August 09, 2018

YALC 2018

Books I managed to get signed this year!
I swear I've cried at least 6 times since YALC ended, for multiple reasons, but the main common theme running through east occasion was that the weekend was over.
I just want to apologize to anyone who I didn't get to natter away too and to those that I nattered to much. I get so nervous about meeting bookish people. More so than any other “type” of people, and I find keeping the momentum of conversation going extremely hard, so thanks for putting up with me.

This one is going to be a long one, as I want to get as much detail down as possible as well as say all my positives and all my negatives.

Where do I begin? I feel like I remember everything and nothing. YALC didn't set off on the greatest foot – where was our tote bags? This year, when we all walked through our eyes drinking in every little detail, bouncing on the balls of our feet, raring to go, one of the crew was holding up a sign to collect “goodie bags” on Sunday (I'll come back to goody bags later).
Can We Be Friends? panel (left to right): David Owen,
Alice Oseman, Lauren Price and Gayle Foreman.
The first thing I did was whizz round and pick up the samplers I knew I wanted to read, and the swag of upcoming books and books I have already fallen in love with.
Before any panels started I went by the Waterstones stall and picked up a copy of Runemarks by Joanne Harris and The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers.
200 Years of Frank panel (left to right): Sarah Maria Griffin,
Matt Killeen, Melinda Salisbury, Joanne Harris
and Ed McDonald.
It took me at least half the day to pluck up any courage to talk to anyone.
My panel highlights were the Can We Be Friends? Panel with the fantastic David Owen, Alice Oseman, Gayle Foreman and Lauren Pryce. I found it interesting to hear about they wrote about friendships, the rise in friendships taking center stage in YA and the importance of friends to teens. Also, the 200 Year of Frank panel, chaired by Sarah Maria Griffin, with Ed McDonald, Joanne Harris, Melinda Salisbury, and Matt Killeen. Sarah asked some fantastic questions about monsters, the monstrous as it took an interesting turn on Roland Barthes' Death of an Author – the author's monster (the book: of bits and pieces that add to mutate into a plot) in itself mutates again when a reader projects and mirrors onto the author's text. In itself, each printed book becomes a unique ‘monster'.
I got my copy of Ravencry signed!
Close up of Ed's interpretation of my blog name.
Friday was the only day I won any ARCs. Thank you so much to the team at Gollancz for The Girl King by Mimi Yu, I can't wait to read it and get a review up in the upcoming months.

Signed copy of Spare and Found Parts.
After missing Ed McDonald at the Orion Blogger event earlier in the month, I managed to run to his signing table and get my copy of Ravencry signed. I'm seriously considering revamping my, currently non-existent, logo.

My signed copy of The Hazel Wood. I can't
wait to enter into this world.
Also Sarah Griffin, what a lovely lass (sorry I may have talked your ear off about my current research blackhole). I thoroughly fell in love with the sampler of her next novel, Other Words for Smoke, and I cannot wait to get my grubby mitts on a final copy! And Melissa Albert, who also spoke on the Tale As Old as Time panel, that I managed to listen to in its final 10-15 minutes.

Well, Saturday was insane.
The updated "wall of books". This was the closest
I got before security starting giving me alarming
Let's start on the morning of: on my way to the Olympia, I spotted a magpie, on its own just minding its own business (that's a lie, there is no minding their own business in my life, they're there to cause chaos and destruction). My mind instantly went to David Tennant. Premonitions, man, my family is full of them. Low and behold, in the middle of queuing, the one and only was announced – and you know what? It really got me down. But, that's enough of that.
The 'Amongst the Stars' panel was
I feel like Saturday was spent most of the time standing up in queues. I was missing panels I wanted to really see, and the authors I wanted to hear the talk. I only got to hear maybe five minutes of the Amongst the Stars panel due to having to the length of signing queues.
I got my ARC of A Skinful of Shadows signed
by Frances Hardinge.

All the books I wanted on Friday that I wanted, were gone. So that saved my purse strings to get some art prints I wanted on the LFCC floor.
Some of the volunteers (ICYMI: anyone in a blue t-shirt was not paid members of staff, they were not paid), however some of the volunteers on Saturday lacked a certain professionalism. I won't get into details but there was a lot of miscommunication, rudeness, discussion and complaining about guests and overall I felt like I was unable to approach any member of ‘staff'.
I’m trying to keep this brief: I think my highlights from Saturday was having Tom Fletcher compliment my glasses and meeting the lovely Giovanna  (she was incredibly sweet!).
"Never stop reaching for the stars!"
A fun fact about me is that I have a Top 5 list of books that are both my favorites and will always recommend. Saturday's line-up meant that I have four of five signed, dedicated and personalized with a message from the author. Unfortunately, I will never get Terry Pratchett to sign my copy of Good Omens, but if Neil Gaiman were to offer – I wouldn't say no.

Why do I always look so awkward
in photographs?
I somehow managed to get in the queue for Sasha Alsberg, who I somehow have been watching since I first discovered the book community. Although Zenith wasn't my cup of tea (reading is personal experience), I do have the Because You Love to Hate Me anthology that Sasha contributed to. She was absolutely lovely to chat to!

Bare with me, Sunday is going to be very LFCC and Doctor Who heavy.
I woke up on Sunday, completely exhausted. I could barely keep my eyes open. Until I got through those doors, running up to the LFCC schedule and seeing what time I'd have to mark out of my day to meet... Christopher FUCKING Eccleston.
Now, I was in the same building, as David Tennant, Matt Smith, Peter Capaldi, Colin Baker, Peter Davidson and Paul McGann (*cue sobbing*).
Eccleston was the only Doctor I was planning on meeting this weekend. I had to do it for my 6-year-old dream of meeting the man (okay, 900-year-old alien) that grabbed the hand of Rose Tyler and told her to “Run!” I was at Batch 3 and was told that it was a possibility I could get called at the 10:00-11:00 AM, which eventually got cut off at Batch 2.
To cut it short, I had to return at 15:00 and was called up quite early.

When I returned up to the YALC floor I went over and picked up my "goodie bag". Goodie bag being a rather loose term for what we were given. I've heard little teases as to what would be in these bags, we all had y this point, so why were we only given a bag, a schedule and a small a5 advertisement for upcoming releses? The schedule we already had on Friday, and some prior to that. It was ultmiately disappointing.
The 'Bring a Torch - it's dark in here' panel (left to right): Eleanor,
Vic James, Kerry Drewery, Anna Day, Nicky Singer and William

So for the rest of the day, I remained on the YALC floor, planning on leaving at half two in order to have a little wonder round the LFCC floor before being called for the photo op. Knowing my back was in dire need of "stop-bloody-standing", I ended up sitting in the panel zone and listening to two panels back-to-back. It was LUSH!

I really enjoyed listening to Clementine Beauvais talking about what it's like to work as a translator and how her perception of Paris changed when she moved to the UK, during the 'It's a Traveller's Life For Me' panel.
I got both Tarnished City and Bright Ruin signed,
and chatted about Vic's recent book acquisition with
Gollancz - look out for that in 2019!

And Nicky Singer?!
*Makes all the snapping fingers*
She had so much to say, that was all so important. All the panelists did.
Guys. GUYS. GUUUISE. THINGS GOT INSANE - after that last panel. I rushed straight into the queue for Vic James - who is still amazing and lovely and one of my favourite authors to chat to!
As I left the lift, the closest signing table was Steven Moffatt. A writer that I have a very complicated relationship with. On the one hand, he wrote some of my favourite episodes of Doctor Who (see: The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances; The Girl of the Fireplace and Blink). And on the other hand, he’s run as Exec-producer and Head Show-writer left me disappointed and bitter, even if it did make me appreciate the RTD era more. ANYWAY, we made eye contact as I turned away from his table and find Photo C. Sorry, mate?
Once I found my bearing I dawdled over to where I needed to be, when PETER CAPALDI walks past and headed to another photo area. I sort of went: “Hi, Peter" and waved in his direction (he only turned, waved and entered?!)
I'm giving so much build up to this moment because so much freaking happened. Once the Capaldi thing happened and I had calmed down, I had to wait to be called for Eccleston. I was called, I stood and DAVID BRADLEY cut through the queue in front of me. And I must say, he really does look that grumpy in person.
So, Eccleston, what Sunday was all about. Usual business applied: queued, talked to those in the queue, the ticket is scanned, bag handed over and HELLO!
HE WAS SO FREAKING NICE. SO LOVELY, I've even considered emailing his management. I was so worried he’d be grumpy and go into the zone celebs go when they meet loads of people (you know what I mean? Where their eyes just glaze over and smile and nod).

He was shaking everyone's hand, massive smile on his face to greet them as they came over and seemed to genuinely be enjoying himself.

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