It was great to meet up with friends and be introduced to new ones. There was a buzz about the whole day and you couldn't help be enthused by the writers when discussing their books.
It was good to hear about forthcoming publications, too, especially from authors whose previous novels I've loved. Thorne Moore's books, A Time for Silence and Motherlove are both excellent reads and I can't wait to read her new book, The Unravelling, due to be published by Honno on July 21st.
There were talks, readings and workshops offered through out the day. The first one I attended was 'The Tudor Image' by Judith Arnopp. Judith is the author of six Tudor novels and three set in medieval times. We looked at paintings of Tudor monarchs and considered the images they were intending to portray. The private selves were well hidden behind expressionless faces which acted as masks. As a historical author, Judith has to see beyond the blank portraits, enter the characters' heads and imagine their thoughts and emotions.
Next, I went to children's author, Sharon Tregenza's workshop. It was for children but I had a great time! We chose a picture of an animal and then asked questions about it. From our answers, we wrote a story. The little girl on my table had some very imaginative ideas and one child who was about eleven wrote the whole of her story in rhyme! Everyone was given a bag of goodies including a copy of Sharon's first book Tarantula Tide which won the Kelpies Prize and The Heart of Hawick Award. Her second book The Shiver Stone is published by Firefly Press.
It was good to meet up with author friend, Judith Barrow, again. Those of you who read my blog know I'm a big fan of her family sagas that form the Patterns Trilogy. Judith's lively workshop was about building characters in short stories and novels. The handouts will prove useful when we create those killer characters! Thanks, Judith. We also looked at how using dialogue can make a character become more rounded and come alive for the reader. We chose a scenario about which to write and shared our characters with the group. For more about Judith's last book, Living In The Shadows, you may read the interview with her on my blog on 15th July 2015.
Wendy Steele's talk on 'Fantasy and Magical Realism' was fascinating and something completely new for me. Wendy talked about how she sees fantasy as 'taking the humdrum and seeing it and showing it through new eyes.' She creates magical, mythical creatures in a realistic world. You will find her books HERE.
One of the highlights of the day was listening to Carole Lovekin read from her wonderful book, Ghostbird. Having read the book recently, the chapter was still fresh in my mind but hearing it again read by the author, the person who created the character of Cadi and her ghost sister, seemed to make the words come alive still further. For more about Carol's book, you may read the interview with her on my blog on the 20th March.
Last but not least, I caught up with Julie McGowan. I first met Julie at one of her writing workshops at Penarth Book Festival last year. At Llandeilo, she read from her novel Don't Pass Me By. It's set in WWII, a period in history which I find interesting and one that is the backdrop for one of the narratives in my own novel.
Have you attended a book fair or literary event lately? If, so, please share your thoughts with us. Hay Festival 2016 is coming up at the end of the month. Will you be there? What have you booked?
Thank you for reading. You may also follow me on Twitter @JanBayLit and my Jan Baynham Writer Facebook page.