The first Felixstowe Book Festival (15/16 June 2013) was a resounding success, with packed sessions and booked-out panels.

Thanks for organising this newest and most enjoyable Suffolk (UK) book festival, must go to Meg Reid. Although she had a willing band of volunteers, it is due to Meg’s initiative and sheer hard slog that the event got off the ground at all.

As one of the authors appearing there on the first day of the festival, I really did  have a great time. I never thought I’d enjoy a book festival so much. I’ve been to a few before and, apart from meeting some lovely people among the attendees, I can’t really say I’ve got much out of them on either a personal or a professional level.

I suppose this one felt different because I was actually on a panel, so I felt part of it from the start, rather than an outsider looking in. My panel was with bestselling Historical/Timeslip novelist Barbara Erskine. Barbara is a lovely lady, very warm and down-to-erarth. Her well-known novel, The Lady of Hay, recently celebrated both its 25th anniversary and hitting  the 3 million mark in sales.

We discussed different aspects of a writer’s life. And as she’s a highly successful traditionally published author and I’m a traditionally published author voluntarily turned indie, we managed to cover a lot of ground.

We had a great audience, too, who were very interested in everything we had to say. So as well as a tribute to the fabulous Meg Reid, this is also by way of a tribute to the readers. Where would we all be without you? We’d have to be queuing up for those deadly day jobs again, that’s where.

Trouble is, most of us, given the credo of the beancounters who decide these things, are probably unemployable. I certainly am. I know this because when I was unemployed, about ten years ago, I couldn’t find a job no matter how hard I tried. Potential employers were intrigued enough by my writing credentials to grant me an interview. But all of them baulked at actually employing a writer, particularly one of independent mind and inclination. Astonishingly, rather than welcoming such traits and the entrepreneurial spirit they engender, they actually seem to abhor them. No wonder the country’s in the state it is when those in management are so blinkered.

All I can say is thank God for Amazon’s Kindle and the other eBook retailers and distributors. If it wasn’t for them I’d still be on the soul-destroying treadmill of being interviewed for jobs I didn’t want by people who had no intention of employing me.

Bliss it is to be one’s own boss. Even blissier to find it pays!

For the link to the festival site and to see the line-up of authors/speakers,venues, please click:


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