Saturday found me in Derby, at my first ever EdgeLit sci-fi/fantasy book convention. This is an annual event, staged at The Quad in Derby city centre by the talented Alex Davies and his crew. I’d heard lots about it in previous years, but had always been double-booked somewhere else. This year, with my publisher Fox Spirit and numerous of their writers attending, I just had to get along.
This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Derby is some way from Windermere, but thanks to an overnight stop near Birmingham and a reasonably straightforward train journey, I arrived in Derby only half an hour after things had kicked off.
Straight away I was made to feel welcome, with nice people greeting me at the door (well, not just me, you understand, but everyone who was turning up!), plus a lanyard with my name on it and a goodie bag stuffed full of books, flyers, and other, um, goodies.
After a quick pick-me-up cuppa in the Quad’s stylish bar I headed to the top floor and introduced myself to Adele Wearing, the head honcho of Fox Spirit. She had some copies of my book Got Ghosts? for me to sign, so armed with a pen I scribed my name in those and had a lovely chat with her, her partner, and a handful of authors who wandered past.
Released again, I explored some of the many bookstalls, then bumped into two fellow Fox Spirit authors, Chloe Yates and Kate Laity, both of whom I’ve known online for years but have never met in real life before. It was absolutely lovely to meet them both; we hit it off instantly and spent the next couple of hours gossiping about books, reading, writing, and Life In General (TM), and very nice it was too.
EdgeLit is clearly much bigger than I’d given it credit for. By luncthime it was getting really crowded and the venue, though lovely, was a tad on the warm side. (Hardly surprising, since the outside temperature was around 26c with blistering sun – this heatwave we’re having in the UK shows little sign of ending any time soon). I grabbed an early lunch – nice home made pea and mint soup – and another cuppa, but I don’t do so well in the heat and by 2pm I was starting to flag. I managed to stay upright long enough to say my goodbyes, then set off on the long-ish walk back to the railway station, passing some lovely old railway cottages and fascinating pubs and shops on route.
Although I lugged my camera all the way there I didn’t really have time to take many pictures, which is a shame. But I did grab this one, of the nice old Royal Oak House (with a date of 1809 on it) which was right opposite The Quad. It turns out to be the Register Office for Derby and we were treated to a colourful procession of wedding parties for much of the day.
EdgeLit itself goes on into the evening and if it had been less baking I’d have liked to stay longer. I’d also have liked to be better organised, since I forgot to check the schedule and had missed the two panels I was most interested in by the time I thought to look! Hopefully I can try again next year, but this was a lovely ‘taster’ of what I can expect next time I go along.