The Society of Authors and me (the +1)

I was recently invited to the Society of Author’s AGM as a ‘plus one’ to my fantastic writer friend Christina Banach. She has recently acquired an agent for her YA novels, so I was only too happy to go along and help tell the world (well, a selection of people in Edinburgh) about her success along the road into the literary world of wonder.

It was one of the most interesting AGM’s I have ever been to (usually they are long, drawn out and no-one agrees) so this threw that particular rule book into the water. I sat with a huge grin on my face, listening to all the amazing authors and literary agents spilling forth with gold nuggets of priceless information that I never knew existed. A very humbling experience, I have to admit.

I was in author paradise: splashing about, making waves and meeting amazing people who were more than happy to regale me with their own stories of how they made it as a published author.  My spidey-senses were tingling and thankfully I remembered my little notebook: a black, weather-beaten A5 booklet that sits at the bottom of my bag underneath the Calpol, mints and other non-essentials that a Mum carries about with her. I jot down my thoughts every day on the white-lined pages so I don’t forget it all by the time I get home. I am getting on a bit, so it’s better to be safe than sorry!

The meeting itself was followed by a lovely lunch, a very informal affair that suited the mood and helped me relax. The table we found ourselves at produced one of the most enjoyable lunches I have ever had in the company of complete strangers. Conversation went from ‘How to drink wine’ to the merits of ‘deep-fried mars bar’.

To my right I had the pleasure of sitting beside Angus Whitson, an author who is none other than Tales from the Scottish Countryside: The Man with Two Dogs. I was won over immediately by his wit and charm, making us all feel at home in his company.

Having studied French at High School, there are some things that never leave you. Once the wine had flowed and our tongues were wagging a but more freely, I had a very funny conversation with Catherine Truel, an author of amazing business guides, who lives in Aberdeen and has the most amazing French accent I have ever heard, it’s fair to say her beloved Avignon hasn’t left her voice just yet. Cue renditions of Sur le Pont D’Avignon…need I say anymore. Don’t worry I am shaking my head too.

A wonderful lady sat to my left, delighting us all with her Scottish poems, a subject I am very much interested in. You may know Angela Blacklock-Brown as she has been published many times before and appeared in the newspaper celebrating her poem on the infamous Scottish delicacy known as a Deep Fried Mars Bar.  We were very fortunate that she agreed to recite it for us and a huge round of applause erupted once she had finished. I’m not sure of the etiquette at these events but it was well received by the surrounding tables.

Catriona Wilson, is a lady who grabbed us all by the heart strings and pulled us into her magical world. Tears of laughter rolled down my face as she poured story after story onto the table, as her brilliant laugh echoed through the corridors of The Royal Scots Club. Catriona is the only author I have met so far that has a pen name, so let me introduce you to Charlie James.  By chance I met Catriona the  next night, as we were seated near each other at the Book festival to feast our eyes on the wonderful Grant Morrison. She is one of life’s good people who never fails to make me smile and I do hope our paths cross again.

Due to the ensuing hilarity at our large table, I missed the opportunity to speak with all the other amazing authors there, I hope that I will be invited back again, hopefully as a fully fledged member rather than a ‘pinned-on’ guest. I am forever in awe of the talent that surrounded me that wonderful afternoon.

The Society of Authors is a fantastic resource for authors of all genres. The Society provides information and legal guidance to protect the rights and interests of all authors in their keep. To become a member, you do need to have an agent or have been published so I await the illusive e-mail/large contract-bound envelope that will bounce through my letter box when that magical day arrives, hopefully very soon.

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