Books and The City Spring Blogger Evening

Not to forget Heidi Swain who’s name was missing on the invitation!

On Tuesday 17th March I attended Book and the City (BATC)’s first book blogger event – Spring Blogger Evening – held at their office headquarters near Chancery Lane in London. What a great way to end St. Patrick’s Day!

I must apologise to Sara-Jade Virtue and the rest of my amazing hosts at BATC for being so remiss in not posting about the fabulous evening until now.
This was my first ever bloggers event and, needless to say, I was VERY nervous!! I decided to take the train into London as I had heard whispers that there may be a few glasses of fizz available and I certainly did not want to risk missing out on that! 😉
I arrived at BATC’s offices just before the start time of 6pm. After signing in and being greeted at the lifts with my name badge, I made my way into the conference room for some refreshments before the evening began. I looked around the room and, although  I had not previously met any of my fellow bloggers, I immediately recognised some faces. This is where my own twitter/blog lets me down slightly as I use an avatar rather than a personal picture which, for obvious reasons, makes it difficult for people to recognise me – So fellow bloggers, as a warning for the next event I attend, I am very tall (approx. 5ft 10in) with long red hair – keep a look out for me and say hi!!!

After meeting a few friendly people, we were then led into the nighbouring room where a panel of 5 fabulous authors were ready and waiting to give us a reading of their recent/upcoming books, followed by a very interesting Q&A session hosted by Commissioning Editor Clare Hey. I should also point out that BATC kindly provided all bloggers with a goody bag which included an exclusive Chapter Sampler of the books being highlighted during the talk.

The first author to ‘do their bit’ was Jane Costello, reading from her upcoming novel ‘The Love Shack‘ which is due for publication on 23rd April. Jane’s reading was absolutely hilarious and I cannot wait to grab a copy of this book!! The book focuses around a couple living with a difficult mother-in-law whilst attempting to buy their dream house. Jane had the entire room in laughter with her very well-chosen extract.

Next up was Iona Grey reading from her debut novel ‘Letters to the Lost‘ which is also being released on 23rd April. Iona’s novel flits between present day and the past, telling the tale of the romance between two people during WW2. Iona gave a beautifully moving reading and I can only say that I am hugely relieved that I have this book ready and waiting on my Kindle as I would struggle to wait until publication day! I cannot wait to get stuck in.

The third author was Andy Jones, reading from his debut novel ‘The Two of Us‘. This book is already available as an e-book and is released in paperback on 7th May. The book focuses on a romance between two everyday individuals and, I must say, it was a pleasure to read such a book written from a male perspective for a change. I was actually reading this book on the train ride to London for the bloggers evening and was 66% of the way through by the time I heard Andy read. I have since finished the book and would thoroughly recommend it! Andy is a natural comedian and his Q&A session particularly had everyone in fits of giggles.

Fourth on the list was Heidi Swain reading from her debut novel ‘The Cherry Tree Cafe‘ which is released on 16th July. This follows the story of Lizzie, who finds herself unceremoniously dumped and who then returns home to sort her life out. The chosen extract was lovely and I’m looking forward to reading more!

Last but not least was veteran rom-com author Milly Johnson reading from her newest novel ‘Afternoon Tea at the Sunflower Cafe‘ which is due for publication on 18th June. It focuses on a wronged-wife planning to set up a rival business in order to wreak revenge on her wandering husband. I’ve read several of Milly’s earlier novels and I can honestly say that I don’t think this was is going to disappoint.

After the talks and formal Q&A sessions, us bloggers were given the chance to ask questions, although I was too shy to do so!
Meet & greet – book signing

It was then time for some Prosecco (we could hear the corks popping in the other room during Milly’s session!!), nibbles and a chance for us to meet the fabulous authors and get our Chapter Sampler signed. It was great to get a chance to talk to the authors, albeit very briefly, although I seemed to have missed the opportunity to talk with Heidi! Hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to meet her soon at another event.

The goodie bag and a selection of books from the event
A generous selection of books was left even after we had all go stuck in!!

The lovely SJV had advised us earlier in the evening that the huge amount of books displayed were not only for show but were also for us to take home! This was hugely generous of BATC, particularly if you saw the sheer amount of books on display and especially having already given each blogger a fantasic goodie bag. I initially felt a bit shy about helping myself, however towards the end of the evening I decided that it would be rude not to pick a few books and I ended up filling up a tote bag with enough books to keep me going for a good few months (or a couple of weeks – this was my husband’s comment when I got home!)

Unfortunately, I was so busy enjoying myself that I forgot to take many photographs!
A special mention also has to go to Dawn Burnett, Marketing Director at BATC, who I understand was responsible for making the AMAZING cupcakes. I really cannot explain in words how delicious the carrot ones were!
So, thank you to the lovely SJV, the team at BATC and all of the amazing authors for making my first bookish event hugely entertaining and interesting. It was fantastic to meet so many lovely people and I hope that I have the opportunity to meet you all again soon 🙂

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