Stevie Carroll (stevie_carroll) wrote,
Stevie Carroll

Festival of Romance, Bedford 2013: Part One

The Festival of Romance 2013 took place in Bedford from the 8th to the 10th of November. I was there for the whole weekend, beginning with Friday night's Historical Romance event at the The Higgins Museum & Art Gallery. As well as readings by authors such as Christina Courtenay, Jon Beattiey, Jenny Barden, Terri Nixon, Catherine Winchester, Charlie Cochrane, Liz Harris, Laura Purcell, Rosemary Morris, Madeline James and Jane Lark, we were treated to wine and a whistle-stop tour of the Museum.

Many of the authors had dressed up for us:
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I may have caused a little confusion among some attendees by also wearing a 1940s-inspired sailor dress.

On Saturday morning I was up early and managed to sneak into the Romance Fair a little before it opened in order to help charliecochrane and jl_merrow set up their stall:
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Having grabbed a copy of Fiona Harper's new book, Make My Wish Come True, I rushed over to The Lane for the Coffee and Cake Morning. Fiona read from her book along with 13 other authors in a group that included Hazel Osmond, Lucy Felthouse, Pippa Croft (aka Phillipa Ashley), and Mandy Baggot. After the readings, we all mingled and chatted about books and life before heading back to the Romance Fair (I went via Lady K's Burlesque Boutique, where I picked out a dress for that evening's ball).

Back at the Fair, Katie Fforde had been unable to make it at the last minute, so a group of intrepid authors gave an impromptu panel about their books and writing in general:
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I'll add here that other spoils from the Romance Fair included two books by Hazel Osmond -- Who’s Afraid of Mr Wolfe and Playing Grace -- as well as Sweet Proposal by Celia J Anderson (well, sort of on that last one: as it's an eBook, I had to wait until I got home to download it).

Although the readings did inspire me to buy some books, chatting later with Charlie and Jamie, the issue came up of what makes a good author reading. We decided that there should be a maximum allowable length that gives a flavour of the book without losing the interest of potential readers. Themed readings may be the answer, although that didn't entirely solve the problem in the later Royal Baby Shower event, in which some readings seemed to drag in spite of the free wine. I wish I could remember who it was that had a book about a female harbour master, though.

After that set of readings we had a rush to pack away the stall and then head back to our respective hotels to get ready for the evening. I met up with Charlie and Jamie, along with Liam Livings, Jay Rookwood and Patrick Darcy at the Barley Mow, before we headed off in different directions for dinner. Jamie and I went to the Romance Ball, which was fun but the food part ended up being rather late and not leaving us with much time for dancing. So I got back to my hotel at a reasonable well-behaved time, which at least meant I was almost awake the next morning.
Tags: ebooks, festival of romance, out and about, print books, publishing, real life
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