Tuesday, 8 February 2011

A visit to Simon & Schuster

On Thursday 3rd February I joined a positive horde of bloggers in visiting S&S Towers. We were invited by the ever wonderful Ally Glynn after the success of the first S&S event, which I thoroughly enjoyed. This time around we had a Q&A with seven very cool S&S authors: Sophie McKenzie, Milly Johnson, Michelle Harrison, Kevin J Andersen, Helen Warner, Justin Somper and Craig Robertson. Prior to the event Ally had very generously sent out copies of books by these authors and I had managed to read a few of them - which meant I was very excited to meet Michelle and just a little apprehensive about meeting Milly!

The Q&A was just fantastic - we had submitted a number of questions for the authors to answer and they were quizzed on a variety of matters, both specific to their own books/series and general questions to the panel. I was particularly interested in their answers to particular writing processes and quirks, since each author works in such a completely different manner. For instance, Helen Warner works on her commute only - as soon as she gets on the train, her laptop is open. Kevin J Andersen records his story as he strides Colorado trails and then has it typed up afterwards. Justin Somper plans religiously, while Milly Johnson has a start point and an end point, and enjoys the journey in between. It was absolutely fascinating receiving these insights, and learning that writing really is an individual exercise - do whatever works for you!

After the Q&A we were free to mingle in the BOOK ROOM:

All photos are courtesy of Sarah

All the authors were fantastically approachable and once again Ally had provided bags and books for us to stea.....ah, liberate. A few of us bloggers were even sneaked into the building to take from shelves. I can never get over the extreme generosity of publishers with their books - they're so enthusiastic and want us to read their babies!

Speaking of babies... Like I said, I was a little apprehensive about meeting Milly after the review I had provided, but she was an absolute saint about it. She described it rather as being protective of her babies when authors read reviews, so a negative review will always cut deeply. I have to say, I was so impressed by Milly - she was graceful, told me never to apologise for my own opinions, and was very complimentary about the fact I had also included a link to a positive review in my own review. She couldn't have made it easier for me, and I think that is brilliant.

Me and Milly having a chat about reviewing!

I also welcomed the opportunity to have a chat with Kevin J Andersen about the many, many, many books he has written! And I got very shy around Michelle Harrison who, as well as being talented, is utterly gorgeous in the flesh - she signed copies of her books for me and showed me the adorable charm bracelet created to celebrate her series.

It was also ace to talk to Justin Somper - we've been in touch via email before now, but this was my first chance to actually chat to him. I managed to cheekily ask for the books I didn't have in his Vampirates series (I had the first one and most recent one) and Justin signed them all for me. I'm most of the way through the first and thoroughly enjoying it - review to follow soon!

Me and Justin!

And, of course, this wouldn't be a blogger event without lots of delightful chat about books - what we've enjoyed, what we haven't, discussions we've had about the process of reviewing. I glory in it. It is the one place you realise that you really aren't alone, stuck behind a keyboard, sending you words out into the ether. There are other people with similar attitudes and it's awesome!

A bevy of bloggers!

So, thanks just remain: massive thanks to all seven authors for giving up their time and talking so extensively about their writing lives and their books. And thanks to the main lady, Ally Glynn, for the invitation. I sincerely look forward to seeing everyone again!


  1. Awesome! Great pics too. Glad you had a fab couple of days :D

  2. Sounds like you had a fab time!!

  3. Great write up, it was such a fun event wasn't it :o) I'm glad you liked the pics & thanks for including my link. I'm so jealous that you managed to get the entire Vampirates series signed!!! I only had books 1 & 5 with me as my others are in boxes & I couldn't find them :o(

  4. Sounds awesome! Glad you had such a lovely time, and great to see all the pictures.