September First Monday Crime Event

I have been taking a little bit of an unplanned blogging break for the past two weeks but couldn’t resist sharing my experience last week when I attended the September session of the First Monday Crime Event.

The night featured a host of brilliant authors including, Sophie Hannah author of a number of psychological novels and has recently penned two new Hercule Poirot novels, Tim Weaver author of the successful David Raker series, Rod Reynolds author of the superb Texarkana novels featuring Charlie Yates and debut psychological thriller author Jane Corry.

This was yet another superb night filled with criminal discussions, wine, books, fun and ended with drinks in the local pub.

During the session the authors discussed their inspiration behind their novels, Sophie Hannah was approached by her agent and the Agatha Christie estate to write a new Hercule Poirot novel. Sophie has always been a big fan of Agatha Christie’s novels which are usually ‘puzzle based mysteries’ which she has replicated in the Poirot novels.

Tim Weaver created the David Raker series who features a missing persons investigator still coming to terms with the death of his wife and wanted through his series to ‘give a sense of who the missing people are and Raker.’

Rod Reynolds is a big fan of noir novels and has set his new novel Black Night Falling in the 1940s in Hot Springs, Arkansas, which was ‘the mobs vacation.’ He discovered this little gem of a place while researching his first novel The Dark Inside. Black Night Falling sees reporter Charlie Yates thrown head first into trouble struggling to do the right thing before it is too late.

Jane Corry spent a few years as a writer in residence in a male prison. This experience changed her writing voice creating a darker humorous tone. Jane wanted to stretch family boundaries in My Husbands Wife which I think she does a fab job of as well as featuring a male prison and a charismatic prisoner who rocks one of the main protagonists, Lily’s life.

The authors also discussed the pros and cons of using a lot of physical characterisations within crime novels and the dreaded plotting question. Overall, this was yet another fabulous evening showcasing a range of amazing crime writers.

The next First Monday event will be in October and will feature SJ Watson, Antonia Hodgson, Stuart Neville and William Ryan. Tickets can be purchased here.

Don’t forget to follow at @1stMondayCrime for updates on all their upcoming events.

Don’t forget to follow all of the authors on Twitter as well:


Now for the featured novels:

Closed Casket by Sophie Hannah is the second in the new Hercule Poirot mysteries which sees the return of Hercule Poirot and Inspector Edward Catchpool who has been invited to a house party by Lady Athelinda Playford at her mansion in County Cork, but it is no ordinary gathering. As guests arrive, Lady Playford summons her lawyer to make an urgent change to her will – one she intends to announce at dinner that night  She has decided to cut off her two children without a penny and leave her fortune to someone who has only weeks to live. But after Lady Playford’s announcement a killer strikes…

Broken Heart by Tim Weaver is about a woman who drives to a secluded beauty spot on the Somerset coast. CCTV watches her enter but doesn’t see her leaving. In fact, Lynda Korin is never seen again. How can someone just disappear? Her sister calls missing persons investigator David Raker. For him, the mystery of where she went is only the start. The real question is why a woman with no reason to run would choose to leave her entire life behind? Was it her decision? Or did someone make it for her? Raker is an expert at following the echoes of decades-old lies. But only Lynda Korin knows the most shocking secret of all – and she’s missing, presumed dead…

Black Night Falling by Rod Reynolds is set a few months after The Dark Inside (Reynold’s debut novel) where reporter Charlie Yates, having left Texarkana for the safety of the West Coast finds himself drawn back to the South, to Hot Springs, Arkansas, as an old acquaintance asks for his help. This time it’s less of a story Charlie’s chasing, more of a desperate attempt to do the right thing before it’s too late.

My Husbands Wife by Jane Corry asks the question what if your life was built on a lie? When lawyer Lily marries Ed, she’s determined to make a fresh start. To leave the secrets of the past behind. But when she takes on her first criminal case, she starts to find herself strangely drawn to her client. A man who’s accused of murder. A man she will soon be willing to risk everything for. But is he really innocent? And who is she to judge?

July First Monday Crime Round-Up

So this week I had the pleasure of both assisting and attending the July First Monday Crime event which was sponsored by Killer Reads.

The panel consisted of debut authors Anna Mazzola and Beth Lewis, successful crime novelists Andrew Taylor who is the author of a number of crime and historical novels and Stephen Booth who is the author of the Cooper and Fry series. Keeping the panel in check as panel chair was Claire McGowan author of the Paula Maguire series who also runs the MA in crime thriller novels at City University – the very same course I’m currently studying on.

This was a fantastic, lively evening where the authors each discussed where they found the idea for their stories, the importance of setting, research, writing strong female characters who are morally ambivalent and top tips for aspiring writers, much like myself.

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The evening finished with a fab goodie bag, the opportunity to buy those all important books which the authors signed and a drink at the pub.

July Goodie Bag

The ideas behind the books: Beth was inspired by a TV show (she wouldn’t share which show this was), Anna found the story of Sarah Gale mentioned in the Suspicions of Mr Whicher and researched it, Andrew loves imagery and was inspired by the aftermath of the Great Fire of London in 1666 and Stephen was inspired by the beautiful setting of the Peak District ‘which is a good place to find a body.’

 

Top tips from the writers:

Stephen Booth: ‘There’s no such thing as writers block. Just write. Sit down and write because its your job.’

Andrew Taylor: ‘Write one line a day because that line could turn into a sentence, then a paragraph then into a chapter. Writers write.’

Beth Lewis: ‘You need discipline to finish a book. You’ve got to teach yourself to finish that book, don’t move onto the next shiny idea.’

Anna: ‘Think about your book last thing at night before you go to bed.’

 

So now for the fab books:

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The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola is set in London in 1837 and is the story of Sarah Gale, a seamstress and mother who has been sentenced to hang for her role in the murder of Hannah Brown but petitions the king for mercy. Edmund Fleetwood is appointed to investigate but he is struggling with his own demons. Edmund is determined to seek out the truth. Yet Sarah refuses to help him, neither lying nor adding anything to the evidence gathered in court. Edmund knows she’s hiding something, but needs to discover just why she’s maintaining her silence. For how can it be that someone would willingly go to their own death?

Wolf Road by Beth Lewis is a debut literary thriller. What do you do when the man who gave you everything turns out to be a killer? Since the Damn Stupid turned the clock back on civilization by centuries, the world has been a harsher place. But Elka has learned everything she needs to survive from the man she calls Trapper, the solitary hunter who took her in when she was just seven years old. So when Elka sees the Wanted poster in town, her simple existence is shattered. Her Trapper  is wanted for murder and Magistrate Lyon is hot on his trail, and she wants to talk to Elka. So Elka flees into the vast wilderness, determined to find her true parents. But Lyon is never far behind – and she’s not the only one following Elka’s every move.

Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor is a historical thriller set during the time of the Great Fire of London. London, September 1666. The Great Fire rages through the city, consuming everything in its path. Among the crowds watching its destruction is James Marwood, son of a disgraced printer, and reluctant government informer. In the aftermath of the fire, a semi-mummified body is discovered in the ashes of St. Paul’s, in a tomb that should have been empty. The man’s body has been mutilated and his thumbs have been tied behind his back. Under orders from the government, Marwood is tasked with hunting down the killer across the devastated city. But at a time of dangerous internal dissent and the threat of foreign invasion, Marwood finds his investigation leads him into treacherous waters – and across the path of a determined, beautiful and vengeful young woman.

Secrets of Death by Stephen Booth is the 16th novel in the Cooper and Fry series set in the Peak District. A series of suicides from tourists throughout the Peaks throws Detective Inspector Ben Cooper and his team in Derbyshire’s E Division into a race against time to find a connection to these seemingly random acts – with no way of predicting where the next body will turn up. Meanwhile, in Nottingham Detective Sergeant Diane Fry finds a key witness has vanished…But what are the mysterious Secrets of Death? And is there one victim whose fate wasn’t suicide at all?

 

The next First Monday event will be coming up in September after a break over the summer so don’t forget to follow at @1stMondayCrime for updates on all their upcoming events.

Don’t forget to follow all of the authors on Twitter as well:

June First Monday Crime

So the beginning of this week was the return of the First Monday Crime evening event which pulled out all the stops with a panel made up of crime writers Mark Hardie, debut author, Sharon Bolton, Chris Morgan Jones, Peter James and chaired by James Kidd.

This was another fantastic, lively evening full of fascinating stories about snakes, creepy-crawlies, bears, sheepdogs, serial killers and burnt bodies – and that was just the tip of the iceberg!

During the panel event the authors discussed each of their books in turn, the themes in their novels, the difficulties of writing, research, characters, the dreaded plotting conundrum, what scares them, the pressures of writing a novel better than their previous one and top tips for aspiring writers like myself!

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So now for the books:

Mark Hardie,@Markhardiecrime, is the debut author of the gritty crime novel Burned and Broken which features DS Frank Pearson and DC Catherine Russell from the Essex Police Major Investigation Team who are called in to investigate their colleague, the subject of an internal investigation, who is found burned to death in his car. Mark lost his sight 14 years ago but doesn’t let this get in the way of his passion for writing and is currently writing his second novel.

Sharon Bolton,@AuthorSJBolton, is the author of the Lacy Flint series and has written five standalone novels including her recently published novel Daisy in Chains. This novel features Hamish Wolfe who is a serial killer serving time in prison with his own fan club but he has set sights on Maggie Rose, a successful lawyer and true-crime writer who believes she’s immune to the charms of a man like this – but maybe not this time . . .

Chris Morgan Jones, @ChrisMJAuthor, is the author of the Ben Webster spy series. His new novel The Searcher features Isaac Hammer, Webster’s boss, who is under arrest for tapping phones, hacking emails and bribing police.But this isn’t Hammer’s work – this was Ben Webster who has gone missing and last seen in Tbilisi. Hammer has no choice but to break bail to bring back the wanted man but someone is ready to kill him and everyone dear to him to stop him stumbling towards the truth . . .

Peter James,@peterjamesuk, is the author of the Roy Grace detective series set in Brighton. His newest novel, Love You Dead is the twelfth book in the series which sees DS Roy Grace feeling the pressure over his previous case and struggling over the developments in the case of his missing wife. But Grace must face his toughest case yet because a Black Widow is operating in his city. One with a venomous mind . . . and venomous skills.

I’m going to finish this post with a quote from Sharon Bolton from the evening; ‘We are only as good as our last book.’ I’m confident that none of these authors have anything to worry about – fit there blurbs are anything to go by they’ll be as fab as ever!

Books June

Don’t forget to follow all the authors on Twitter to discover more about their novels and make sure to follow First Monday at @1stMondayCrime for updates on their upcoming events.

The next First Monday Crime is in July and will feature authors; Andrew Taylor, Stephen Booth, Anna Mazzola, Beth Lewis and chaired by the fab Claire McGowan which I’m really looking forward to!

 

Orenda Book Publishers Event

On Thursday I had the pleasure of attending the Orenda Book Publishers Salon Event at Waterstones Piccadilly.

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Orenda Book Publishers are an independent book publishing company, the brainchild of Karen Sullivan, who publish literary fiction but with a heavy emphasis on the crime and thriller genre.

This was a fabulously informal event which featured 12 amazing authors, published by Orenda, discussing each of their books in turn. Each author spoke a little bit about what their novels are about, the themes in their novel, their characters and how they became a published author.

The event also featured wine, cupcakes with pictures of the novels on, book signings and time at the end to talk to the authors.

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So for the featured authors and novels:

David Ross is a scottish author and has penned two novels; The Last Days of Disco and The Rise and Fall of the Miraculous Vespers. Both of these novels are set in the 1980s; The Last Days of Disco features to young boys setting up a mobile disco and his second novel follows on from his first and is written in vernicular. – @dfr10.

Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trolliop from South Africa and has penned two novels; A Death in the Family and Deadly Harvest with a third due out soon. Deadly Harvest is set against the beautiful but harsh landscape of Botswana. –@detectivekubu.

Kati Hiekkapelto is an author from Finland and has written the Hummingbird and the Defenceless. The Defenceless is the second in a police series which features drugs, gangs and a protagonist originally from Yugoslavia who now lives in Finland but still feels like an outsider. – @HiekkapeltoKati.

Matt Johnson is the author of Wicked Game. Wicked Game is the story of Robert Finlay, an ex-army soldier now turned police officer who faces a race against an unknown enemy who is murdering police officers – will Robert be next? Check out my review of Wicked Game here. – @Matt_Johnson_UK.

Amanda Jennings is the author of the beautiful psychological thriller In Her Wake. Amanda is half cornish which one one of the many reasons she sets her novel in Cornwall. This is her third published book. Check out my review of in her wake here. – @MandaJJennings.

Yusuf Toropov is the author of thriller Jihadi: A Love Story. Which contains two competing voices set in a world of terrorism but shows love amongst the wreckage. It features an intelligence officer who is wrongly accused of terrorism and is sucked into the prison system. – @LiteraryStriver.

Louise Beech author of How to Be Brave contains two very personal stories to her which she wove into fiction. She said ‘there are a number of braveries in this book,’ which in turn inspired the title. “If you know how to be happy, if you know how to be sad then you know how to be brave.” – @LouiseWriter.

Paul E Hardisty author of The Abrupt Physics of Dying and The Evolution of Fear. They both feature Paul’s fab protagonist Clay Straker and spoke about how he writes about Clay’s fears and how they control him against a backdrop of evil and terrorism. –@Hardisty_Paul.

Michael Grothaus is the debut author of Epiphany Jones, a story with a strong emotional core which is features the protagonist Jerry. Jerry suffers from psychotic delusions and becomes entangled in the world of sex-trafficking amongst the Hollywood elite. –@michaelgrothaus.

Michael J Malone is the author of A Suitable Lie, a new psychological thriller which features Andy Boyd whose first wife dies in chidbirth. Then he finds love again with Anna, marries er and then things go horribly wrong. This novel is out in September 2016 but is available to preorder.- @michaelJmalone1.

Steph Broadribb, also known as Crime Thriller Girl, is the debut author of Deep Down Dead – an action thriller set in America which features Lori, a single mother and bounty hunter who has three days to find and capture JT. But Lori and JT have a past. Deep Down Dead is out in January 2017. – @crimethrillgirl.

Su Bristow, is the author of Sealskin, which is a new twist on the selkie story; the scottish legend of the selkies, or seals who can turn into people. This is out next year in 2017. –@SuBristow.

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Rooftop Book Club Crime Event

On Tuesday evening I was delighted to attend the Rooftop Book Club Crime evening hosted by Headline Publishers and Crime Files at Carmelite House where Headline Publishers are based.IMG_3033

This was a very intimate event with wine, nibbles and author book signings while boasting a gorgeous view of London’s Skyline. By the end of the event each attendee left with a fantastic goodie bag with FOUR early proof copies of new upcoming crime novels which I am very excited to read!

 

The event itself consisted of two panels made up of six fabulous British crime authors discussing their new novels and all things crime. The first panel featured Elly Griffiths, Claire McGowan, J.S Law and was chaired by Jake Kerridge. The panel discussed the settings in their novels, different communities reflected in their settings, the borderlands and between places, enclosed settings, the benefits of using made up places and the idea of whether the setting should be seen as a character within itself.IMG_3009.JPGA Q&A followed each panel – after the first panel a member of the audience asked a great question about settings in future novels and what the authors’ best and worst settings would be? This turned into a lively discussion about locked rooms, weird islands, historical settings, the suburbs and the dreaded places that everyone knows very well like Waterloo Station.

The second panel featured Janet Ellis, Sarah Hilary, Antonia Hodgson and was chaired by Antonia Senior. The panel was titled London past and present and discussed the wonderful city of London with its unique smell, anonymity, those weird places on the outskirts, different London boroughs, the rich versus poor and how they researched the different areas of London featured in their novels. Sarah Hilary went on to beguile the audience with tales of Battersea Power station, Janet Ellis discussed Primrose Hill in Georgian England and Antonia Hodgson spoke about how revolting London was during the Georgian period with its vomit, blood, guts and a big sense of desperation which she has described within her two novels.IMG_3031.JPG

This was a lively and fun evening jam packed with crime authors, publishers, bloggers and like-minded crime readers. There will be similar events from the Rooftop Book Club so don’t forget to follow them on twitter @RooftopBookClub to keep up to date with more fantastic evenings.IMG_3001.JPG

And now for the featured authors:

Elly Griffiths, @ellygriffiths, author of the riveting Dr Ruth Galloway series set in windswept Norfolk and the Stephens and Mephisto series set in 1950s Brighton.

Claire McGowan,@inkstainsclaire, author of the captivating Paula Maguire series, standalone novel The Fall and writer of Women’s general fiction under the pen name Eva Woods.

J. S Law, @JSLawBooks, debut author of Tenacity, a novel set in a Submarine. This will be part of a series featuring Lieutenant Danielle Lewis.

Janet Ellis, @missjanetellis, debut author of The Butcher’s Hook set in the summer of 1763 which has been shortlisted for the Desmond Elliot Prize 2016.

Sarah Hilary, @sarah_hilary,author of the amazing DI Marnie Rome series.

Antonia Hodgson, @AntoniaHodgson,author of the Devil in the Marshalsea and the Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins novels.

First Monday Crime Event

This week I went to the First Monday Crime Event, hosted by Goldsboro Books which was held at City University. This is a new crime/thriller evening which will be held in Central London on the first Monday of every month and which will feature a range of amazing best-selling authors.

The event was an instant hit and featured an awesome panel of authors; Leye Adenle, Elly Griffiths, Mary Paulson-Ellis, Amanda Jennings and chaired by Barry Forshaw. The authors discussed their recent novels, their debuts, their experience at submitting the first draft, book themes, the dreaded second novel syndrome, plotting and the notion of a tidy desk.

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They all gave some great recommendations of crime authors they love including; Wilkie Collins, Edgar Allen Poe, anything by Charles Dickens, Lizzie Thompson, Isabelle Grey and Pace Setter Novels from MacMillian Publishers.

IMG_2962This lively and fun evening featured cupcakes, wine and some fantastic goody bags from Orenda Books. After the panel discussion there was even a chance to buy the books and to get these signed by the authors – which is something I always look forward to at events! The evening ended with a lot of socialising down the local pub.

If you get the chance I would recommend anyone who loves crime/thriller novels to go. There is a small £5 charge to attend but with a friendly, fun and lively atmosphere I think it is definitely worth it.

 

To find out more about the next event or to book tickets visit the Goldsboro books events page here or follow @1stMondayCrime.

The Featured Books:

Brit Noir by Barry Forshaw: The Pocket Essential Guide to British Crime Fiction, Film and TV.

Easy Motion Tourist by Leye Adenle

Blurb: Guy Collins, a British hack, is hunting for an election story in Lagos. A decision to check out a local bar in Victoria Island ends up badly – a mutilated female body is discarded close by and Collins is picked up as a suspect. In the murk of a hot, groaning and bloody police station cell, Collins fears the worst. But then Amaka, a sassy guardian angel of Lagos working girls, talks the police station chief around. She assumes Collins is a BBC journo who can broadcast the city’s witchcraft and body parts trade that she’s on a one-woman mission to stop.

Smoke and Mirrors by Elly Griffiths

Blurb: Brighton, winter 1951.

Pantomime season is in full swing on the pier with Max Mephisto starring in Aladdin, but Max’s headlines have been stolen by the disappearance ­­of two local children. When they are found dead in the snow, surrounded by sweets, it’s not long before the press nickname them ‘Hansel and Gretel’.

DI Edgar Stephens has plenty of leads to investigate. The girl, Annie, used to write gruesome plays based on the Grimms’ fairy tales. Does the clue lie in Annie’s unfinished – and rather disturbing – last script? Or might it lie with the eccentric theatricals who have assembled for the pantomime?

In Her Wake by Amanda Jennings

Blurb: A tragic family event reveals devastating news that rips apart Bella’s comfortable existence. Embarking on a personal journey to uncover the truth, she faces a series of traumatic discoveries that take her to the ruggedly beautiful Cornish coast, where hidden truths, past betrayals and a 25-year-old mystery threaten not just her identity, but her life.

The Other Mrs Walker by Mary Paulson-Ellis 

Blurb: Somehow she’d always known that she would end like this. In a small square room, in a small square flat. In a small square box, perhaps. Cardboard, with a sticker on the outside. And a name . . 

In a freezing, desolate Edinburgh flat an old woman takes her last breath surrounded by the few objects she has accrued over a lifetime: an emerald dress, a brazil nut engraved with the ten commandments – and six orange pips sucked dry.

Meanwhile, guided by the flip of a coin, Margaret Penny arrives back at her old family home, escaping a life in London recently turned to ash. Faced with relying on a resentful mother she has never really known, Margaret soon finds herself employed by the Office for Lost People, tasked with finding the families of the dead: the neglected, the abandoned, the lost. Her instructions are to uncover paperwork, yet the only thing Mrs Walker, the old woman in her current case, left behind is a series of peculiar objects.

But in the end it is these objects that will unravel Mrs Walker’s real story: a story rooted in the London grime and moving from the 1930s to the present day, a story of children abandoned and lost, of beguiling sisters and misplaced mothers, of deception and thievery, family secrets and the very deepest of betrayals; in which the extraordinary circular nature of life will glitter from the page. For in uncovering the astonishing tale of an old woman who died alone, Margaret will finally discover her own story too . . .

 

 

Deal Noir 2016

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending Deal Noir, a convention for crime writers, aspiring writers, bloggers and for those beloved fans of crime fiction.

There’s a time and a place for everything: The event kicked of with a lively debate with Craig Sisterson, Guy Fraser-Sampson, Linda Regan, Daniel Pembrey and William Shaw, focusing on the importance of setting in crime fiction, why each author picked the location for their own novels and what it said about the characters.

Panel one

Craig Sisterson, Guy Fraser-Sampson, Linda Regan, Daniel Pembrey and William Shaw

The next panel New Blood featured the debut authors; Simon Booker, Sarah Ward, SJI Holliday and Alison Baillie which featured a number of great tips on how each author became published, what influenced their writing and their own writing journeys’.

After a quick break, a funny and engaging session Around the World in 80 Slays kicked off featuring Edward Wilson, William Ryan, Piergiorgio Pulixi, Quentin Bates and Yrsa Sigurdardottir, bringing an international flavour to the conference. The session discussed characters in crime writing, how to approach research and discussed their own personal experiences visiting or living in different countries which feature in the author’s stories including; Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Russia, Italy, Auschwitz and Baltimore.

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Edward Wilson, William Ryan, Piergiorgio Pulixi, Quentin Bates and Yrsa Sigurdardottir

May the Force Be With You was a interesting session with a range of current or ex-military and police officers, David Videcette, Lisa Cutts, Michael Fowler and Matt Johnson. This panel discussed the transition from being in the police force to writing and becoming a published author. It also featured some information about the British police force and how this influenced their own writing.

After lunch the conference restarted with The Life and Crimes of Agatha Christie with Dr John Curran and David Brawn. This was an insight into the well-loved novels of Agatha Christie and how Harper Collins Publishers have changed the way they market their novels to target a new generation. I was delighted with the cheeky reveal of the cover for Closed Casket, the new Hercule Poirot novel penned by Sophie Hannah which will be released later this year.

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Watching the Detectives was a engaging panel  moderated by Ayo Onatade, featuring the authors, Andrew Taylor, Susan Moody, Simon Brett and John Harvey, discussed what it is like to write a crime series, the pros and cons of writing about an amateur detective and the type of crime series they like to read themselves.

The highlight of the event for me was the Leading Ladies panel with Alison Joseph, Elly Griffiths, Alex Marwood, Sarah Hilary and Elizabeth Haynes. This was a lively discussion about the gender question in crime fiction, the crime victims, the psychopaths, dodgy subsidiary characters, how they plot a novel and each author’s central characters.

The event came to close with Criminal Cabaret with Simon Brett, reading out some of his own humorous works of fiction and a wine reception giving us a chance to talk to the authors and to get those newly purchased books signed. This was my first time attending this event which had such a lovely and friendly atmosphere – I’m very much looking forward to going again next year!

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