BristolCon has always been one of my favourite conventions. I’ve been to every one since the first, eight years ago, and it has remained one of the friendliest and most enjoyable conventions I’ve known. Plus, I only live about twenty minutes from the hotel, so that’s also a big plus.
This year, the relaxed, all-friends-together vibe was still in place, and it was fantastic to spend time with friends and fellow authors. My workshop for aspiring writers went very well. It was fully-subscribed and the attendees asked lots of good and interesting questions, on subjects including: how to pitch to an agent; which rights you should offer a publisher; whether or not you should write an entire series before submitting the first book; and dozens of others.
I found this format to be much more useful than the traditional kaffeeklatsch format, in that the subject guided the conversation, and I felt I was providing useful information, rather than just talking about myself for an hour.
Next, I took part in a panel discussion on writing during times of crisis, emotional upheaval and illness. It was a serious subject that touched on some intense and personal themes, but I tried to keep my answers as light as possible, and the audience seemed appreciative of our discussion.
The big surprise of the day was sprung on me with only a few hours notice. The lovely Ed Cox had been taken ill, and I was asked to take his place interviewing one of the guests of honour, Sarah Pinborough. It isn’t easy conducting a 45 minute on-stage interview with no time for preparation. Luckily, Sarah’s an entertaining and talkative guest, and the time flew past.
After that, we retired to the bar for drink and conversation well into the night. Looking around the tables at around 10:30 pm, I couldn’t help but find myself humming a few lines from the Cheers theme – lines which sum up the BristolCon experience:
Sometimes you want to go
where everybody knows your name,
and they’re always glad you came…