets her books in Exeter. There was Martyn Waites, who had some interesting and amusing anecdotes, and also Claire Empson, whose debut Him was released in 2019.
Along with these events, one of the biggest additions to my blog in 2019 has been author Q&As. I have been very lucky for three high-profile authors to agree to answer my questions. Here are the links to my posts:
Did you see any authors or attend any bookish events in 2019? Let me know in the comments!