With Sean and the littlies

26th March
Yay! Finally posted up the blog. Not easy—WordPress doesn’t like text direct from Pages, so I had to work out a way around that. They were closing up the wifi hotspots cafe just as I finally managed to do it. I didn’t have time to add anything for the day, but there was nothing much to add anyway. Today was a rest day, totally uneventful.

Good moment to put up those piccies of Mariann’s cats – and the view from her studio window –

27th March

Phew! Death-defying escape! Today was the day for me to interview Sean Williams at the Come Out festival. I’d realized it was essentially a kids festival, the sort of event that teens wouldn’t attend, and the only adults would be parents of young children.So I’d had some ideas for a lively sort of interview, more entertainment than serious.

But as I stood waiting for Sean to turn up, I realized I hadn’t re-thought far enough. The kids were really young, 6 and 7 and 8, and the act before us was getting them to join in songs like the Wiggles or Bananas in Pajamas. So when Sean appeared, I suggested performance instead of interview–some readings from his books, and mine too.

Had a copy of Worldshaker with me, but Sean had nothing. Luckily there was a bookseller at the festival, who had copies of Sean’s Star Wars book, his four Omnibus books, and -surprise!- my four Wolf Kingdom books. Obviously the booksellers had calculated he age of the audience better than us. So we instantly found some passages to read – then I remembered one particular passage I’d done with audience involvement at a couple of primary schools.

It didn’t look good early on; by the time we had our headset mikes on and got up on stage, the audience from the previous act had almost totally disappeared. Fortunately the numbers grew, gradually, when we started reading. Sean first–he read and I filled in the voices. We stayed standing for a bit of talk and exchange between readings, but we kept that short.

For my reading, I got the kids–and parents–to fill in the sound effects while I read about Tam and Nina pursued by wolves (second chapter of the first book). Some to do the wolf-howls, some to do the snarling and barking, some to do the panting. Went down v well. Then, since we were getting the five minutes left signal, Sean had the idea of asking for questions. Could have been risky, could have been an awkward silence, but no, the kids were great and came up with plenty of questions.

We left the stage with huge sighs of relief, feeling that we’d pulled off a total switch of strategy–just! We signed books afterwards … An unexpected plus that I’d never expected, and volume one of Wolf Kingdom sold out quickly. Sean sold at least as many of the first book of his quartet, though no copies of Star War–too big and heavy for the age of the audience.

We celebrated after with drinks at a pub, then out for dinner at a nearby restaurant. Almost a disaster, but in the end a very successful day.


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