Well... If today is anything like yesterday, I’m in for a smashing time.
There was an awful lot to do, and I did do some of it, although it’s pretty difficult to be in more than one place at a time, and I did want to just hang out, so I spent some time in the bar with the guys, chatting, which was lovely.
Andy Smillie’s question and answer session was great. I did a couple of these in Canada when I was there with the husband, and I know how nerve-wracking they can be, so I was impressed by how relaxed Andy seemed and by how open he was with his answers. There was no dissembling and no smoothing over the cracks; he talked openly about the very particular problems that he has when writing, and was fascinating on the subject of interfacing with IP and editorial.
I like his stories and would happily recommend them.
I would have liked to sit in on the husband’s Question and Answer session, but he prefers that I don’t, so I spent that hour with Sarah Cawkwell, and we talked about other projects that we’re working on, which was nice; she even read the first ten thousand words of my next book and was very encouraging. We also had a hilarious moment with Abby, who was working the bar, when she, quite inadvertently, misspoke, using a stupendously vulgar word in place of a perfectly innocent one. We received free biscuits as a totally unnecessary apology since the thorough-going laugh we had at her expense was more than adequate recompense. Every time we saw poor Abby after that, we cracked up, and she hardly dared open her mouth again.
After spending some time with Dan while he worked his way through his usual, massive, signing queue, which also produced a few copies of Gilead and the Sabbat Worlds Anthology for me to sign, I sat Dembski-Bowden junior on my knee and fed him a rusk. I’m not, as a rule, a huge fan of other people’s kids, but he and I get on very well, and always have a wild time together, not least because, like his father, he knows who’s boss.
After dinner we were treated to six of the great and good among the BL authors going head-to-head in a quiz. The husband had Jim Swallow and Chris Wraight on his team, and, opposing them, Graham McNeill had Aaron Dembski-Bowden and Gav Thorpe. Four of those dudes are Multiple-New York Times bestselling authors and they’re all Warhammer, 40K and Horus Heresy specialists... Interesting, then, that the audience trounced them in the contest, and they spent most of the hour with their heads in their hands wondering why they didn’t know the answers to the questions. At one point, the husband couldn’t remember the opening line to one of his own novels, and Graham couldn’t fill in the blanks in one of his. The crowd loved them, regardless.
No doubt, I shall hear reports today of how “Pitch Factor” worked out for the people that took part. I was too tired and poorly by ten o’clock to watch it, and felt that it was time for me to retire, but I’ve got a feeling that Bill King and Gav Thorpe might have had a moment...