(aka How I Got Tongue-Tied InFront of Maureen Johnson... as you do!)
Am a bit late writing this up so BEAR WITH ME if my notes/memory are wrong!
So, on Saturday, I was invited to the first EVER Harper Collins Book Bloggers Event. It was very touch-and-go with me but, somehow, I made it! I had to leave the Person I'm With (aka the PIW) at Westfield Stratford (yes, I know! He is very understanding and yes, I know I'm a terrible boyfriend!) and rushed to Les Deux Salons around the Convent Garden/Leicester Square area for Afternoon Tea.
Oh yes, it sounded like a posh affair. And when I turned up, I felt very undressed. But it was lovely! There was a dangerous amount of food and tea. Now, as you guys know, I love my food and cups (the PIW coughed "Giant mugs of tea" then) so I was one happy blogger already. So, when you have three authors at this little event - Maureen Johnson, Will Hill and Robin Jarvis - you kinda forget why your there.
After quick introductions (where I got nervous and introduced myself as "I'm Andrew and I'm a book addict. No, wait! Wrong meeting!"), the three authors quickly chatted about their books.
Robin Jarvis chatted about his new trilogy Dancing Jax, which is about a dangerous book written by Austerly Fellows, a mysterious turn-of-the-century occultist, which has recently been discovered in a basement of an empty house. This book is dangerous and soon, children and teenagers are slowly getting caught up in this danger. Robin compared the dangers of Dancing Jax like "pushing drugs onto kids. But it's a book." and describe the dangerous world as "Narnia on crack". Now, this trilogy is a big deal as this is Robin's first novel in a DECADE!!!
Then, we had Will Hill, author of Department 19 and its sequel The Rising. He chatted about how the two books can be read together or separately (which is good as I haven't read Department 19 but The Rising sounds like awesomely scary!). He described both books as "violent and unpleasant", and yet his mum just finished reading The Rising and said "I liked it, though I'm not sure about page 300...". Will continued to talk about how Department 19 can be seen as a "rescue mission" whereas The Rising is "very much a fight for survival."
And then, Maureen Johnson talked about Name of the Star. She introduced herself as "The one with the accent". She explained how the idea of the Shade of London series came about. It came from when she was in London, researching The Last Blue Envelope. She was on a ghost tour and thought "Why aren't I putting dead bodies in my books?" then "Why do people think there's a ghost that opens a door or makes a cold spot? Why not have a ghost with attitude?". With that, she researched London, Jack the Ripper and the sewer system (Still not sure why, Maureen?). With that, she revealed that she kept up the death in the series as within the first chapter of book two, she "killed a character with a hammer". Then, suddenly, she said, "I have the title of book 2 but I haven't told my editor" [who was sitting a seat away from me]. So, quickly whispered in the editor's ear and the editor went "Love it!", Maureen revealed the title to us. The second book in the Shades of London series is...
... THE MADNESS BENEATH!
So, after that, we were offered books, more cake and a chat to quickly to the authors. I was late to the books so I only got some (but I grab a copy of Carrier of the Mark which I have my eye on for quick some time...) and then chatted to the authors briefly. I told Robin Jarvis that after starting one of his books (it was either The Alchymist's Cat, The Raven's Knot or Deathscent), I left it unfinished as it scared me beyond words! He seemed a tiny bit pleased about that.
Then, I tried to talk to Maureen and ask her to sign my copy of Name of the Star. Now, here's the thing. I get nervous easily, so I fake my confidence quite a bit. And seeing as I almost whacked my head on a lamp, it didn't go that well. But Maureen was lovely and must have been shattered seeing as she literally came from a book-signing (I bet the line was full of Nerdfighters! DFTBA!!!!). And I'm not sure why I was nervous around her when I was chatting with her one-to-one as a group of us chatted to her while drinking tea and eating scones about Misfits, John Green, Alex Day & Charlie MacDonald (Nerimon & CharlieIsSoCoolLike for those of you who use YouTube).
After the event, when having a quick drink, chatted quickly to Will Hill over his iPad (I know. How rock and roll) and going "He's random and cool. And where the hell did he get that T-Shirt from? WANT!") and with that, I left to return to the PIW at Westfield and hope he didn't spend too much money.
Now, to HarperCollins, I want to give a quick thank you for inviting me. It was a lovely afternoon!
PS - HarperCollins gave us a mysterious USB stick, which is rumoured to have extra content (video, extracts, etc). Haven't plugged it into my computer yet but will soon...!