Talking ghosts and meeting friends at the Oxford Literary Festival

It’s the Oxford Literary Festival, hurrah! And I popped in on Saturday and Sunday last weekend. On the Saturday, I did a mini event in the Blackwells festival bookshop, talking about Looking at the Stars and teaching anyone who wanted to have a go how to make 3D paper stars. It was lovely to see Dan Hartwell, Jackie Marchant and MG Harris there and to meet Paula Harrison for the first time! I even had time for a coffee and a chat with the amazing Mel from Little Star Writing who was down for the afternoon to run a sold-out writing workshop.

Blackwells festival marquee - thanks to Hannah and James for organising and Ben for helping on the day!
Blackwells festival marquee – thanks to Hannah and James for organising the mini events and Ben for helping on the day!

Then on Sunday I went along to hear Dave Shelton and Jonathan Stroud talk about writing spooky stories. Cas Lester and I got there in time to chat to John Dougherty, who had just finished his Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face event, and then we sat squarely on the front row for Dave and Jonathan’s event…sorry guys!

Cas, John and me. Thanks to OUP for the photo
Cas, John and me. Thanks to OUP for the photo

I have raved about Jonathan’s Lockwood & Co books here before – Book 1 and Book 2 – and it was brilliant to finally meet him in person. Book 3 is due out in Sep and I can’t WAIT. Book 2 ended with an AWESOME cliffhanger…! Dave was talking about his new book 13 Chairs, which has THE most stylish cover:

13 chairs

I have to confess though that I bought his comic strip book Good Dog Bad Dog for my daughter instead – and she’s loving it!

I love hearing other authors talk about how they write. No two people do it the same way, and when I joined in a Twitter chat last night (#ukyachat) I was completely stumped when asked to give a writing tip. Honestly, it’s one of the hardest things to do! Because what works for one won’t necessarily work for another. One of the girls in the audience asked how to flesh out her story because she was good at creating the overall plot structure but couldn’t then expand it. Jonathan and Dave said they wished they had her problem, and John D and I agreed too! For some of us, trying to make the plot work when you’ve started off with a great idea is the hardest part!

Dave Shelton, John Dougherty, me, Cas Lester, Jonathan Stroud
Dave Shelton, John Dougherty, me, Cas Lester, Jonathan Stroud

I’m back at the festival this weekend for three events and a dinner on Saturday which should be lots of fun. Will take my camera!

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