Authors are recluses much of the time (or at least the majority of us) but there are occasions when we change out of our pyjamas and head to sun-filled places… i.e. Nottingham (yes, it really was sunny – who knew!) on glorious bank holiday weekends to hang out with the beautiful people (i.e. the Bold Strokes folks.)
Hosted by Brey Willows and Robyn Nyx, the publishing house took over Mercure, Waterstones, the Peak District, and apparently the karaoke in the New Foresters pub. Em, Ferb and I set off and braved the bank holiday traffic to enjoy a Sunday full of laughter, chatting and Ferb cuddling. As you can imagine, Ferb decided to announce himself while Radclyffe was holding the stage by drinking so loudly that Radclyffe came over for a cuddle—I’ve never seen a dog work a room so quickly, I swear.
It’s always interesting to hear authors talk about their work and especially those who juggle writing and running a publishing business. It was great to hear about how Radclyffe writes and what inspired some of her popular works, to her thoughts on passing knowledge.
Then, once Ferb decided Radclyffe was covered enough in golden fur, he moved us onto Waterstones, where he finally got to shed all over Robyn and her jeans. If you’re not up to date with this long pursuit, Ferb met Robyn in the Diva awards back in November and gazed lovingly on her nice immaculate black jeans. He’d fluffed up everyone else but no, nope, Robyn was determined to be Ferb furless… until Nottingham. One long overdue cuddle and Robyn was fluffed. Job done.
Em, Ferb and I met a whole host of new friends and caught up already-suffering ones. There were selfies and conversations that went a little like this…
Person: “Hey, Ferb!” *cue Ferb fur flying* until they realise he’s attached to me. “Oh hey, Jody. How are you?”
Me: “Good.” Cue panicked look at Em who is frantically searching through Facebook to help me remember the name. (note to self: Not good with names, need to take spreadsheet.) “You look so different than you do on Facebook.”
Person: *Nods* “Yeah, my profile picture is my cat.”
Note to others: you need to bring your pets with you. Pets, I remember.
Thankfully most people looked like they did on social media and during the panels, we had great fun seeing beyond the picture. A few brave authors sat together to be interrogated (i.e. a panel) and, fuelled with Costa coffee, they answered questions from everything to diversity to whether Carson Taite goes undercover in the police to research her books… (We’re not allowed to tell you what she said, she’s a lawyer.)
On the way to lunch, Ferb attracted two exotic visitors and a very glamourous local. Brey Willows in her cool boots immediately gave into Ferb’s cuddle followed closely by Laurie Salzer and Mardi Alexander who were planning on abducting me, Em and Ferb as substitute joeys and putting us in their car. Ferb and I were ready to brave Scotland—we’re easily persuaded—but Em wanted too high a payment of chocolate.
Then came the quiz, hosted by Robyn, which saw Anna Larner’s fine Oscar worthy charade performance and Radclyffe acting out The Good Wife. Robyn heckled them gently but the veteran authors beat the newbies by a landslide… and Ferb had a sleep.
With a long road trip ahead, Em, Ferb and I thought we’d be at the New Foresters for a few minutes to show our faces… er… turns out Em talks more than me, that Laurie Salzer and I bonded and I may or may not have become her joey; Robyn kept the conversation lively with some impromptu lunges, and Mardi may or may not have signed a contract to sing Shirley Bassey’s entire collection on karaoke. I had a lovely conversation with a reader (hallo, Isabelle) but didn’t scar her with attempted German, cuddles with everyone, and left with a huge smile on my face… four hours later.
It was a much needed boost as we’ll be travelling to London for some unpleasant tests very soon, and, although I feel as though I stayed up late drinking with Laurie, Amy and Mardi today, it was definitely worth it.
If you get a chance to go to the Bold Strokes event in June 2019, I highly recommend that you go for it. With the best kind of company, fascinating authors and talks, readings, oodles of books, laughter, freebies (because that’s always fun) and even a BBQ, Robyn, Brey and the Bold Strokes team put on one Ferb-approved party and then some.
Thanks to all the people who worked so hard to put on the weekend, the sun shone but your warmth was even more memorable.
Jody and Ferb!