Yesterday, I took the hour and a half drive to the picturesque Ivinghoe Village, in the heart of the Chilterns, for the Beacon Villages Festival of Books and Writing. I’d been to the festival last year and enjoyed the array of panels and workshops it offered. This year, it promised a wider choice of author talks, workshops and panels and I’d been invited to sit on the crime panel – my first one.
One of the nicest things about attending events like this is catching up with friends. Yesterday I spent a wonderful day with my dear friend Ian Robinson, caught up with the lovely Anne Coates, Alison Bruce and Dave Sivers, and met long term Twitter friend Sue Nicholls in the flesh. And that’s without all the new friends that I chatted to along the way.
There was an array of different events offered in the morning from a discussion over the different pathways available to publishing, to workshops in creative writing and author talks. First up I attended, ’12 Things I’ve Learned from Self-Publishing eBooks by Dave Sivers’, which was an insightful look at his experience of self-publishing and loaded with helpful tips and advice to support the aspiring writer, whichever route they wished to take in publishing.
Next up, I chose ‘CSI Ivinghoe: Getting Away with Murder by Alison Bruce’. Alison is a lovely writer friend of mine with a library of both fiction and non-fiction books to her name, and it was interesting to listen to her share how she goes about plotting and researching her novels.
As we approached lunchtime, I admit that the nerves were starting to surface. Nothing like your first author panel being the last one on the timetable! We were scheduled for 4pm, so I took advantage of getting some air and relaxing for a while before it was back to get ready for our event. (Consequently I missed the early afternoon YA panel which I hear was a great success.)
On my return I chatted with my fellow panel members and then it was time to start our ‘Heroes and Villains’ crime panel. I admit I did feel very nervous for the first couple of questions, but eventually I settled and found that I actually quite enjoyed myself. New to the scene, I could not compete with the wonderfully successful Stephen Booth and Anya Lipska, but it seemed I didn’t really have to. We all had different heroes, different takes on settings, research and villains and it was lovely to be able to contribute to the discussion in some small way. My thanks go to the fabulous Dave Sivers for his professional moderation, and to both Stephen and Anya for being so supportive. Crime writers really are a very friendly bunch of people.
So, the verdict on Beaconlit 2014? A lovely day out for all. I came home to wonderful tweets and messages from other attendees and really enjoyed meeting friends, old and new.
I would like to extend gratitude to Dave Sivers and all the organisers of the event, and especially to my dear friend, Ian, for coming along and supporting me on the day. Also, many thanks to Anne Coates for allowing me to use the photo you see above.
I have a quieter week coming up, so hope to catch up with a few of you online. In the meantime, whatever you have planned, I hope you all have a good one!