Saturday, 26 May 2012

Book Adventures in London

So on Tuesday night (22nd) I had reserved places at the "Worlds of Tomorrow Event" at Foyles bookshop on Charring Cross Road.

**If you want to get straight to the actual event, skip down to the orange picture**

With my new work timetable I wasn't allowed to leave until 5.15 and the event started at 7. I spent a lot of my breaks at work that day checking train times and praying that traffic wouldn't be too heavy, as from 5 to about 7 is rush hour traffic, and I had to get right into the center of town to get to the train station. The train to London then takes 50 minutes (if it's a fast train) or 1 hour fifteen ish if not.  Then I would have to get the underground, walk to the store. It was going to be tight. Plus I got an email from the Foyles event team saying that if you weren't there by 6.45 they would start to give tickets away to other people who showed up. - Mild panic mode!

My colleague Joyce came to collect me from work and luckily we seemed to be just ahead of the rush, we sailed to the edge of town, got caught briefly down one of the busier roads, but soon zoomed again. We found a parking space almost straight off and there was no queue at teh ticket booth. Luck was on our side - hooray!.

We then realized that we had 2 minutes spare to catch the fast train so we ran for the overpass and got onto the right platform and thank the Lord, we made the train. I could not believe it. We literally left the library and got on our train within about 6 minutes. Unheard of for my parts. :D

We have recently done a promotion at work based on a TV show by the BBC called 'My Life in Books', where they have celebrities on and they pick 4 adult books and 1 children's book, and they discuss how this book has affected their life, or why it means something to them. So at the library we have hard cards out for people to fill in with their choices and then we request their books and display them, giving other people the chance to take them out.

It's quite hard though, just picking 4 books, especially since I read so many. So Joyce and I spent the train ride discussing which books we would choose and why. I added most of Joyce's picks to my 'To Be Read' pile. She has great taste.

My picks were:
- A Place Called Here by Cecelia Ahern
- The Complete Sherlock Holmes mysteries by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
- Study Series by Maria V Snyder

- Mrs Frisby & The Rats of Nimh by Robert C O'Brien was my choice for the children's book.

Comment below with what your picks would be.

Anyway, we arrived smoothly and headed straight to the Underground, one arrived within minutes and we were speeding off towards Leicester Square. (My goodness was it crowded on that tube train, Literally people piling in and squashing against you, so hot in there too) Luckily we were only in there for 4 stops.

We got off and climbed up the stairs, got our bearings and headed off for Foyles. to my intense surprise ( I expected to be late and sprinting towards the event) we had 15 minutes spare with which to find somewhere to eat. Cafe Rouge would take too long, McDonald's was in the opposite Direction, Subway had no seating, we started to get annoyed, everywhere was either busy, too far or not my taste. At last a couple of doors away from Foyles we found a little cafe that looked clean and friendly and we ordered.
After the quick sandwich and with about 1 minute spare we paid and left and made our way into Foyles.

Now for the excitement.

I love walking into Foyles, it's so big and it smells of knowledge and paper and adventure and, well, books!
Picture taken from Foyles website, drawn by Sarah McIntyre (I think). 
Click on picture to go to Foyles website. Image belongs to them.

We found a lift and went up to the 3rd Floor to the gallery, it was already buzzing with people and very hot. Joyce and I edged into the room, not sure where we had to 'sign in' but there were spaces free so they just waved us in without taking our names.

As I walked in I spotted Sarah McIntyre, (as you may know I met her at an event at my library back in February, I wrote a post about it here) but she was talking to someone, I then turned and spotted Steve Cole (again met him in Feb) he was also talking to someone so I slid in the room, however within seconds Steve had spotted me and called me over. *Fan Girl moment* he remembered me!!! How cool is that, I hoped he would, but I know he meets a lot of people so I was like "wicked", and it was so good to see him again. He gave me a big hug and I introduced him to Joyce and we got chatting. He was wearing a very cool T-Shirt too!

I then found a seat and got settled in. Minutes later Sarah spotted me and came over to say hi, again it was good to see her and we had a little chat. I was really looking forward to the event and could feel the buzz in the room.

Everyone soon got seated and the panel began.
Here is the description of teh evening from the website:

"In conjunction with the Society of Authors and the Kitschies Awards, this evening's panel celebrates progressive, intelligent and entertaining science fiction for readers of all ages. Travel with us into the world of tomorrow with authors Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre as your hosts, discussing the phenomenal rise of science fiction in Children's and Young Adult fiction, with special guests including Costa Children's Book Award-winning-author Moira Young, Steve Cole and Kim Lakin-Smith."

 I wasn't really sure what to expect but I knew it would be good. The authors were introduced, of course I knew Steve but Kim and Moira were knew to me, until I realized I had just requested Moira's book as this months read for my Teen Book Group - how cool is that!

I got a seat to the side, this was Philip Reeve introducing everyone. Sarah is the one nearest in the white boots, the Steve, then Kim, then Moira, then Philip.

The discussion was really interesting. All about he rise and fall of Sci-Fi, different trends and different ways Science Fiction has been branded to fit it. For example quite a bit of Dystopian has sci-fi tendencies, Steam-punk can be quite sci-fi orientated. They also looked at why Sci-Fi films were so popular but the books seemed to be a no go.
there were many aspects to the discussion and some great answers from the panel.
The discussion lasted about 45 minutes and then the floor was open for questions.

During this time I found out some of the other people in the audience - Patrick Ness was there (though I didn't get to say hello), and then Candy Gourlay (author of Tall Story) and Teri Terry author of Slated) were also there (they are members of SCBWI and I have spoken to them on Facebook.) They were both really nice, plus Joyce is a huge fan of Tall Story so she was in heaven there. It is nice to meet so many down to earth, helpful and friendly authors. so thanks ladies for making us feel welcome.

After the session, the authors left the room to go and get set up in another room to do book signings.

We then went out to look at the books so we could get some signed. I had promised myself I would just get one book, no more, but somehow I ended up with one for each author.
I got 'Blood Red Road' by Moira Young, 'Cyber Circus' by Kim Lakin-Smith, 'Queen Rat' by Kim Lakin-Smith (see I was caught up in the excitement I ended up with two by her, but never mind :P), 'Here Lies Arthur' by Philip Reeve, and a Astrosaurs book by Steve Cole as a present for my friend's children (slight nightmare that I wasn't sure how to spell their names, but yay I got it right in the end)

Philip and Moira together were a laugh and so easy to chat to, I had just started reading "Mortal Engines' by Reeve and told him how much I loved it, he seemed genuinely surprised - he's so modest. So everyone, let him know how awesome his books are!
Steve of course was fab, always have a laugh with him and Kim was a sweetheart too. Sarah did an awesome drawing of a pirate in Joyce's book and took some pictures of us. (hope she uploads them soon)

I got all my books signed and handed out some business cards with my blog details on, so hopefully you might see some of them featured on this blog in the future.

It was a great night and I managed to get some pictures taken.

Philip Reeve & Moira Young. :D they take a great pic!

This was me with Steve, Kim & Sarah. Steve said something to make me laugh just as the picture was taken hence my weird expression, but it was great. (see - I told you he had a cool t-shirt on!)

We then left the authors to finish their signing, we heard they had a restaurant booked for when they were done, so i didn't want to hold them up too long, possible the pub was calling too, I know that's where some of the other guests were going.

Joyce and I then had a quick mooch around the bookshop then headed for home. We didn't have to wait too long for a train (about 15 minutes) but it was a fast one so I was home by about 10:30.

It was a fab night. The discussion was awesome and I got a lot from it, I came away inspired and intrigued. To be honest i never considered myself as a 'Sci-Fi' fan, as they said during the night 'gadgets and gizmo's' are a common feature, but it can be so much more.

Thanks to Philip and Sarah for hosting such a great night, and to them and all the guests for taking so much time to talk to all their fans.  

If you made it through all that, well done. Think I may have woffled a bit there but never mind.
And if you just skimmed and looked at the pictures, I won't tell or be offended - promise! :D

 The only downside to all this was that I woke up on Wednesday and was really sick for most of the day, I don't know if it was food poisoning form the cafe we went to, or just a bug that seems to be going around. I don't suppose I will ever know. I hope if it was a bug that I didn't spread it to anyone else. 
That's why this write up is so late. But better late than never right.
Look out for my next 'Stacking the Shelves' video as I will show all the books and the autographs in them ;D

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