A few weeks ago I finally got the chance to go to NYA Lit Fest. They’ve already put on two events last year, but unfortunately I was working during both. This time, I got organised and booked it off months in advance, and made my way over to Preston early in the morning with Lauren, Beth, Amy and Luchia.
Months after booking my ticket, and after a few weeks of planning and speculating, Thursday the 23rd November rolled around – the day of Sarah J. Maas’s event in Manchester. To make it even more special, it had recently been announced that Charlie Bowater, the artist behind the Tower of Dawn map (and some of my all time favourite ACOTAR series fan art) would be joining Sarah for the event.
So I feel like I haven’t blogged in forever (and I’m pretty sure I’ve done barely any blog posts since we made the move over here to wordpress) but as some of you might have seen, not only have I had a lot going on with work and going on holiday, but the weekend before last, I went to YALC for the first time! I’ve planned a few YALC related posts which I’ll be posting over the next couple of weeks, but I thought I’d start off with something simple – my highlights of the weekend.
(Sorry in advance for the quality of the photo’s in this post – they’re all just quick snaps I took on my phone during the weekend!)
1. Meeting authors
So of course, one of my big highlights of YALC was getting to meet so many wonderful authors! Amongst others, I met and spoke to Alwyn Hamilton, Ryan Graudin, Samantha Shannon, Holly Bourne, Virginia Bergin, Hayley Barker, Alice Broadway, Elizabeth May, Lauren James, Laura Steven, Chloe Seager, I met Laini Taylor once again, and to top it all off, V. E. Schwab. All of them were so lovely and so willing to chat and take photos, despite their hugely busy schedules. A lot of the authors were often wandering around as well, so it was easy enough to talk to them even if you didn’t have much time during their signings.
2. Spending the weekend with some blogger friends So since we all went to Laini Taylor’s Liverpool event together in April, myself, Amy, Lauren and Beth have been meeting up for other bookish events, book shopping or just for catch ups, and I’m so glad I was able to spend YALC with them and also with Lauren, who we met for the first time at YALC and who fit into our little group instantly! I couldn’t have asked for better people to spend my first YALC with!
3. Meeting other bloggers Another big highlight for me, after we got over general social awkwardness (and also ignoring the difficulty of working out who people are just from their twitter photos) was meeting so many other bloggers who I’ve followed for so long! I’m quite a socially anxious person, but at a place like YALC, you’re never going to be the only one who feels that way and aren’t judged for it at all.
4. Meeting Two Candle Thieves fans So I’d been advertising on our Two Candle Thieves accounts that I’d be giving out goodie bags throughout the weekend, and thankfully, people did come and find me to get these bags (I was so nervous that I’d end up taking them all home with me because no one would want them!). My anxiety over this was lessened after meeting Charnell (@reviews_from_a_bookworm on instagram) on the first day – she came over to me in the queue and told me she loved our candles, which made me feel so much better! I also met Kasia (@kashpoint) who’d previously bought our Six of Crows stickers and stuck them onto the case she had with her!
5. Swag and ARC’s
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy picking up so many freebees! To be honest, one of the big highlights for me was the amount of badges and pins given out – I love adding badges to everything so getting my hands on more was never going to be a bad thing. Although I did manage to grab quite a few ARC’s that I’m really excited to read, I was quite disappointed with the way that a lot of them were given away (mostly involving running to the publisher’s stand and the first one there/first one to perform a certain dance move etc won it) however, I’ll be talking about that more in detail in one of my later posts.
Overall, I really did have an amazing weekend at YALC, despite the minor setbacks throughout the weekend. Keep an eye out for more posts about it over the next few weeks!
So we’ve gone a bit quiet again recently, partly due to the opening of our store, Two Candle Thieves, and also as Angharad’s away at the moment and I’m just finishing up with my degree. Hopefully once the last of my assignments are submitted and Angharad’s finished gallivanting about in the south of England, we’ll be posting more frequently again!
Today’s post is a bit different from anything we’ve done before (partly because we’ve never attended book signings before – unless you count the Jacqueline Wilson event I went to when I was 12…) but anyway – I thought I’d share a bit about the Laini Taylor event I went to in Liverpool a few days ago!
As soon as I saw that Laini was touring the UK, I knew I had to be at one of her events – I’ve absolutely loved her writing ever since I read Daughter of Smoke and Bone around five years ago, and I had been waiting to read Strange the Dreamer ever since I heard that she was writing a new novel. Unfortunately, Laini wasn’t visiting Manchester on this tour, so after considering the three nearest event stops to me, I decided to attend the event at Waterstones in Liverpool – I’ve been to Liverpool many times for photography work, and as I was anxious enough about going to a bookish event for the first time (and on my own) I wanted to be in a city that I was fairly familiar with!
Luckily, I ended up not having to go to the event alone, and met up with Amy (www.amyjanealice.com), Lauren (www.northernplunder.blogspot.co.uk), and Beth (www.iambookmad.com), three fellow Manchester-based book bloggers. I’m usually an awkward mess when meeting new people, but these three are so lovely and it was so great to meet some book lovers who live close to me! So after travelling to Liverpool and grabbing some food, we got to Waterstones, and I couldn’t have been more excited.
There was a little talk and Q&A – Laini spoke about how Strange the Dreamer was originally Sarai’s story, called the Muse of Nightmares, but Lazlo just kept coming back to her, and so the first book in the series became his story. I’m so glad she chose to write the book this way, as I have to admit, Lazlo is definitely my current bookish crush. I feel as though I should have taken notes during the talk (as a few other people there were) so I could remember it all better, but I was just so awestruck that I didn’t even think to do so!
One interesting link between Strange the Dreamer and Daughter of Smoke and Bone was the mention of being impaled on spikes – this is at the very beginning of Strange the Dreamer (so no spoilers here, don’t worry!) and mentioned briefly in Daughter of Smoke and Bone (about Czech nationalists attempting a rebellion against the Nazis, and subsequently being impaled on a gate surrounding the building that had become Karou’s art school). Laini hadn’t actually noticed this link until it was brought up but assured us all that she doesn’t have a phobia of being impaled on a gate.
After the talk, we queued up for the signing – the four of us were panicking a bit about getting the train back, but the lovely Waterstones staff moved us closer to the front of the queue (with the help of a very kind man who let us cut in front of him – if you’re somehow reading this, big thanks to you!!). It got to my turn to speak to Laini, and I was honestly so nervous! I got up and handed her my books and mumbled some rubbish about how it was my first book signing, I was sorry that I’d brought so many books with me to be signed, and some other nonsense. Laini was such a lovely person though! I also gave her one of our Welcome to Weep candles and got a photo with her (below). We were all given two Strange the Dreamer moth temporary tattoos, which are so pretty that I can’t bring myself to actually use them and have stuck them on my bookcase instead!
I do feel as though I was such a puddle of awkwardness, but hopefully next time I’ll be less nervous now that I know what to expect from author signings and events a bit more. I’m really hoping to somehow be able to attend YALC this year, and if I do I’ll get to meet Laini again which would be amazing!