As some of you might know, I write books! Fiction, almost exclusively apart from the Down Days novella that started this blog (check the downloads page, it’s free). I’ve been doing it for a few years now, with a few books under my belt and another due out in March. As you can imagine, this kind of thing leads to public appearances (signings, conventions, other events) where talking to other humans is pretty much essential.
Over the last five or six years, I’ve gotten pretty good at talking to folks at my signing table. I even enjoy it now, although it’s exhausting emotionally and mentally and, after a weekend event, I always drop into a massive slump afterward. All batteries on empty.
However, a new hurdle has presented itself. A couple of lovely people who have far too much faith in my writing abilities (they have terrible taste) Tom and Nimue Brown (hey guys, love you!) are organising the literature section of a convention. The biggest damned Steampunk convention in the country, Weekend at the Asylum in Lincoln. They’ve invited me.
That’s pretty amazing.
I’ve been before, a few years back, in my capacity as author. It was the first ever large event I did, actually. But I haven’t been for a while. Life, work, university courses or other engagements always got in the way. But this year, I’m free. So I’m damned well going.
Now, here’s the rub.
I need to do not one but TWO talks over the weekend, both about an hour each. And, as you guys may know already, I don’t know SHIT.
I make everything I do up as I go along, I rarely plan anything I write other than in my head, and I don’t really know what to talk about!
The loverly Tom and Nimue have helped, of course, suggesting that I talk about:
- The realities of the publishing industry
- The role of the poor and other cultures in Steampunk literature
On the surface, this seems easy peasy. I’ve bounced my literary pogo stick through the minefield of publishing for long enough to lose a few limbs, and many of the characters in my books come from a downtrodden background and, in The Adventures of Alan Shaw, I purposefully tried to show other cultures than White, middle class and Western.
- Speaking in front of strangers has a direct line to my anxiety protocol
- I have zero confidence when talking about what I SHOULD know about
- I already know that, due to what’s going on in the week running up to the event, I’m going to be going in already exhausted.
Suffice to say, my friends, this has the potential to be one of the most difficult weekends of my life.
There isn’t really much more I can say right now. But, when I return, be sure that I’ll update you all on how it went. I’m hoping that it goes similar to the D&D game last week and that everything will be fine.
Cross your fingers, toes, mandibles, and tentacles, for me.
Thanks for reading.