Last night was the very eagerly awaited Spring Blogger Evening, hosted by Team Books and The City. I received my invite to this event back in January so I was very very excited to be attending! I posted a blog BEFORE the event which can be found here.
Yesterday morning, I dropped the children to school and left instructions for my husband on how to operate the children – I decided not to leave instructions for the hoover, I thought that would be pushing my luck! – and I headed off to catch the train with my friend. We have had glorious Spring sunshine all week so, of course, yesterday was grey and overcast! The train to London was very busy but we filled the time chatting and eating sweets! When we arrived in London, we dropped our bags off at the hotel and headed straight for Covent Garden for Lunch (we may or may not have had a glass of prosecco*) followed by a walk around the shops. It was lovely to just mooch with no children.
After freshening up, we strolled down to the offices of Simon & Schuster and parted company for a few hours (the Blogger event is strictly bloggers only!). In reception, us bloggers met up – some old acquaintances were renewed and new friendships made – and we eagerly awaited our fate! There was much discussion about the weather, shopping, cake and, of course, books! We had all seen that Sara-Jade Virtue (SJ) from Team BaTC had tweeted that proofs had arrived for Holly Hepburn & Paige Toon’s new books a few hours earlier and there was speculation in the room that we may all receive a copy! We had also seen tweeted pictures of the lovely cupcakes that were waiting for us, along with our goody bags! We were like a room of 6yr olds on Christmas Eve!
Finally, we were ushered upstairs and all had a coffee/tea/juice and some cheese straws before being allowed into the main room. The lovely authors entered “the lair” accompanied by Clare Hey, Editorial Director for Simon & Schuster . SJ introduced everyone on the panel – as always, generating lots of laughs from the audience – and told us that, this year, we had to wait until the end to get our goody bags! Apparently, we squealed too much last year at the sight of them!! ha ha! We were told that each author would read from their latest books – which we would all receive a copy of in our bags!! YES!! – and then were would be a Q&A.
First up was Juliet Ashton whose book These Days of Ours is available now on eBook and is out on paperback from 7th April. Juliet’s book is a “A novel about love. Raw important love. Small, beautiful love. And what happens when the person you love cannot be yours…”. The chapter we heard was brilliantly funny and I can’t wait to read this. It will be the first of the four books from the event I will read/blog as it comes out first!
Secondly, Holly Hepburn read an extract from her new novella Summer at the Star and Sixpence – this is the 2nd (and a half) instalment of the series about two sisters who inherit a run down country pub. There’s love, village life and hot Blacksmiths….! Perfect! Holly’s chapter was also brilliant, and she stopped just before it got a little racy, I think! It’s out on 25th April, on eBook format and I’m looking forward to reading it!
Next up was the lovely Paige Toon whose book is her 10th! This book is a story about 3 identical triplet sisters who all look exactly alike but that is where the likeness ends! The book is called The One We Fell in Love With and Paige told us it’s the first time she’s written from more than one female perspective. We were read the Prologue and O…M….G I can not wait to read this one either! It’s out on eBook and Paperback on 19th May.
Last, and by no means least, we heard Penny Parkes reading from Out of Practice which is out on eBook on 23rd May, and paperback 28th July. The description of this book is “Out of Practice is based around a large country medical practice, which proves to be a hotbed of rivalry, resentment and romance – and that’s just the doctors. Think James Herriot meets House”. Penny read us the first chapter and it sounds BRILLIANT! I can not wait to get to this one! She also mentioned a picture she had tweeted earlier of the inspiration for “dishy doctor Dan” which got us all whispering, well (I’m sure she won’t mind me sharing the tweet)……
Once all of the authors had read, Clare did the Q&A and fantastically asked questions that were relevant to all four books – mainly about friendship, sisterhood and hot men! All four ladies were really funny and engaging and I would love to sit and have a glass of wine and chat with them all, they would have you in stitches (although I would worry about appearing in one of their books….). At around 7.30, we were released back into “the holding room” for a cupcake and a glass of champagne (we had all heard the corks popping!) and were then told to form an orderly queue to go back in to pick up our goody bags and get our books signed. Joining the panel of four was also writer, Georgia Clark who has a book out in the Summer and who had flown in especially for the evening. We all received a chapter sampler of her book in our goody bags, which Georgia signed for us!
The authors were all lovely and really chatty as they signed the books. They had all seen my earlier blog post and all commented on it. Penny (I think, or maybe Paige) commented that I had been organised to get it written at 7am – I did point out that I wrote it last week and had scheduled the post! All four of the authors recognised me from Twitter and it was lovely to chat with them all.
Books signed, goody bag in hand, I had a quick chat (and hug) with SJ and managed a quick catch up with the lovely Clare Hey and her gang back in “the holding room” – mainly about books that make us cry, and about how jealous Clare feels of anyone who hasn’t yet read Iona Grey‘s lovely book Letters to the Lost – jealous because they get that first read magic! We also all agreed that we would love to go on a cruise with Milly Johnson!
I’d like to say a massive THANK YOU to the team at Books and the City for once again inviting me to the blogger event. I really hope I behaved well enough to be invited back next year – it is my favourite book event of the year!