Posted in Chit Chat

YALC – panels, signings and swag



This was one of the best weekends EVER!

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It was very much about this book for me. I was reading it on the train on the way up from Devon and I fell in love with it. Look at the publisher’s stand! Gorgeous. They also had a tarot reader in on the Sunday. I met Moira after her panel ‘Troubled Teens’ (which I dipped out of early so I could get near the front of the signing queue) and she was so sweet.

20150719_203448You have to admit, the marketing for this book is on fleek! The tarot cards were so cute. And she has such neat writing! I’m jealous!

Panels I attended:

Thrills and Chills- Darren Shan, Will Hill, Dawn Kurtagich, Lou Morgan. Chaired by Matt Whyman. 

I was so eager to listen to this panel. I’m a horror girl at heart. Darren Shan was wonderful, and so funny. It was also nice to finally see Dawn Kurtagich in person. I’d had an email exchange with he earlier this year. What did I learn from this session? There are pretty much zero boundaries when it comes to writing horror… as long as your characters stay clothed.

20150717_154244 (1)A picture with Dawn Kurtagich after she signed my copy of The Dead House… Guys. The finished copies of these are beautiful. Scary. But the layout/structure is GORGEOUS!

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Also, these were Dawn’s shoes. I was practically drooling. After an educated guess (I was right) I found them on Irregular Choice, in case you were interested. I know I was. Still am. Fantastic shoes. *applauds*

Apocalypse Now- Virginia Bergin, Marie Rutkoski, Francesca Haig, Moira Young, Teri Terry. Charied by Gemma Malley.

This panel was a lot of fun. There were some interesting questions about setting and the use of reality in fantasy, also that question of ‘what next’ for dystopian finction.

Meeting Marie Rutkoski afterwards was a nervous, but exciting moment for me. I love her books, The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime. I turned into a mute when it was my turn. Literally no words came out other than ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’.



I didn’t do many panels on the Saturday. I spent much of the day pootling around the rest of the LFCC, and MY GOD it was hot on the lower floors. Hoo boy. But come 3.30pm it was all about Judy Blume.


I got on the second row, directly behind her husband! Ha ha! I think for many of us ‘older’ readers and bloggers this was a real special moment. Judy Blume is the original YA (hush, I won’t hear ‘Holden Caulfield’ from anyone, thank you) even though she doesn’t like being put into the ‘YA’ pigeonhole.

Patrick Ness was a wonderful interviewer, asking clever and also cute questions. It was something of a relief to find that someone like Judy Blume still suffers from writer’s doubt. It seems impossible that someone of that kind of success can still go through that, but perhaps it’s just one of those things that will never go away. I think it’s healthy, if you can keep it under a careful control.

Both Judy and Patrick echoed that well spoken advice for writers: READ, READ, READ.

Sunday was definitely a ‘panel’ day for me.

Mental Health in YA- Matt Whyman, Brian Conaghan, Annabel Pitcher, Holly Bourne. Chaired by Imogen Ruseel Williams.

I think this only cemented the fact that we still have a lot of work to do in the way of fiction and how it represents things such as ‘mental health’. I think it was Holly Bourne who said that she wished ‘mental health’ could be used in the same positive way as we think of having ‘physical health’. We all have ‘physical health’, but we only seem to use the term ‘mental health’ when something is ‘wrong’. I’d never thought of it that way, so that was really useful for me.

Bringing Sexy Back- Non Pratt, Louise O’Neill, Tom Ellen, Lucy Ivison. Chaired by James Dawson.



With James dressed as the Mother of Dragons herself, you just knew you were in for a good one. This panel was probably my favourite. It was funny, laugh out loud funny, but it still had a serious side to it too. From talking about the ‘sperm book’, to censorship, to ‘he put a fish in her’, it was such an energetic and entertaining session.

Between Fantasy and Reality- Sally Green, Melinda Salisbury, Ben Aranovitch, Frances Hardinge, Amy Alward. Chaired by James Smythe.

There were some similar questions raised as in ‘Apocalypse Now’, but for me, it was when each author was discussing their researching techniques. For instance, how much ‘real’ goes into their ‘fantasy’ narrative. Melinda, Frances and Ben admitted to stealing a lot from history, and also from the ‘current’ world. Frances talked about how research dug up facts and interesting stories that she couldn’t not use. And then Sally Green admits to doing hardly any research at all. And I love that! It’s a case of what works for you.

Troubled Teens- Jenny Valentine, Kevin Brooks, Clare Furniss, Sarah Pinborough, Moira Fowley-Doyle. chaired by Gemma Malley.

The weekend was exhausting. I stumbled into a restaurant late on Sunday evening in much need for a beer (check), good food (check) and then a massive ice cream on the way back to the hotel (check).

But it was a ‘good’ kind of exhausting. A satisfied exhausting. I got to meet the lady from Star Trek who played the Borg queen which was cool, and there was so much stuff to see, to do, to buy. I picked up a lot of free stuff, and I bought a couple things too:


And I also WON something! Chicken House were giving away the first chapter of Catherine Doyle’s Inferno, signed. (See tomorrow for my very late review of ‘Vendetta’. Oops). I had to answer three out of five questions on Vendetta, and it was HARD! But I scraped through, and won the scroll:



I didn’t get to meet any bloggers, and I didn’t go to any bloggery things. But that’s ok. I saw plenty of people I knew from the blogosphere, but I felt too awkward to say ‘hi, I follow you on twitter and stuff’. Maybe next year, eh?

YALC was so much fun. I’m already counting down the days ’til next time.






YA writer. Epic reader. Professional procrastinator.

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