Well the Melbourne Writers Festival is over for another year and what a great festival it was. This year I got to more sessions than I've ever managed before. I discovered for myself the truth of the saying "If you want something done ask a busy person".
The first session I attended was "Creating History" with Lisa Lang (Utopian Man), Peter Rose (The Rose Boys) and Michael Meehan (Below the Styx). This session was free through my work and I've blogged about it here. As I'm still keen to finish my historic novel I was interested to hear what other writers were doing with history. The most helpful advice from this session came from Michael Meehan, who said 'It's not so much what happened but how it felt'. He said 'People read for sensation and feeling not facts. Reality and truth is where you start but not where you finish'.
On the following Monday I attended a session with Kate Forsyth and Ben Chandler called "Worlds of our own creation". As you know, I interviewed Kate and her sister Belinda last month. This was my chance to meet Kate face to face and get her to sign a copy of her book The Puzzle Ring for my son. This session was also of interest to me given my on-again-off-again romance with my own fantasy novel in progress. Kate said she writes the kind of books she likes to read; puts into them everything she likes; leaves out everything she doesn't like. She makes it sound so easy! She likes to write about a world at a point of change. Ben writes what is most commonly referred to as "steampunk" (Quillblade). He said 'there used to be an either or' when it came to technology (sci-fi) and magic (fantasy), but that now 'they blend and interplay', which I think is a good thing.
The next session I attended was "The Lure of Ancient Magic". The session wasn't as lively as I thought it would be; it was a little disjointed, but I still enjoyed hearing from Carole Wilkinson about her Dragonkeeper series. One of the most interesting things Carole shared was that 'she didn't even think about writing until she was thirty-eight'. Karen Healey is a relative newcomer, but her debut novel Guardian of the Dead, which is steeped in Māori mythology, sounds superb and is now on my "must read" list. Carole and Karen both believe that the editing stage of writing is the best part of the process, and that getting the first draft written is the hardest.
On the final day of the festival Rob & I attended "The Long Road" with John & Jack Faine. Father and son shared some of the highlights of their inspiring road-trip, from Melbourne to London (From here to There), with some stunning slides as a back drop to the discussion. Lastly we listened to Steve Toltz (A Fracion of the Whole), Rebecca James (Beautiful Malice) and Angelo Loukakis (Houdini's Flight) in conversation with Louise Swinn. "Unravelling Secrets" wasn't exactly what I was expecting but I enjoyed it none the less.
So how about you? Did you check out the festival this year? What were the highlights for you?
Books bought (yay! books!)
The Puzzle Ring
Rocks in the Belly
Torpedo Greatest Hits
How a Moth becomes a Boat