Saturday, 18 September 2010

Hay Day

Yes, I know you normally say heyday, but if you read on you'll understand.

On the 4th of June 2010 I attended the Hay-on Wye Guardian Literary Festival. I had my first short-story in print published in Gentle Footprints by Bridge House publishing.This charity anthology was created to raise funds and awareness for the Born Free Foundation. There is a foreword by Virginia McKenna OBE and a new story was written especially for it by Richard Adams author of Watership Down.

When I found out my story was to be included back in January I was over the moon! When I later discovered that we would be launched at Hay-on Wye I couldn't believe it! Then I was told the authors would get to meet Virginia McKenna...well you can imagine what I thought.

All of us were asked if we wanted to read an extract and I volunteered without hesitation. What possessed me I will never know.Debz from Bridge house said we may not get a chance as it was a tight schedule, and not to get our hopes up too much.

The 4th of June was absolutely perfect, there wasn't a cloud in the sky. We drove over from Bristol in the morning and my tummy was full of elephants doing cartwheels when my husband Brian and I arrived at The Swan to meet the rest of the authors and Virginia.

I needn't have worried as everyone was really lovely and Virginia was great. She signed my copy and asked me to sign hers! She chatted to me for some time and really put me at ease. Gill James from Bridge House asked if I was still up for reading an extract of my story. Paul Blezard who was interviewing Virginia said that there was just enough time for three of us to read for just under two minutes. I said 'Yep no problem', then she told me there was likely to be about a thousand people in the audience!

I was a bit nervous obviously, but to be honest I was calmer than I had a right to be. I reasoned that I would never have that chance again and should take all I could from that wonderful experience.

We had to go back stage and there were lots of sound people and such running about. Paul Blezard back ask who wanted to be first up and I volunteered again! He said that after he'd interviewed Virginia for a while, she'd then read her foreword and then he'd call my name and I should go up and straight to the lectern.

I was OK until the last few minutes waiting in the wings, then the elephants came back cartwheeling and dancing for all they were worth. My heart was actually trying to escape my rib cage when I heard my name, but up I went.

Thankfully the lights were so bright I couldn't actually see anyone in the audience and I just got on with it. The nerves went as soon as I opened my mouth. Everyone
said how well I did and was very proud of myself I don't mind saying.

Later we went to the book signing and a few people asked for my autograph on their copies! I couldn't believe it really, me being asked for my autograph for crying out loud. It was so exciting. A few said they had enjoyed my reading too - I was on cloud 9!

The whole day was so fantastic I didn't want it to end. It had to unfortunately, but I will always have brilliant memories to look back on.

I hope I get chance to do something like that again sometime. As a writer it made me feel like I had achieved so much. It also encouraged me to keep plugging away at my goal to become a published novelist one day.

You never know... stranger things have happened :)


  1. Sounds brilliant, must have been a big thrill. Let's hope it was the first of many author appearances.

  2. Thanks Alison, it was brilliant! I hope so too.

  3. Just been to Hampstead Literary Festival. Saw Simon Callow, who everyone keeps calling Simon Cowell by mistake now, and Kevin Dutton, an academic who's written a book called 'Flipnosis' about the art of persuasion. Was interesting.
    On Tuesday there'll be Pam White, Barabra Levy and Jane Rusbridge on 'Getting Published'. Pam White apparently helps people find publishers. Have you heard of them?

  4. One of many success. Judging by the fact you remembered the day so vividly means you didn't make the mistake of getting so whisked along with the atmosphere you hardly noticed much of what was happening. Your excitement comes through so strongly I found myself smiling with pleasure for you.

  5. Thanks Anthony - It was a great day indeed,so nice of you to comment.