Preparations for the seventh annual Bold Strokes Book UK festival take around six months. It’s a gentle start, gradually gaining speed like a car going downhill without working brakes. The first weekend in June seems like an age away when we begin, but in apparently no time at all, it’s the Friday night before the event and it’s time for the author dinner.

This was my first event as a Bold Strokes author, and it was in my interest to make sure the event went as well as it possibly could. But more than that, I wanted it to be a success for the readers, my authory colleagues, and for the tireless Victoria, who whips up a storm leading up to the event.

Saturday morning came, and we were buying giveaways and prizes at 9am in the local mall before heading to Waterstones to set up the event. There was a palpable sense of dread—what if hardly anyone shows up? It’s an annual issue, but we needn’t have worried. Over the two days, we had a combined attendance of 115, and we sold more books than ever before—over twice as many as the previous year, and that was a record!

Our hashtag #BSBUK competed with the BackStreet Boys UK tour and the British Baking Society for superiority, and we won out by a country mile. I thoroughly enjoyed documenting the wild and wonderful things my authory colleagues were saying, and I hear from my Australian BSB follower, that following the Twitter feed was almost as good as being there. On the Sunday, I was involved in every panel so we handed the Twitter baton over to the audience with the tasty bait of a covers poster signed by each of the attending authors. Well done, Sarah B, for the most Tweets—I hope the poster finds a place where you can be inspired to get from 20,000 words to a complete manuscript!

From a personal point of view, I had an amazing time. Now that I get to call myself a multi-published author (well, I will be by April 2017), I get to talk about words and how you put them together for an avid audience. It’s truly a privilege. I met some wonderful people and even signed some books (my first to Laura—thank you for asking!), and it was thrilling that people were disappointed they weren’t able to buy my debut novel ‘Never Enough’ right there and then (I’ll be sure to sign your copy, Sharron and Sarah, knowing it will never be opened again!).

We’re already planning next years’ event and hope to see everyone who attended this year and a whole lot more. There’ll be a survey shortly appearing (on the BSB UK website, Facebook, and at your inbox if you filled in our BSB UK alerts sheet) so you can give us your feedback—we can’t wait to hear it. This is your event, and we want to make it the best it can be, so please take a few moments to let us know your thoughts.

I’m leaving it there, because I’m constantly being reminded that blogs are supposed to be short and sweet, but I have to say that one of my favourite moments came following the question from fellow author, Matt Bright, who asked “If you could have one of the characters from any of your books walk in to the room right now, who would it be?” When I smiled and laughed ominously, the audience were right there with me—I can’t wait for you all to meet Therese…