Monday, 29 August 2011

This week's word is: EDINBURGH

Hello, dragon fans. You may have gathered from the subject header that this week's blog is something to do with Scotland. And you'd be right. The author has just returned from a visit to the fantastic Edinburgh Book Festival, where he did two talks - one to an audience of schoolchildren and another, sell-out talk, to a mix of children and adults. What is there to say about the Edinburgh festival that hasn't already been said? Well, this year, we got to stay in the wonderful Roxburghe Hotel, one of the oldest and grandest hotels in the city. The author was pleased to discover a healthy supply of shortbread biscuits to go with his tea. A big thumbs up there. The only downside was we had to leave for a flight to Exeter at stupid o'clock in the morning and so missed breakfast on the second day. And no matter how good room service might be, he can't bear to wake them up for a bowl of soggies at 4am. Well done the Edinburgh Airbus service for running buses that early in the morning, too! And believe it or not, in all the six times we've been to Edinburgh, that morning was the only time it has ever rained...

One of the best things about the festival is the atmosphere. Charlotte Square, where the action takes place, is buzzing non-stop with people wanting to talk about books. Proper treebooks, not ebooks. Everywhere you look there's something happening. Every theatre or marquee has a programme of at least six events, to satisfy all tastes. There's a fantastic bookshop, coffee shop and ice cream stall. Photographs of authors hang all over the place. For the authors themselves there's a special 'backstage' area called a yurt, where they can sit around and chat to fellow writers, use the internet, drink tea and coffee (or wine) and nibble away at fruit or flapjacks and other tasty treats. For the first time ever the author took the plunge and had a bowl of haggis (a kind of sausage mix with attitude), neeps (boiled swede, we think, though they sound like they ought to be turnips/turneeps) and tatties (potatoes). Very enjoyable. What took us so long to latch onto this brilliant Scottish dish? Well, this is the man who was 28 before he had a Chinese takeaway. Not exactly adventurous, eh?

Our favourite experience at a big festival, of course, is meeting the audience, both during the talks and afterwards at the book signing. People often ask him 'what's the best bit about being an author?' and he always replies, without fail, talking to the fans. We'd like to extend a big thank you to everyone who bought a book or came up to chat or simply just listened to the talks. We hope you were entertained and inspired. And if you've sent a message through the website, we'll try and get back to you as soon as we possibly can. Things are a little bit busy right now. Mrs Author is reaching the final stages of the US edition of RAIN & FIRE, and he of course is rattling away at TFA. But he will reply.

One last thing. He promised on Twitter that he'd put up a picture of 'Gable' today, a dragon figure he bought to go on his roof! You know how you often see gargoyles on buildings? Well, if you're ever in the Torbay area of England look out for Gable. Very soon he'll be right on the apex of the author's house. Until next time. Happy reading.

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