2016 was another year filled with bookish adventures. Book launches, author talks, literary festivals and parties. There were lots and lots.
2016 was also a year of change for me. I left my full-time job, took the summer off and then took a part-time job at the local Hospice. I've also started to do some freelance work for a couple of small publishers. This meant that finances have been depleted somewhat, so lots of exciting invitations had to be declined. The train fare to London from Lincolnshire can be horrific, depending on when I travel, and a two-hour book event can turn into twelve hours away from home when travel is included.
However, I did go to some fabulous events last year, usually in London, but there were some great things in the North too
January was very quiet but ended with a bang! Nina and I attended the The TroubleWith Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon launch party, hosted by The Borough Press in The News Building at London Bridge.
I've been bleating (see what I did there??!) on about this book for more than a year now. It's absolutely wonderful and this was a great party. I met up with lots of authors and publicists that I hadn't seen for ages, and met lots of people for the first time too.
Joanna's speech was beautiful and heartfelt, there wasn't a dry eye in the house!
February was a very exciting month. I was thrilled to have a ticket for the Rooftop Book Club event featuring Maggie O Farrell and Monica Wood.
The Rooftop Book Club is run by Headline and takes place in their very posh head office. I'd already read Maggie O Farrell's latest book This Must Be The Place, I'd been lucky enough to have a very early review copy and it was a fascinating evening.
Both authors were entertaining and so interesting to listen to, the authors were interviewed by Hannah Beckerman. It really was a fabulous night.
Also in February, I finally met one of my favourite crime authors, Sarah Hilary. Sarah writes the
I spent an interesting afternoon listening to Sarah talk about the writing process, her characters and answer some really good questions from the audience.
Worksop Library hosts some fabulous book events throughout the year. It's a beautiful, modern library with a great coffee shop too. Lots of proper coffee and home-made cakes to be had!
The following week I was down in London again, this time for the launch party for The Ballroom by Anna Hope, at Goldsboro Books on Cecil Court.
The Ballroom was published by Transworld and is Anna's second novel, it's a fabulous read. I'd really recommend it. Nina, Jenny and I had a great time at this party. There was LOTS of wine, and I was more than a little bit giddy. Again, there were lots of authors, bloggers and publicists to meet up with.
I do love Goldsboro Books, it's the perfect place for a launch party and full of the most wonderful books too.
The end of February found me back at Goldsboro Books once again. This time for the launch of the hardback edition of the amazing In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings.
In Her Wake was published by Orenda Books and there were special limited edition hardbacks stocked by Goldsboro. I'd had mine on pre-order for a long time, it was fabulous to finally hold it in my hands and to get it signed and dedicated by Amanda.
This was another great party, with heartfelt speeches and again, lots of wine. Karen Sullivan is well known for her wonderful cup cakes, and there were plenty of them. Another fabulous party!
The second weekend in March was really special. It was Martin's birthday, and we'd been invited to the launch of The Finding of Martha Lost by Caroline Wallace.
I've known Caroline for a long time, and Martha is a wonderfully special book. We decided that we'd go to the launch and stay overnight in Liverpool.
We had a fabulous time. Both of us fell completely in love with Liverpool, the weather was gorgeous, the people were friendly and there was so much to see and do, we could have easily stayed for a few more days.
The launch party was held in Watestone's and it was a special night, with so many fans there to celebrate this wonderful book.
There was cake, and wine and badges, and readings, and lots of magic.
The following weekend, Martin and I went off to Nottingham to the Bromley House Library.
Crime Author Daniel Pembrey was hosting an event with John Harvey and asked if we would like to attend. Although I was brought up in Nottinghamshire and spent time in Nottingham when I studied there, I had never been to the Bromley House Library before. What a wonderful, beautiful place it is! Hidden away between a takeaway and a charity shop on a busy Nottingham street, it's an oasis for book lovers.
John Harvey was really interesting to listen to, and Daniel was a great host.
Here's a video snippet from the interview:
April was my all-change month, I started a new job and quit a new job, it was a tough time and book events had to take a back seat.
Lindum Books in Lincoln.
I'm a huge fan of Lindum Books, it's a fabulous little bookshop, run by true booklovers.
I was delighted to hear that Rebecca Mascull would be visiting for an author event, and booked my ticket early. Rebecca was joined by author Katherine Clements. The event was really interesting, such a fascinating insight into the life of these two wonderfully talented authors of historical fiction.
The following week I was in London again. This time for the Orenda Roadshow at Waterstone's Piccadilly.
I've been a big supporter of Karen Sullivan and Orenda Books from day one. Karen is one of the most enthusiastic publishers I've ever come across, she has endless energy and always seems to be smiling. The Roadshow event was a big one for Orenda.
Each of the Orenda authors read from their books, and gave a little insight into their work. It was a busy evening and sadly, I had to rush off early to catch my train so didn't get a chance to do more than wave at people across the room!
My last event in May, and just before I headed off to Corfu for two weeks was at Worksop Library once again. The Baileys Prize for Fiction Shortlist Evening; a panel event celebrating the best in women's writing, led by Derbyshire author Sarah Ward. Sarah was joined by Megan Taylor; Nottingham based author of How We Were Lost.
There was some fabulous discussion and debate during this evening, the audience at Worksop is always lively and there were lots of questions raised.
The jury was out about who should win the Baileys Prize though!
I didn't have any more book events until the beginning of June. Another local event this time, Martin and I went to the Books in the Castle Festival in Newark.
This could be a fabulous event, but sadly, the organisers don't seem to advertise it at all. They manage to attract some amazing authors, and the location is perfect, but there was absolutely no local marketing at all. People that I know that actually live in Newark had heard nothing about the event at all.
We had tickets for the 'Murder She Wrote' crime fiction talk with Sarah Ward and Rebecca Bradley, hosted by Nick Quantrill. Sadly, Rebecca was ill and unable to attend, but Nick and Sarah kept the conversation flowing nicely. There were very few of us in the audience, so it turned into a very nice and entertaining cosy chat!
The end of July brought wonderful sunshine and one of the best weekends of the year. Finally, I got to the Theakstons Crime Festival in Harrogate. I'd heard so much about Harrogate over the past few years and I'd promised myself that I would get there. Martin and I drove up on Saturday morning and stayed until Sunday afternoon.
We spent most of our time on the lawn, mingling with other bloggers and some of my favourite authors. People I'd met before, people I was meeting for the first time, it really was such a great couple of days.
On Saturday we were guest at the Blogger's Brunch, hosted by Sam Eades from Trapeze Books and we were joined by fabulous crime authors including Mason Cross, Daniel Cole and Harry Bingham.
We laughed, a lot. We drank, a lot. We had an amazing time. Harrogate is such a treat, I can't wait until the next one.
A Sunday morning in August, we drove over to Waterstone's in Doncaster as Claire King was holding an author signing event.
I'd recently read and loved Claire's latest book Everything Love Is, and had been in contact with her via Social Media for a while.
It was lovely to finally meet her and to get a gorgeous hardback copy, signed and dedicated to me.
I was delighted to be invited to join the newly formed Mantle Book Group. Mantle is an imprint of Pan MacMillan and I really love their list. I'd recently read Miss You by Kate Eberlen and loved it (it went on to be in my Top Books of 2016 list), so I was delighted to find out that the first meeting would be a discussion about Miss You.
We met in a lovely bar in Soho which served the most amazing Rose slushies! I have NEVER had an alcoholic slushie before in my life, but oh my goodness, these are amazing. I could easily have drunk four or five, or six!
We had a great discussion about Miss You, we talked about our favourite characters, the plot and also about the cover and marketing. It was fascinating, funny and great fun.
I'm looking forward to our next meeting in March.
Lindum Books, held at the Drill Hall in Lincoln.
Afternoon tea with Jessie Burton; author of The Miniaturist and more recently, The Muse.
It was a very hot afternoon and the event was sold out completely.
I've heard Jessie Burton speak before, and really enjoy her writing. She's sparkling, witty and her conversation was really fascinating.
We were treated to a lovely afternoon tea, with delicate sandwiches, cream scones and cake, and tea in china cups and saucers!
In October I went to the Reader's Day in Sheffield Town Hall, part of the Off The Shelf Festival of Words. The Festival of Words has been running in Sheffield for many years. I've been to lots of one-off events in the past, but had never attended a Reader's Day before.
It was a great line-up of authors, with Jenn Ashworth, Cath Staincliffe, Linda Green and Conor
It was a whole afternoon of author talks and readings, in a really lovely central venue.
There was a very large audience, with lots of laughter and lively debate.
The following week I was in London again, this time for the launch of The Bird Tribunal by Agnes Ratavn, published by Orenda Books.
The launch was hosted by the Ambassador of Norwey, at her residence in London. What a fabulous venue!
I've never walked down that road before, it is awesome and overlooks Kensington Palace. The houses are huge and splendid.
The Ambassador's residence is a beautiful building and their welcome was so warm and friendly.
Again, I met up with lots of authors and bloggers, and drank wine!
At the beginning of November I was in Worksop yet again.
This event was the Book Writers Love: Crime Writer Panel. Hosted by Sarah Ward, she was talking to Helen Cadbury and Michael Wood.
They were talking about the books that they love, and the event was linked to the BBC's #LoveToRead weekend.
The aim of #LoveToRead is to inspire readers to read something new.
This was another enjoyable event, in the gorgeous coffee bar of Worksop Library. I'm really looking forward to seeing what Worksop has in store for book lovers in 2017.
Later in November I was back to London for the launch party for The Last Days of Leda Grey by Essie Fox.
This was held in the Cinema Museum in south London. Although it took Nina and I an age to find the venue, when we got there we were amazed by how wonderful it was!
Packed with cinema memorabilia, it really was the perfect place to launch the book.
It was a huge party, packed with authors and publishers, bloggers and friends and family of Essie.
Wonderful music and film was the backdrop to the party, with masses of fizz and food.
We had a ball!
So, that was 2016! I didn't go to any events in December as I was busy with work and the festive season was almost upon us.
However, I have LOADS of invitations to lots of exciting bookish events for 2017 already. I only wish I could go to them all!