I had been counting down to Saturday 25th January for MONTHS. I'd had an invite to the Random House Children's Publishers Blogger Brunch and I was bouncing off the walls with excitement. A chance to talk books, meet bloggers and hear from author Matt Haig were all on the menu. Although also on the menu was pick and mix, popcorn and a rather fabulous cake made by Harriet, one of the lovely publicists!
There are so many books being made into films at the moment, most notably Marcus Zusak's The Book Thief, and this brunch was a celebration of that. There are some other cracking adaptations due out over the next 18 months or so, some of which I'll definitely be going to see.
I was actually the first of the bloggers to meet Matt Haig at the event as I arrived so spectacularly late to the event due to signal failure delaying my train! I must admit to not having read any of this books before, and I didn't immediately recognise him from his twitter icon.
However, Matt was a really interesting speaker. He read us two chapters of his new release and answered questions posed by Jasmine, one of the other publicists, and the bloggers about his forthcoming release Echo Boy and about his life as an author.
So, what did I find out about Matt Haig?
- He is not a huge sci-fi geek, so writing a novel in this genre was very different to his usual work
- When he started writing Echo Boy, he wasn't sure which direction it was going to go in. Matt said he didn't want it to be a love story as he had 'twilightphobia' (how great a term is that?!)
- Matt says that when he goes to kids events the question asked are always very diverse-and often not about books!
- Echo Boy was largely influenced by a non- fiction book he was given (Physics of the Future) about the future of health care, education, societal developments.
-Matt says that he is nervous about this book as it is so different from his previous books. He mentioned that it almost felt like this was his debut release as an author.
- When asked if he specifically set out to write for a YA audience, Matt said that in many ways he was afraid of patronising teen readers, so feels Echo Boy is closer to a book for adults than one for children.
- He is a 'pantser' rather than a planner
- His favourite book is Hinton's The Outsiders
- Matt believes that the best YA books have 'attitude'
Most of all, one of my very favourite quotes from the day was what he had to say about the life of an author- 'You either choose to have a life, or write about life'. As someone who is trying to write themselves I can definitely relate to this comment! I found myself thinking I had a lot in common with Matt Haig, especially when he spoke candidly about his depression and anxiety and how writing was his therapy.
As well as hearing about the forthcoming releases from Random House (and there are some crackers- I cannot wait to read Bird in particular!) , it was lovely to meet other bloggers. I had a chat with Leah, one of the book bloggers I met via twitter, and it was only after we'd said our goodbyes I thought I should have taken some photos for the blog!
Huge thanks need to go out to all the staff at Random House for their hospitality-they really are a wonderfully welcoming team, all approachable and have been so helpful to me ever since I started my blog. Jasmine, Charlotte, Harriet, Clare (and apologies to anyone I have missed!)-thank you for a wonderful event. I look forward to reviewing some of your titles over the next few months.