Book signings, writing panels, Sci-Fi Weekender, Oh my!

What have I been up to recently? Well…

I went to the #BeTrueToYourself book signing in L1 Waterstones last week, which was wonderful. The writers were Jandy Nelson, Sara Bernard, and Lisa Williamson, and panelled by Cathy Cassidy.

The panel was wonderful, and PACKED! I always love hearing writers talk about their books and their inspirations. The highlight had to be during the reading of I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN when Lisa read with Jandy, taking on the male romantic lead role – complete with snazzy sunglasses. Everyone was so relaxed and insightful. The readings were great too! I can’t wait to dive into the books that I haven’t yet read. We need more writing events in Liverpool dammit!

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I got all my books signed and did the usual (fangirled, went bright red, stuttered) and basked in the lovely warm and fuzzies that always follow a great YA event. The atmosphere is always so encouraging and inclusive. I love this community so very very very much.

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Then, this weekend, I went to the Sci-Fi Weekender in sunny Wales, and binged a whole five hours of writing panels in the Starbucks. My favourite of which was the Fear In Writing workshop by Emma Newman. She sat in the limelight for a whole hour, keeping an entire room engaged, and she talked candidly about her nerves, and the ways she overcomes them. She was so relaxed and professional, it was brilliant to see. I couldn’t believe she could ever be nervous about anything, ever!

At the end, she held an off-the-mic session where we all discussed our fears surrounding writing and the publishing industry. She took us all under her wing and gave out some superb advice. I mean, I went to the Weekender for the Sci-Fi and the cosplay and the craziness, but this little gem of a workshop really made my weekend.

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Another great piece of advice came from her husband, Peter Newman. The panel discussed what was required of authors nowadays, in terms of public speaking and panels and promo. He told us not to sweat it. While most writers are naturally introverts, being on panels and learning to speak publically is just a skill, like anything else. It is something that you can get better at with practice. You just need to put in the work.

This pleased me to no end, because I am most certainly more of an introverted person. But I am also a hard working person. Oh yes. And practice is something I can get on board with. He said it all comes together, one step at a time, just like when you’re learning how to write. I realised for the first time this weekend that I’d love to be on panels one day. I’d love to talk to the YA community and sit where all these amazing talented writers have sat. I added about fifty new things to my bucketlist, after these workshops. The whole thing made me very giddy.

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As did the mini golf, which we took way too seriously. And the segwaying. And the table tennis drinking game. Yes. A wonderful time, all round. Still, it is impossible to look cool on a segway, no matter how jaunty your hat is.

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