Well I’m just back from FantasyCon 2015 in Nottingham and what a conference it was. I had a really enjoyable time, met some lovely authors as well as old friends and talked novels and fantasy until the wee small hours!
This year I went with my friend Toni, who had never been to a FantasyCon before. She was hoping it would fill her with enthusiasm and I don’t think she was disappointed.
As the trains, due to all kinds of weekend work on the Sunday, were going to be horrendous for the journey home Toni decided to drive, so we took a nice leisurely trip up to Nottingham on the Thursday morning/afternoon. What was really weird, as we had booked separately and several weeks apart, was that our rooms were right next door to each other! How strange was that? Though very convenient.
The conference was held at the East Midlands Conference Centre and Orchard Hotel, which was situated on the University Campus. The hotel was beautiful and the setting lovely, but the main difficulty was that without knowing the area there was nowhere to eat other than the hotel or the conference centre. This wouldn’t have been a problem, but after the first night (Thursday when the conference hadn’t begun) they withdrew the usual menu and we were left with the choice of burgers or nachos and not a lot of anything else. As the hotel is there basically for the conference centre this was slightly nonsensical and must have been a real disappointment to the organisers who thought they’d covered all the bases. The food Toni and I had on the Thursday evening was actually very nice and the hotel probably would have done very well out of us.
Apart from this, which was beyond the organisers’ control, the event was very well organised and went, as far as I could tell, very smoothly. As usual the volunteers (this year called Red Cloaks) worked their socks off and couldn’t do enough for you. I volunteered at FantasyCon 2012 and World FantasyCon 2013 so I appreciate how much work is involved and how sometimes it is hard to keep your smile from slipping, but the guys were great from start to finish.
The event didn’t start until Friday at 3pm and you couldn’t register until 1pm, so Toni and I went for a stroll around the university campus. Do you know I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many squirrels in one place – they were everywhere. Anyway, we found a cash machine, a couple of banks, a Boots and several other shops, all on site for the students, though nowhere to eat. At this point we weren’t really looking too hard as we thought the food side of things was covered.
We went over to the conference centre at about 12.30 hoping we may have been able to register early, but we bumped into the indomitable Jo Fletcher and her partner Ian outside and they said it was a no can do! As Jo was one of the Guests of Honour we decided if she couldn’t get the rules bent a little it wasn’t even worth us trying so we wandered back to the hotel with Jo and Ian.
It did give me the chance to break a bit of good news to her about US reviews of Marked so it wasn’t time wasted.
When we reached the hotel my lovely editor Nicola was waiting in the lobby as her room wasn’t ready, so we had a chance to chat for awhile before Toni and I set back off to get registered.
Even though it was nearly 2pm there wasn’t much of a queue and within moments we had badges, a programme and goody bag for putting in as many books as we could carry from the selection on offer. Mine was there as well as copies of several other JFB authors and I’d filled my bag up in no time, though when I will get the chance to read them all I don’t know – and which one shall I read first?
More about FantasyCon 2015 in a few days time, but I will leave you a taster of what freebie books were on offer.
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