Spring bloggers’ event

I have been meaning to post this for a few weeks now but sadly, life has got in the way – or more to the point, Uni has!

Recently, I was invited to attend the Spring Bloggers event for “Books & the City”, hosted by Sara-Jade Virtue (@bookminxsjv on twitter).

We were told to arrive at 5.30 for a 6pm start for an evening of books, cake and fizz – possibly 3 of my favourite things! eek! I couldn’t wait! I took my sister along as well – I didn’t fancy a 3hr trek to London with over night stay on my own.

The event was held on St Patrick’s Day at Simon & Schuster headquarters in London. We arrived, signed in and went upstairs where we were given name badges and shown to the “holding area” for a cup of tea and some chocolate biscuits – the organisers know us bloggers well! The room was buzzing with anticipation and there were a few people who had met before who were catching up. In this room, we all shared a common love….books!!  Just after 6pm, we were ushered into the main room (it was delayed slightly as one of the authors was running late due to being at his “proper job”!)

In the room were rows of chairs, each with a goodie bag on, and at the front of the room was a long table with chairs for the speakers. To the right of the room was a looooooong table piled high with books! I saw a few I hadn’t seen before and i was instantly drawn to them. We took our seats and in walked the guests.


Some of the books we were allowed to "help ourselves" to!
Some of the books we were allowed to “help ourselves” to!

Sara-Jade introduced us to Clare Hey (Clareaux), who is Editorial Director, and she introduced us to our speakers – the authors Jane Costello (@JaneCostello), Iona Grey (@Iona_Grey), Milly Johnson (@MillyJohnson), Andy Jones (@AndyJonesAuthor) and Newly signed author and fellow blogger Heidi Swain (@Heidi_Swain).  The format of the evening was that each author read us a chapter of their latest book – which is actually rather bizarre as they read them differently to how you read them in your head (it’s like the first time you watch the animation of the Gruffalo when the characters don’t sound the same way you say them when you read to your kids) – then after each reading, Clare interviewed them about their book before moving onto the next author. When all 5 had spoken, we went to a Q&A from us bloggers. At the end we could meet and talk to the authors and have our photos taken and books signed and that’s when we had the fizz, cakes and buffet.  It sounded perfect! The only *slightly* distracting thing was that before it started, Sara-Jade told us that we could help ourselves to the books on the table at the end. That is ALL i could think about for about 5 minutes!!

Jane Costello went first – her new book (The Love Shack, out 23rd April) sounds fab. It’s about a couple who are trying to buy their first house and move in with the in-laws to save up. The story sounds very comical – the excerpt Jane read was about one of their house viewings. Very funny! I have requested a pre-release review copy of this book but was turned down (sad face!) so I have pre-ordered it on Amazon instead.

Next up was Iona Grey. The book is called “Letters to the lost” and is also released on 23rd April (again, turned down for a pre-release review copy!). The story is a love story which flips between World War Two and the present day. It sounds breathtakingly romantic and sad in equal measures and I can not wait to read this one – with a big box of tissues! My sister wanted to pick this as her book club choice but it’s not going to be out in time! One of the things Iona picks up on is that no one sends letters any more. The history of someone’s life and relationships are no longer preserved in this modern age of email (although i think Andy Jones has bagsied the idea of a book where someone discovers someone’s hard drive 30yrs from now….)

That leads us very nicely on to Andy Jones. I read his book “The Two of us” (Out now on Kindle) in February and reviewed it here. It’s a fab book and it was really lovely to hear Andy read it. No matter how much he tries to deny it, Andy is Fisher!!

Heidi Swain followed Andy, her debut book “The Cherry Tree Cafe” is out on 16th July and sounds just my sort of thing. Heidi was discovered after a competition run by Books & the City where they invited budding writers to submit manuscripts on one day only. I wish Heidi luck with her publication.

And then we finished with the lovely Milly Johnson – who is so funny! Her book – “Afternoon Tea at the Sunflower Cafe” – is out on 18th June and promises to be another laugh out loud, tear jerking emotional roller coaster! Perfect! Milly was distracted during her interview by the popping of corks which meant that all of us suddenly had our attention focussed elsewhere! haha!

Milly Johnson signed my copy of "White Wedding"
Milly Johnson signed my copy of “White Wedding”

The evening ended with a mad scramble for books!! There were plenty to go around! With the exception of the Milly Johnson books, I took a copy of every book on the table (and accidentally picked up duplicates of some which I have given to my mum).

It was a fantastic evening – I met some lovely authors who have made me excited about their new books, and I came away with lots more books to add to my “to read” pile!

My 3 bags full of books!
My 3 bags full of books!
The contents of the goody bag
The contents of the goody bag
My book haul! This seemed like a good idea until I had to lug them across London on the tube the next day!
My book haul! This seemed like a good idea until I had to lug them across London on the tube the next day!

Thanks Sara-Jade for inviting us and we look forward to the next one.

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