The joy of being home, plus the ravages of a cold, have kept me from my blog. But now, a week after coming ‘off the road’ I feel I can reflect a little.
It certainly ended on a good note. I attended the Doubleday/Random House 75th Anniversary Party at Vancouver’s Sandbar Restaurant and had the pleasure of listening to the CEO and President, Brad Martin, rave to my face about ‘A Place Called Armageddon’ and especially the main character of Gregoras.
(I made sure my wife was standing by – sometimes I feel she wonders if anyone reads my books!)
Then it was the Surrey Writers’ Conference. For those who don’t know it, it is a fine event, in its 20th year now, where writers gather to take workshops in both the craft and the business, meet agents and editors to pitch their stories, and generally be amongst other practicioners (other sufferers perhaps!) for three days of words and feasting. What I like about it is the levelness – no ‘us’ published writers and ‘them’ the aspirants. We meet, mingle, laugh, discuss. Yes, workshops are conducted, panels sat upon – I appeared on one for Historical Fiction, one for YA and conducted a solo in HistFic too. But its all about helping people look at their writing a little differently, so they can SELL it. Deals are done, manuscripts asked for, new authors signed, every year.
Though they are tiring, I most enjoy the ‘Blue Pencil’ sessions. You sit behind a table, someone approaches with a few pages or an idea and you… help them for twelve minutes. Maybe you give a new emphasis, a different way of seeing. The great thing is that I have never had one where the writing is so poor you can’t find something to say. Usually, they are rather good and often excellent!
So there my Fall tour ended. And if it was at all about selling books I sold way more a Surrey than anywhere else ‘on the road’. But it was a great way to end – reminding myself again of the process of writing in seeing others’ processes, and feeling a part of a community. Writers are such loners, its good to belong… sometimes.