|2015 Charroux Literary Festival|
Last week was a very exciting week, especially on Thursday and Friday when I spent two days dipping my toes into the literary world at the Charroux Lit Fest, hoping that time spent in the company of great authors would help to improve my own writing. Two days spent outside the tranquillity of my rural bubble, two days wearing dresses and girlie shoes and mixing with real people. It was a sensory overload, but I loved every minute of it.
I attended sessions by seven authors; Jacqui Lofthouse, Kate Mosse, Barry Walsh, Diana Morgan-Hill, Isabel Ashdown, James Vance and Sarah Harrison who all spoke with a passion for their career and seemed to be enjoying talking, reading, answering questions and sharing stories with the readers and aspiring writers in their audience. It was a friendly event with a relaxed atmosphere and interesting to see that all the authors also spent time attending sessions and listening to each other as well as being happy to chat to their readers and fans. I particularly enjoyed being read extracts from their books, but as each session was so different I couldn’t pick a favourite. Some were informative, some were entertaining and some were inspiring. From my first session at 9.30am on Thursday with Jacqui Lofthouse to my final session with the very entertaining Sarah Harrison on Friday afternoon I learned that inspiration for a novel could come from many places; something seen or somewhere visited at a certain time that becomes the key that unlocks the characters and releases the story trapped within. When that idea becomes an obsession, do your research then get it out onto paper. The only way to do this is to write, write and write some more and another top tip is to be brave and get your writing out there by joining a writing group and entering competitions.
What all of the authors had in common was the ability to tell a story and entertain an audience and I have to give Kate Mosse a mention here. Yes, really, The Kate Mosse who has sold over five million books in over forty languages worldwide, was stood in front of a roomful of readers and authors in a small town in Poitou-Charentes, wow. Now, I’m a small-framed lady, but I looked like a giant next to Kate. How someone so small could have the room inside her for so many huge novels is quite something, but nothing compared to the power that came out when she spoke. Kate was a true storyteller who captivated her audience for over an hour with no notes, no hesitations and no stumbling. To listen to Kate and hear how she researches her novels, lets her characters develop and plots take shape was a very inspirational experience. For fans of Kate’s writing, you will be delighted to know she is working on a new trilogy.
Thank you to everyone involved. It was great to spend time in your company.
On Friday afternoon it was time for my debut performance, for it can now be said that I have spoken at a literary event! What words of wit or wisdom could I possibly come up with to entertain among such great performers? Thankfully all that was required of me was the introduction to local author James Vance’s workshop where I learned about the important elements that are needed to turn a story into a good novel. I gleaned so much useful information, met many lovely people, including seeing some online friends in person for the first time, and was well and truly inspired and entertained. However, I also came away feeling rather ignorant and unread, but I’ve been encouraged to read more and have lots more books I now want to read. I also know I am not the only one who is looking forward to the next event in 2017.
|Diana Morgan-Hill and Stephanie Zia|