Friday, 23 September 2011

Oxford University Press Bloggers' Evening

On Wednesday I was out and about again, this time in London, for the OUP Bloggers' Evening.

The entrance to the Charlotte Street Hotel is flanked by a pair of Narnia-esque lamp posts, and there's a flag hanging over the doorway; I wasn't sure they'd let me in. Luckily I had best selling author, Joss Stirling with me. As the doorman held open the doors and bowed low to welcome Joss into the building, I took the opportunity to sneak in while nobody was looking.
The room OUP were using was downstairs, and it felt like strolling into a sitting room at the Diogenes Club. I wouldn't have been surprised had Mycroft Holmes risen from one of the armchairs and offered me a brandy. 

The Story Chairs, ready and waiting …

Sherlock's brother may not have been there, but I had an equally warm welcome from the OUP publicity team, who were putting the finishing touches the room – which included this mountain of hot chocolate.

OUP Children's Publicity Manager, Harriet Bayly with the hot chocolate mountain.

Joss started the evening by explaining that she'd written Stealing Phoenix, the follow up to the best selling, Finding Sky, for her teenage daughter. This definitely means I'm not in the target audience for the book. Having said that, at the time of writing, I'm over halfway through Stealing Phoenix and completely hooked. It's a paranormal romance/thriller, but feels very real. Phoenix is a great protagonist and there are some truly evil characters in this book, who I'm hoping will meet a suitably gruesome end.   

Red books in the red room – waiting to be read. (sorry, about that …)

It was great to hear Joss talk about her inspiration and writing process. Then it was my turn in the chair. I attempted to relate my journey to becoming a published author and the inspiration for 15 Days Without a Head, before giving a short reading, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Nobody threw anything at me or went to sleep, so I think it went OK.

Joss Stirling and I, with our editor, Jasmine Richards.
Here I'm proving the fact that somebody will always pull a stupid face and ruin a perfectly good picture.
Afterwards we had a chance to mingle and talk about books, writing, and Dr. Who – amongst other things. It was a great night and over all too soon. So, a big thanks to everyone who came (some, quite a distance) – to OUP for putting on the event, and the staff at the hotel for making us so welcome and letting me have this hooped pencil to take home as a souvenir.

Yes, I know it's just a pencil – but it's kinda cool. 

These pictures were all taken while we waited for the bloggers to arrive. I was so engrossed talking to people afterwards that I forgot to take any more. However, just to prove there were other people there, check out some of the links below to find out what the guests themselves thought of the evening.


  1. It was a fab event & great to meet you, your reading from 15 Days Without a Head nearly had me in tears of laughter and I'm looking forward to reading the book :o)

  2. Thanks, Sarah. I hope the book has you in tears too when you read it – for the right reasons, of course!