Fun events in Hertford and Banbury

Events are like buses. I wait around for ages, and then two come along on the same weekend! On Saturday morning, I was talking at the very comfy and friendly Leaf Cafe in Hertford, as part of the Hertford Children’s Book Festival. Many thanks to Rebecca Pirt and the Festival organisers for inviting me along!

I read from Star Crossed - the scene where the characters see their Romeo and Juliet costumes for the first time, and Mari faces the Enormous Padded Bra
I read from Star Crossed – the scene where the characters see their Romeo and Juliet costumes for the first time, and Mari faces the Enormous Padded Bra

It was a really lovely cosy event, with a very attentive audience and a couple of familiar faces too. One of them was Tamsyn Murray, a fellow author and friend, who took photos and tweeted the event – thanks Tamsyn! I was also filmed throughout (from front AND back – eek. Does my bum look big in this, I wonder?) so I’ll post a link to the video if/when it appears…maybe!

The Leaf Cafe is part bookshop, part cafe, which, to my mind, is possibly the best idea EVER. I mean, books AND cake – it’s a winning combination!

I also, whilst signing at the end, met the highly motivated and cool Mango Bubbles Boy (no, that’s not really his name!) who has set up his own book review blog. You can find it here. Massive kudos to him for starting it, and I hope it does really well and gets lots of visitors – do go check it out and leave him and his reviewers a comment!

Me and Mango Bubbles Boy!
Me and Mango Bubbles Boy!

On Sunday, I took part in Banbury Literary Live, a brilliant idea for a one-day books and arts festival. There were events all day, aimed at kids, teens and adults, as well as performances from local musicians and youth groups of all kinds. Last year there was a dance group performing on the big steps; this year I saw (in passing) drumming, singing and theatrical performances!

My event started late because the 20-minute Shakespeare was running late (I didn’t mind! We all bow down before Shakespeare!) but when I got going, I had a WHALE of a time. A group of sparky, bright, enthusiastic and interested teens who were all totally brilliant. Thanks to all of you for making it such fun! And I’m sorry I can’t be your English teacher 😉

I tell one of my earliest stories: 'Chismas', written at the age of 5. Not sure why I'm doing a dinosaur impression.
I tell one of my earliest stories: ‘Chismas’, written at the age of 5. Not sure why I’m doing a dinosaur impression.

The lovely and highly talented Teri Terry came to my event and I returned the favour as she was on after me. Always so nice to be able to go to other authors’ events, because usually we tend to exist in a bit of a vacuum. Teri talked about the inspirations behind her trilogy: Slated, Fractured and Shattered, and it was fascinating. I met Michelle Harrison too, though she’d already done her event by the time I got there. Her book, One Wish, has a beautiful cover and sounds intriguing.

Teri Terry, me and Michelle Harrison
Teri Terry, me and Michelle Harrison

I love doing events. I don’t do them very often, and I’m always exhausted afterwards, but it reminds me just how much fun it is to perform. I like talking to really big crowds, but I also love the smaller groups where you can properly get to know your audience members. A big thanks to Chloe and Cody, my minders at Banbury, and to the organisers there for inviting me along for a second year. And the biggest thanks of all to Aaron-who-prefers-Tyrone, who made my event extra-specially interactive and who was wearing the best trousers I’ve ever seen on an actor playing Malvolio!

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