First of all: The team of Northern Book Bloggers (and extended members) are honestly the best people you’ll ever meet.
I was sat (reading), waiting for the doors to open to the main venue hall and casually trying to catch the eye of the only other person hanging around outside, who turned out to be the sweetest, friendliest warmest person who embraced my nervous giggles and energy and embraced me with friendship. Upon finding out that it was my first book event, Rosie (www.rosiefrecklereads.wordpress.com) adopted me into her friendship group, with the lovely Steph (www.alittlebutalot.wordpress.com) and Cora (www.teapartyprincess.co.uk) – who didn’t give me weird looks like “who’s this weirdo” bUT ACTUALLY WERE GENUINELY SO NICE AND ADORABLE AND MADE ME FEEL SO WELCOME!
I’d been hyping the event up in my mind so much that I was so nervous when I was finally meeting people, and so worried that I’d embarrass myself. BUT I DIDN’T… I think.
And the group that adopted my friendless-self completely made my day. I could tell you every single way in which they were adorable, but I just want to highlight some special moments that really sum up how amazing they all are:
1. Rosie noticing me looking lonely and a little bit scared and establishing a friendship.
2. Being introduced to a few of the Northern Book Bloggers.
3. Queuing up to meet authors (Teri Terry & Anna Day) with Rosie after the ‘How To Get Into Publishing Event’.
4. Walking over to join a few of the book bloggers Rosie had already introduced me to to find that there were 3 published authors in the circle and they weren’t totally all the book bloggers I thought they were!
5. Standing opposite Laura Steven foR HER TO ACTUALLY RECOGNISE ME?! WHAT IS THIS LIFE?!
6. Chatting casually (and not awkwardly!! I wasn’t awkward guys!!) with Katherine Webber, Lauren James and Laura Steven. THREE BEAUTIFUL, FEMINIST AUTHORS.
7. Getting to watch these 3 authors participate in the next panel, ‘Feminism in YA’. The flow of conversation was so easy and natural and I was so proud of all of them. PLUS, they felt like friends now! I wasn’t watching strangers on stage, I was watching real people who I’d spoken to and who were such sweethearts.
DISCLAIMER: This photo is not my own. I believe it was taken by one of the official NYALF photographers. If it is someone’s personal photo, I will happily edit this post and give them full credit!
8. Waiting in the queue with Kelly (www.thisnortherngal.co.uk) for a signing! She was so sweet and friendly and didn’t judge me at all for my nervous foot waggling! I honestly appreciate her adopting me in the queue so much!
9. Bringing two copies of The Exact Opposite of Okay to get signed, one to giveaway through my Book Club alongside Laura Steven’s AMA that she’s doing for us! It makes my heart so happy when authors are so interactive in the community, and I honestly can’t describe enough how adorable she is. I’m a little bit in love to be honest. (Okay, a lot in love).
10. Getting my Rebel of the Sands trilogy signed by Alwyn Hamilton! Although her panel hadn’t been on yet, when she arrived she pretty much came straight over to the signing tables and jumped right into the fray. I ran screaming across the room to collect her books from my bag and managed to approach her without making a complete fool of myself.
11. Samantha Shannon joined Alwyn on stage for a beautiful discussion of Alwyn’s books, where she got her inspiration from and her writing process! It made my heart so happy to see their friendship and get an insight into their lives as authors.
12. In the break between this panel and the next, I went and hung around the TakenMoons candle stand, being run by the lovely Rebecca (www.thisbookyplace.co.uk). Her start-up company is doing so well and I’m so proud of her. The candles smell lovely, and I was even tempted to betray my Ravenclaw pride and buy the mint smelling Slytherin candle. HEAVENLY, I TELL YOU. HEAVENLY.
13. THE LOUD SCREAMS WHEN HOLLY BLACK CAME ON STAGE. This is a really random thing to make it on my favourite-moments list, but it was the first time that I realised that I was surrounded by fangirling book lovers. MY PEOPLE. Of course, I had realised before – but it hadn’t truly sunk in. In that moment, with squeals and cheers from the audience: I realised. I realised I was home.
14. WAITING TO MEET HOLLY BLACK! I managed to grab a spot in the queue with Rebecca, who was proudly holding two Cruel Prince candles she’d designed through her company (@TakenMoons) to give to Holly! The excitement in her eyes made me so happy, and it was lovely to get to witness Holly’s reaction when smelling them. (The candles, not Rebecca).
15. Finally on my list, is actually meeting Holly! She’s so kind and obviously I love her accent. I was so worried that I’d accidentally imitate her (it’s happened before with different accents) without even realising I was doing it. BUT I DIDN’T. I got my copy of The Cruel Prince signed and then got her to sign fan-art from a swag pack we got. WHICH HAS A THE WICKED KING SAMPLER IN IT. I KNOW, I KNOW. I’M SCREAMING TOO.
This post has been brought to you by a lot of hyper raving and a lot of caps lock.
I HAVE NO REGRETS.