On 21st September 2019, I went to the first Chase BookFest at the Museum of Cannock Chase with two of my Oldbury Writing Group (OWG) pals, Angela and Terri. The Chase BookFest is a book festival that celebrates women’s popular fiction and thrillers.
This event was my first OWG event since becoming ill, so I was excited, but a little apprehensive. But I had nothing to worry about, and I enjoyed my time at the event.
We arrived at the museum just before noon (the event starts at 10 am, but we had an hour meeting before setting off for Cannock). For the event, there is a £3 admission fee, and once we paid our fee, we were given an event site map and a list of events. The £3 admission fee did give us access to author readings and author meet and book signings. However, there were extra charges for the Tea and Conversation events and the Q&A Panels.
We had a look through the events and decided to go to the K L Slater Tea and Conversation event. The event cost £5, so not too much for an hour’s worth of information from a successful author.
With our extra event paid for, we made our way to the Sheryl Browne author reading at the Weighbridge.
Sheryl Browne is a psychological thriller and contemporary fiction author. She read a section from her latest book titled The Marriage Trap, which is published by Bookouture. It was lovely to sit back and listen to an author read to me. All I needed was a comfy chair and a mug of hot chocolate, and I would have been in heaven. The story was gripping, and I would have been happy for her to continue reading. Sadly, she wasn’t allowed to (the next author was waiting to read), but we had the chance to ask some questions about her writing career. She shared something she was told that has helped her throughout her writing career: you have the power to change it.
After Sheryl Browne, Laura Pearson came in the room to read. Laura Pearson is the author of Nobody’s Wife, Missing Pieces and I Wanted You To Know. She read a sample of Nobody’s Wife, which I enjoyed. After this reading, Angela showed us her brilliant networking skills. She talked to Laura about herself and our writing group. She then handed Laura her business card—I also used this opportunity to give her our From Sunrise to Sunset book leaflet.
With only 40ish minutes before our K L Slater event, we decided to explore the Waterstone and other stalls in the Craft Workshop. We had a go at the book tombola, and to my surprise, I won a book. It’s a mushy romance book, but it’s set around Christmas time, and I tend to not mind the mushy stuff around that time, so I’ll read the book close to Christmas. I also bought a pen that tells me I’m great—we all need a boost now and then.
Before we knew it, it was nearly time for our final event. So we hurried to the Conference Room where we were given tea and a slice of Victoria Sponge—the cake was quite nice. Finally settled, we sat back and prepared for the talk. K L Slater is a psychological thriller author, who now works full time as a writer. The talk started with the beginning of her journey. She wrote crime but struggled to be published. So, needing a break from the endless submitting and wanting to work on her craft, she decided to do a degree in English and creative writing degree, which was followed by an MA in Creative Writing. During her MA, she wrote a short story, which became her Young Adult debut, Smart.
K L Slater is now signed with BookOuture and writes adult psychological thrillers. When asked what her favourite book was, she told us that her first adult psychological thriller, Safe with Me, is her favourite, but she believes her book Blink has the best twist.
During the talk, K L Slater gave us advice on writing good twists, and the importance of a work-life balance. She also shared something her fiction tutor said to her, which kept her motivated, ‘The people who make it over the ones who don’t are the people who never give up.’ This is the kind of advice that needs pinning to my wall, preferably the ceiling, so it’s the first thing I see in the morning.
Overall, I found the talk informative, interesting and inspiring. And I feel encouraged to continue with my writing journey.
Before we made our way home, we explored the gift shop and all its tempting treasures—yes, notebooks and pens do count as treasure. I bought a notepad—I couldn’t resist.
I had a brilliant time at the Chase BookFest. It was lovely to see so many authors living the dream. I hope the Museum of Cannock Chase has another BookFest. However, I would like to see authors from a wide range of genres, especially horror and fantasy.
Writing isn’t an easy career option or as glamorous as one might think—this is something all authors made clear—but if you know this and still want it, then go for it and never give up. Take on board advice, get extra training or try a different route. If you want it, you have to fight for it, and this is what I intend to keep doing.
So, did you go to the Chase BookFest or have you been to a book festival? If you did, please comment in the box below and let me know.
Keep writing, folks!
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