Wednesday, 3 June 2015
The Hay on Wye Book Festival
Last week was great because I was invited to the Hay on Wye festival for the first time and it was just brilliant. I'd managed to shake off my hideous tonsilitis of the week before and we had a drive down the country in brilliant sunny weather, playing the double cd of the previous weekend's Eurovision Song Contest all the way...
I was going to Hay to talk about 'Lost on Mars', my epic SF YA novel, which Firefly has just published. That wasn't until the second day, though. On the first evening I was drafted in as interviewer for two gentlemen writers of spooky stories - Chris Priestley and Dave Shelton. Both were on top form as we discussed their recent terrifying books under the dark, twinkling canopy of the Starlight tent. I really loved chairing this session - and getting the chance to read both writers's most recent books, which are excellent. (Check out Chris Priestley's disturbing ghost tale 'Through Dark Eyes' and Dave Shelton's portmanteau of horrors, 'Thirteen Chairs'.)
Then on Wednesday I was teamed up with the marvellous Moira Young, whose 'Blood Red Road' I'd just enjoyed. It's a heart-rending and gritty dystopian quest narrative that really puts all its characters through the wringer. It was great to get a chance to hear more about it, and then to read a chapter from 'Lost on Mars' to a packed house in the Starlight Tent. We took lots of very good questions from our chair and the audience and wound up having a terrific conversation about science fiction and writing trilogies and everything else we could pack into an hour.
It was a lovely trip, into the vivid green of the Welsh hills. Hay itself is a magical town, teeming with bookshops and cafes. There just wasn't time to see even a fraction of it all. I was desperate to spend hours in places such as the bookshop dedicated solely to mystery novels. But we managed to do as much as we could - even getting to meet up with some old friends and making some new ones.
I'd forgotten how much I loved road trips like this - going off to talk about my latest book and getting the chance to convince people to buy it! It's like heading off on an adventure each time.