Well, my first London Book Fair is over. I left with a tinge of sadness, wishing I had spent more than a mere six hours swimming in a sea of books. What a day!
I left home at 4am on Thursday 14th April and by 6.28am the dawn greeted me. There’s something sublime about watching the sun rise, even when you’re sat on a coach heading down a motorway. The sight of it reminded me of the awe of our ancestors who worshipped the golden orb, giving offerings in the hope it would return each morning to warm and nourish their world. Listening to Honeyroot’s ‘Sunrise Sunset’ a while later I knew that was my hope for the day; to find literary warmth and nourishment among the exhibit stands.
As the light returns to lift the shroud of night, there is a wonderful moment of clarity and a great sense of self-awareness. It is a personal commune between you and the enormous burning sphere that gives life to our galaxy. From high roads overlooking an expansive landscape, I was not on the M40 heading south, I was atop a hillfort surveying an ancient view; transported, not in a commuter sense, but in a spiritual sense. That same feeling returned later that morning as I climbed a staircase to the first floor and turned around.
A sumptuous sea of stands and a bevy of beautiful books, pouring round every corner like shoals of tropical fish in a rainbow of colours. Pure heaven! Emotion welled inside me as I realised my book was one of those fish, sitting snuggly in the cosy coral also known as the SilverWood Books stand. Suitably overwhelmed, I headed for Author HQ, feeling ready to share my love of books with a myriad of other authors, agents and publishers.
At 9.30am SilverWood Books hosted the ‘Breakfast Book Club’ and several authors, including myself, read from our books. Poet Bobbie Coelho was hands-down my favourite, reading from her anthology exploring Parkinsons ‘Finding the Light’. Her work is emotive and embraces you. I was very moved by her poem ‘Peter’.
I finally met the marvellous Alison Morton, who launched her fifth Roma Nova novel ‘Insurrectio’ at the fair. One of the opportunities I look forward to immensely at these types of events, is finding online acquaintances face-to-face. You can build relationships from far and wide on social media, but it still does not compare to meeting in person. We shared author experiences over lunch and attended the ‘Author Collectives’ seminar in Author HQ. This I thoroughly enjoyed and continued the discussion afterwards with Alison, and Melanie McGrath of female crime writer collective ‘Killer Women’.
I shared my knowledge with others who were beginning their publishing journey and gleaned wisdom from longer-published authors. I hopefully managed to fulfill my role for the day as ‘Author Ambassador’ for SilverWood Books and had the chance to chat to my publishing team about book 2 in my ‘Wolf Spear Saga’ series. I didn’t want it to end! Basking in the warmth of shared book-love and nourished by inspiring authors I headed home. I’m already looking forward to LBF 2017 (14th – 16th March). Note the date in your diaries, set aside you comfiest shoes and get ready to dive in!