As promised, here is the latest from my Surrey International Writers Conference 2014 experiences. The weekend goes by so fast it brings me up short when I realize it's Sunday morning and time to get ready for the last few classes of the conference. Seems like only a few hours ago I was heading for Jack Whyte's master class clutching my three pages of manuscript for class discussion. This class is always a highlight for me, only 12 people in the class and 12 excerpts from their manuscripts to be discussed. So many wonderful learning experiences come out of this exercise. As always a lively discussion ensued. Jack is bluntly honest about whether he likes something or not, which is a great help, because you know where you stand.
Friday night is costume night. This year the theme was Secrets, Lies and Bad Guys. Black Jack Randall of Outlander fame showed up, as did Belatrix LeStrange complete with Dark Mark. Carol, the Betty White of the North, was hilarious as Madame Zamboni with her crystal ball. My character, Mata Hati (big red hat LOL) gifted Madame Zamboni with a jeweled bra (actually a belly dancing skirty thing, but it worked) Afterward, I am privileged to be part of small group who has a natter with Jack Whyte over some scotch and Dundee Cake. Saturday flies by, pitches, workshops, lunch, dinner, amazing keynote speakers. Saturday night is also book signing night. The presenters and other authors gather in the Fraser Ballroom and await the hoardes who come to see Diana, Jack, Michael Slade, Anne Perry and the other highly successful authors present. Those of us who have less high profiles smile at the crowd and visit with those who stop by our table. I was pleased to be beside Sara Durham with her wonderful witch hat prop and werewolf mask. It was a blast. By far the most people lined up to have Diana sign her Outlander books. Some fans had literally armfuls of the books in the series. Diana is unfailingly gracious with a smile for everyone. The darn woman looks great in every picture taken of her (and there were many) and from any angle.
The workshops were varied and there was something for everyone in every genre. A host of volunteers ensure the event runs smoothly every year. Saturday night was also launch night for Jack Whyte's new release The Guardian - the story of Andrew Murray. Jack presided over the event with his usual panache, reading a few passages from the book. While the official release date is November 4, attendees of SiWC 2014 got to purchase the book and celebrate early. The room was jam packed, spilling out into the hallway. Slainte! Here's wishing Jack much success and many more books to come!
Once I transfer some photos from my phone to the computer I'll upload some so you can see my magnificent red hat!
Till next time