Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Hello friends! Today I am sharing my experience at the Northern YA Literary Festival! I'm sure you've seen a lot of photos and blog posts already but I had such a good time at the event that I couldn't not do a write up. 

Myself and the other #NorthernBookBloggers were lucky enough to be invited to #NYALitFest as thanks for helping promote the event. You probably saw us tweeting and blogging about the event since January. If you missed my posts, I did a Q&A with Anna Day and another with Holly Black that you should definitely check out, those are two very inspiring women. I want to thank Hazel and the team for making us feel like VIPs, I've never had an experience like it as a blogger. We got front row seats, goodie bags and the opportunity to introduce some amazing authors onto the stage. 

I was lucky enough to not only be attending NYALitFest as a blogger, but as a vendor. I'm sure a lot of you know that I recently launched my own candle ship called Taken Moons, when Hazel asked if I would be up for having my own stall at the event I jumped at the chance. 

This was another totally new experience for me and getting to see people smelling my candles and getting a first hand reaction, I honestly couldn't describe how much pride and confidence it gave me. I have to thank Steph for a lot of these photos, she was on her best rep game all day <3 and Charlotte for capturing my glee at being a store holder. 

Bonus photo of my and my mum. She was an absolute star and offered to come to the event with me to keep an eye on the stall while I got books signed, sat up front for the panels etc. She didn't have to do that but my mum has always been so crazy supportive of me and as well as letting me run my shop from the kitchen, she gave up her day off work to come to Preston. I'm a lucky duck.

The event also consisted of four panels. The first was Getting Into Publishing with Teri Terry, Danny Weston and Anna Day, which was an incredibly insightful talk into the traditional and non-traditional paths towards getting a book published. With Teri Terry giving us all hope by saying that 'you don't have to study creative writing to be a writer'. It was a great panel and discussed a lot of touchy subjects, including; should YA be dumbed down? The audience member who asked that question was not seen the rest of the day... I'm joking, well I'm not because I didn't see him but I promise we didn't pounce...

The next panel was Feminism in YA, which consisted of Katherine Webber, Lauren James, Annabelle Pitcher and token man, Matt Killeen. This was a very inspiring panel, particularly because everyone had something different to say but they all agreed on the same basic principal; 'you can't be a bad feminist' - summarised by Katherine in a nice tidy quote that no one should ever forget, if you think men and women should be equal, that's it, you're a feminist. 
Alwyn Hamilton had her own panel to talk about the Rebel of Sands trilogy, which I have to admit I haven't picked up yet... The good thing is I will definitely be getting it after hearing her talk about the books and characters with Samantha Shannon. Alwyn really got my attention by saying, 'When writing, don’t think about it being original, think about it as being creative' I know everyone has doubts about their writing and thinks that their idea has been done before, so to hear a successfully published author just tell us to be creative and have fun with it, was a real confidence boost. 

The last panel was the one I was arguably the most excited about, I enjoyed everything on the day but I went to NYALitFest extremely excited to hear two of my favourite authors talking on stage about one of my new favourite books, The Cruel Prince. I talked to Holly a little bit in my Q&A about characters and names and the quote that stood out when she was on stage was; “Getting the right name for your characters can give them a completeness and just feel right” The Cruel Prince is a fantasy/contemporary, so there is a real mix of human and faerie names, making this all the more poignant. Meeting Holly Black was a real experience, but I'll talk more about that at the end!

Onto the free/signed stuff! When I saw that there was going to be samplers for The Wicked King, I freaked out. Hazel was lovely enough to put bags aside for us so I didn't have to stress about getting one and inside the bag was a chocolate lolly, a tea light, a bookmark, THE SAMPLER and the most gorgeous piece of artwork I have ever seen. If anyone knows who is behind the artwork, let me know because Holly said she's commissioned them to do all of the characters and I would like to find out more about that... For Reasons. I also got my second copy of The Cruel Prince signed because I bought a signed edition originally, never believing I'd get to meet her. 

There was also a hefty amount of proofs available, this is the selection that was gifted to me by Hazel, though I did help myself to a copy fo Fragments Of The Lost from the freebies table. My favourites were the badges and tattoos from The Bones Season series by Samantha Shannon, I already had these but have used them so now I have some badges to keep and some more tattoos to probably wear to YALC. I'm that person. Also pictured is my signed copy of The Bone Season and A BONE SEASON CAKE! Which was actually the only thing I bought on the day because I didn't bring any money. If you bought a candle on the day, it paid for my mum and me to have a cake, thank you. 

I will have to say that the highlight of the event was getting to meet my Queen. Holly Black was everything I hoped she would be and when I gifted her some of my candles she said she loved them and that they smelt great. Holly was so lovely and even had a crown ready for photos, what more could you want from an author signing? I even walked away with a star sequin from the table stuck to my book and I have treasured it. 

I can also confirm that the Northern YA Literary Festival will be returning to Preston next year! I know I'm going to be going, and I hope to see lots of you there, this year was so much fun and I met a lot of my Twitter pals. We need this event to be even more amazing next year so that it keeps on coming back, so everyone should get planning ASAP <3

Thanks for reading! 


  1. Glad you had such a fabulous time Rebecca 💜. Your stall looked absolutely stunning in every photo I've seen!
    Amy xx

  2. Such a fantastic write up!
    Your stall looked *incredible* and also are you and Holly Black related because you look so similar xD
    Cora | http://www.teapartyprincess.co.uk/

    1. A few people have said this xD I wish! If we were related I'm sure I could blag my way into a proof of The Wicked King which would be amazing x


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