I am writing this blog from a train, having spent the weekend locked away in a hotel with forty wonderful children’s authors (all members of the Scattered Authors' Society, otherwise known as the 'other' SAS). And I have to say, it was a very lovely hotel to be locked away in, surrounded by trees and lakes and snowdrops.
OK, we weren’t actually locked away. We were all there by choice. And while I'm clearing up inaccuracies, I'm not in fact simply 'getting the train home'. I'm getting a...
- Taxi to the station;
- Train to London;
- Tube across London;
- Train to the airport;
- Flight to Newquay (not because I’m a posh jet setter who normally gets around via aeroplane, but because train lines in and out of Cornwall are currently out of action due to the recent storms);
- Lift home in a car.
I’m not saying all this in an attempt to impress anyone with my mammoth journey, but to show how much trouble I am willing to go to in order to spend a weekend with not only some of the finest children’s authors in the country, but some of the loveliest people to boot. (I don’t think I’ve ever used the expression ‘to boot’ before. I like it.)
In other words, it was a wonderful weekend.
As writers generally work at home on their own, you can perhaps imagine how we feel about getting together like this. It’s a bit like a group of work colleagues who have LOADS to talk about, but only get to hang out around the water cooler three times a year.
It’s not just a whole load of fun; you also learn things. So, here are ten things I learned this time.
1. Writers’ fortunes go up and down so much that we really shouldn’t worry too much when times are tough – or get complacent when they’re good. It’s probably all gonna look different when you come back and see everyone again next year.
2. The Scattered Authors’ Society will always support you in the former of those times and cheer for you in the latter.
3. Most children’s authors seem to have black swimming costumes.
4. Tim Collins is extremely good at coping with being surrounded by forty women (and is also very clever and very funny).
5. Anne Rooney is totally amazing at putting together huge amounts of interesting information and producing a fascinating PowerPoint presentation in the time it takes other people to sleep, have breakfast and brush their teeth.
6. Sally Nicholls will always be the winner if you get into a game of ‘How many people have you killed off in a single novel?’ (Unless you know anyone who has killed more than 45% of Europe.)
7. Malorie Blackman is, basically, wonderful.
8. If you get ten SAS members sitting in a bar at an event like this, you are quite likely to discover that you have 156 years' experience of the publishing industry around the table.
9. My A Level in Maths wasn’t all for nothing, as I managed to correctly work out the above without the use of a calculator.
10. When you’re running late with your blog post and haven’t got any ideas of your own, someone else will usually have a good one you can nick/share. Thanks Abie!
(Please head over to Abie Longstaff’s sister blog today!)
MASSIVE thanks to the wonderful duo, Mary Hoffman and Anne Rooney, for working so hard to put together such a fab weekend. Hope to see lots of you around the water cooler again soon.