Authors North Spring Meeting 2012: Leeds
in a wet town square
was the venue for the spring meeting of Authors North (Society of Authors) on Saturday.
I was going to do a bit of live tweeting, but only managed the one, since I couldn't find a 3G signal. Luckily, however, Colin Shelbourn has since tweeted using the tag #AuthorsNorth I shall write just a quick summary here.
We were lucky enough to have Simon Brett (on the left with Colin who introduced the event) who is author of 86 books as well as an erstwhile radio and television producer (and an actor judging from his talk in which he gave some excellent impressions of people he had worked with during his career). In a hugely entertaining talk he gave us an outline of his career from aged 22 when he was 'master of his own grotto' through the evolution of his successful brand of British comic crime fiction. He pointed out that Reginald Hill had said that by writing crime fiction he had 'never stopped writing about what I wanted to write about' since it can be tailored to a writer's interests.
He tends to know how a book will work out in advance (although not in detail which tends to grow more organically) and commented on the closeness of tragedy and comedy; he favours the maxim 'Wouldn't it be tragic if it weren't funny if..?' over 'Wouldn't it be funny if...?'
One of his recommendations was to read through work after it had been written to make sure there are no ambiguities, and this was a theme in Julia Franklin's talk in the afternoon.
Julia is the narrator of 52 books on Audible (and as many others elsewhere) and has recently written and read her own book Turn Up for the Book (a very funny romantic comedy which I recommend) for her own audio publishing company 'Book Are Loud' which she started last year. With the help of Authors North member Alison Leonard (on the right)
she gave another entertaining account of her experiences in audiobook narrating. She and Alison reiterated the advice to read out work, and also edit downwards, and gave us a good demonstration of what might be achieved by reading out work from her list (including work by The Only Living Boy by Robert Graham, Tar by Helen Sea, Cappuccinos by Diana Bradley, and Alison's Flesh and Bronze (which I have reviewed here). Thanks to the internet, audiobook publishing is growing in popularity because books are now so easy to download onto computers, ipods and mp3 players. Like Alison, I look forward to my download day from Audible every month.
The Art Gallery gave us a good lunch, and after the well-attended meeting, we went back into wet Leeds to search for a bar with Lisa Dowdeswell (the new Authors North secretary from the Society of Authors) Sarah Burton (our 'old' secretary from a couple of years ago we were all very pleased to see again), and member Marianne Wheelaghan, who had come down from Scotland especially to attend.
Thanks to Lisa for organising a particularly entertaining and interesting meeting!