I had a great time at the Lincoln Book Festival on Saturday, where the lovely staff and authors of Total-e-Bound were on hand to provide a chill-out area on children’s day, away from the enthusiastic drum band, the ‘make your own bookmark’ workshops and the organised bear hunt (yes, it was that kind of event!).
After a train journey up from London that was delayed by more than an hour (that’s what you get for travelling on Friday 13th, I suppose) the fun started on Friday night. I joined up with laidback company supremo Claire, livewire publisher Nicki, long-suffering PR and communications manager Heidi and a chatty, witty brace of talented TEB authors, Victoria Blisse and Serena Yates, for dinner in a Thai restaurant close to Lincoln Cathedral. Anyone who was eavesdropping on nearby tables would have picked up some juicy snippets of conversation about all things erotic romance, as well as Serena’s love of plotting spreadsheets and Victoria’s lightning-fast writing thumbs – but as long as they were tempted to go and start looking for our books as a result, that’s fine with us.
After being woken at stupid o’clock by the Cathedral bells (a small price to pay for being in a hotel so close to such a stunning piece of architecture), a fortifying breakfast had us ready to go. There’d been a last-minute change of venue, from the castle lawns to the historic Drill Hall, and we colonised what’s usually the artists’ Green Room, occupying comfy sofas that might have been used, judging by photos of past events, by anyone from Alexei Sayle to Ralph McTell. We were joined by TEB cover artist, Emmy Ellis – which is the perfect excuse to squeeze into this write-up the beautiful cover she did for Neil And Obey. Ooh, I can’t get over that chest – but I’m prepared to break out the mountaineering equipment and try!
Despite being a little tucked away, we were still able to welcome plenty of mums looking for a nice sit-down, along with tea or coffee and gorgeous purple-and-white cupcakes supplied by local caterer Thomas 2. (Take a look at their gallery for an extensive range of their beautifully decorated cakes, but don’t do it on an empty stomach!) Most of them also went away clutching an armful of goodies including fridge magnets, bookmarks, pens and Victoria’s home-made orange bath bombs. The chance to win a free Kindle was also on offer, and it looked as though more than one person was converted to the idea of using e-readers after seeing one in action.
Full marks have to go to Claire for taking the team out on to Lincoln High Street to give away postcards entitling people to a free e-book – particularly as she decided to pitch up outside Waterstones…
We finished the afternoon with a selection of excerpts from our work performed in the Drill Hall cafe. Victoria read from her Point Vamp series, Serena from The Magic Thieves and I went with a snippet from my Italian-themed romantic suspense, Missing In Milan (and after all the inspiration provided by the weekend, I should maybe start working on a follow-up – Lost In Lincoln!).
There were no hold-ups on the way back – there was even time to nip into the excellent Appleton Gate Fish Bar in Newark before catching the London train, much loved from previous trips to watch Rotherham play Lincoln. So all in all, a more than worthwhile use of a weekend. I got to meet a publishing team who’ve been a pleasure to work with right from the start, swapped tips and gossip with some great authors and came away inspired with ideas that’ll keep me busy writing from now till Christmas. And thanks very much to everyone who popped in and said hello to us all – we hope you had a great day, and we’ll maybe see you next year?