This Saturday I was in blisteringly hot Derby for the achingly cool EdgeLit 2. Above you can see a photo of me trying to look like I know what I’m talking about on the “Where Next for Fantasy Fiction?” panel (mainly that involved nodding at everything Adrian Tchaikovsky said). With thanks to Annie Catling for kind use of the photo!
It was a strange and slightly nerve-wracking day for me. I’ve been involved in talks on a smaller scale before – I sat in on a podcast/interview on steampunk at Alt.Fiction – but I’ve not really participated properly in a panel, particularly not one where you’re actually sitting on a little stage and have to hold a microphone and such. I did have a sense, sitting next to Adrian Tchaikovsky, Anne Lyle, Gav Thorpe and Freda Warrington – all writers with a number of books under their belts and well-deserved respect within the community – that I might be slightly out of my depth. I’m a debut author who hasn’t even debuted yet, after all. But I muddled through, largely thanks to my lovely panel colleagues who were very supportive and kind, and I managed to drop in a reference to Mass Effect*, so job done.
In the afternoon I had another panel, this time “How has the Internet Changed Writing?” with a trio of excellent chaps: Adam Christopher, Emma Newman and Andrew Hook. This time I felt a little more at ease, as I know Adam and Emma of old, of course, and Andrew, it turned out, had done a fabulous job of planning the panel so the whole thing had quite a natural structure. And let’s face it, I can talk about the internet all day with hardly any prompting at all.
Once I’d sweated my way through the panels I could relax a bit and have a few icy ciders. EdgeLit, like AltFiction, is a cosy convention with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, and as ever it was marvellous simply to hang around the bar and café area, bumping into people and catching up. I went to Mike Carey’s reading, which turned out to be a little slice of awesome, and then spoke to him afterwards about Studio Ghibli films, of all things. I had dinner with Adam Christopher and the fabulous Lou Morgan, where we discussed our favourite serial killers and the disturbing fact that Adam has never eaten a Percy Pig. We skirted around the giant beer festival that was happening in the middle of the square, and admired the CAMRA members’ amusing balloon hats. I ate one of Andrew Reid’s legendary peanut butter cookies, and had too much wine, and met so many twitter friends I completely lost track, but it was fabulous to finally put face to twitter handles. Other random highlights included: talking Gaie Sebold, who was very funny; catching up with Del Lakin-Smith and laughing hysterically about something I can’t even remember now; Kim Lakin-Smith‘s amazing emergency shoes.
So I was nervous about everything, but as ever with this sort of thing it was all a lot less scary than I thought it would be, and the cheerfully welcoming atmosphere of EdgeLit meant I had a totally excellent day. AND the late night music in the bar played the theme tune from Cowboy Bebop, only the best theme tune of all time. I actually bopped around in excitement.
* “Mass Effect rules, AMIRITE?” More or less. And someone in the audience wooped. Whoever you were, I salute you.