I only had a half formed hope about looking to get my novel published until I went to a publishing workshop held by Much Ado Books in Alfriston. My lovely friend Allana had been raving about the Much Ado bookshop for months and kindly got us tickets to the event. Allana has also read my novel, the first person to do so and is quite buoyed up with getting it on the book shelves.
I really didn’t know what to expect, never having been to such an occasion before. The day dawned, the first beautiful sunny day all summer and after a particularly gruelling week in the office, the last thing I felt like doing was spending all day in a hall, sat on hard chairs being lectured at for hours.
But as soon as we pulled up in Alfriston I knew this was going to be a special day. The village is exquisitely chocolate box and I was ready for Miss Marple to appear any moment from out of the traditional sweetie shop, clutching a bag of peppermints.
The church hall was gracefully Georgian and cool, and I instantly felt my stresses slide away as we took our seats. As authors and their publishers, editors and designers took to the stage and shared their secrets I was captivated by this wonderous publishing realm. We heard about trips to exotic climes to research missionaries in the twenties; voted on a potential cover of a novel about witchcraft; and gasped at the forensic investigatory powers of the copy editor, looking up the phases of the moon in 1966. All lovingly presided over by Nash and Cate, the owners of Much Ado, who had thought of every comfort and treat for their audience, including hand made goodie bags complete with free novels and chocolate. Every pleasure, all in one be-ribboned bag.
I don’t know where the rest of the day went. Before we knew it four o’clock had arrived, with the gentle chime of the church clock. I didn’t want the day to end. I can’t remember the last time I was so completely immersed and inspired that I truly forgot time.
We finished our day with a trip to the book shop itself (and its infamous chickens) and it has to be the most perfect book shop in the world. On the shelves, unusual choices and rareties and every book we picked up cried out to be purchased. Upstairs, the members room was my dream, comfy sofas, intriguing art work, a craft space, and enthusiastic staff, who were so supportive.
And that was it, suddenly, there and then, the bolt of inspiration. I wanted to see my novel on the shelf of that magical book shop. And now I dream…