Three things I learned at the Auckland Writers Festival 2015

1) If you don’t like swearing, don’t go to Poetry Idol. It’s filthy, brutally honest, dig your heart out and throw it at the audience spoken poetry with no apologies. This year’s contestants were astonishingly good. I have no idea how the judges decided a winner. So many great lines, so much distilled passion in every poem. I’m in awe of the writing.

2) Tim Winton is awesome. The thing I noticed most about Tim Winton is his total lack of artifice. He’s not acting up there on stage, he’s answering questions as honestly as he knows how and if that takes a while then he’ll hum and hah a wee bit to get there. It’s probably that honesty and a willingness to face truth and stare back that makes him such an incredible writer. I loved what he said about people in general… that it’s amazing we’re not worse than we are. He thinks that with all the possibilities to do evil out there, he finds it astonishing that most people live positively, with a sense of hope and act well towards others.

3) I learned A Mer-Tale can be called a paranormal romance. I went along to Nalini Singh’s session not having read a single book the best selling author, but came out hungry to get started. I’m now reading her first novel in the Guild Hunter Series, Angel’s Blood. It’s a fast paced, action packed, up close and sexy paranormal romance featuring vampires, angels and a brutal vampiric/Archangel murder mystery. Fantastic! Yet the author herself is so unassuming. Chatty, cheeky, eloquent and charming but obviously hiding dark, hidden depths! What I remember most from her talk was her description of what makes a paranormal romance. It hit me that my novella A Mer-Tale could fall under that category and perhaps I’d been missing out on a marketing category by not including that tag. Duh. I suppose the other thing Nalini gave me was a sense of hope and renewed confidence in my writing journey. She is so down to earth that I left the session with that ‘if she can do it I can too’ feeling that fills the heart with motivation and the head with dreams!

(Photo of Nalini Singh sourced from Wikimedia Commons, attributed to Wes Washington)



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