Monday, 5 November 2012

Fizzle and Pop (Author Talks)

By Ruth Symes / Megan Rix

Some authors love giving talks about their books and have a natural talent for it. Others find the whole thing terrifying. I think I’m in the middle, usually when I accept the invitation I like the idea, on the morning of the day I wonder why on earth I ever said yes, love doing the actual talk once I’ve started it, and am happy once it’s done.

There's thousands of horror stories of poor author's travelling for hours, through torrential rain and snow storms, only to find no one's coming to their event, or worse the event organiser has forgotten they were even coming. This did actually happen to me (minus the weather). I was invited back for a second visit to a bookstore at a shopping centre after the first had gone really well – you'd think you’d be safe on a second visit!!! But when I got there I was told sorry we don’t have you down as visiting us and the staff member who arranged it is not here today… Grrr… The only good thing was that when I went to buy a coffee in Debenhams to console myself I was served by the mother of a little boy who’d been very quiet at the previous event. She told me how once they’d got home (he was three) he went tearing round the house with his new book and proceeded to sing the song we’d sang and remembered all the dance moves and wanted to make a Harriet Dancing butterfly which he’d been too shy to do during the actual event.

Sorry sidetrack thought – but what is it with parents of toddlers being so competitive about who can do the best colouring-in and make the best craft flower and then say their child did it????

I've given talks for all different ages from 6 months old to 86 years young. Usually I love doing talks and events around my picture books – but then who wouldn’t like stamping about and growling with a Little Rex puppet at Narberth Festival or butterfly dancing with Dancing Harriet at Wytchwood and Bath Festivals?

This year I took part in ‘Scarefest’ organized by Formby Books to promote my Bella Donna stories and came on stage as an incompetent witch, complete with a broomstick full of fairy lights, who needed the children's help. I was also hobbling about as I’d sprained my ankle the day before.
There must be something in this

 My alter ego, Megan Rix, has had more invitations to talk about The Great Escape than I can accept (have to get some writing done after all!) and so Puffin are kindly organizing a promotional tour for my second book in the series ‘Victory Dogs’ from the 29-April - 3 May 2013 with a book signing at my favourite Bedford Watersones on the 4th, hopefully. They’re my favourite because they always welcome my golden retriever, Traffy, along too and make a big fuss of her. If I can take my dog along to an event I’m happy – she’s a Pets As Therapy dog who’s just about to start doing the Read2Dogs school scheme; a total softy who loves being fussed.  

The biggest and best difference between talks given by myself as Megan Rix and myself as Ruth Symes, from my POV, is that as Megan Rix I have Hannah from Puffin to organize things. With Hannah on board Megan Rix’s talks now come with power-point presentations and lovely photos of some of the amazing search and rescue dogs in WW2 that saved hundreds of lives.

Best of all I like having Hannah there (if I can’t have Traffy) because it means I have someone to laugh with when/if something goes wrong.

Talks by Megan can be arranged via 
Megan's website is Her latest book is The Great Escape

Ruth’s website is www.ruthsymes.comRuth’s latest book is Cat Magic reviewed by Ed's Reading Room as 'another magical tale by this fantastic writer.'

My other dog Bella wearing her Halloween wings

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