David C Dawson Interview

What did you enjoy most out of UK Meet 2016?
Meeting readers! Definitely. What a lovely group of people! And the ones who express strong opinions are fascinating. I love the passion of readers, and I learned an awful lot from them as a result. That’s what I’m looking forward to most this year. As a writer you’re in danger of being in a vacuum. The readers at UK Meet breathe fresh air into that vacuum.

Describe the books you write/books you publish/your cover art in three words.
Men in love, men in danger (can I get away with six?!)

How did you first discover your genre?

(Romantic suspense) When I came out somewhat late in life, I wrote about the experience in a series of short stories. Then, when I wanted to write a novel, I wrote a mystery. That’s when I discovered there were some amazing writers out there, doing the same as  I do!

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T A Moore Interview

What are you most looking forward to about UK Meet?
Meeting everyone! I live in a small town and it can feel pretty isolated creatively sometimes. It’s such a joy to be able to meet other writers and readers in person, to talk about favourite books and favourite authors and plot a quick run to Nandos in the evening. It really recharges the creative batteries somehow, you make plans and come up new ideas. OK, the amount of coffee we drink might have something to do with that!
Also, I love Bristol! It’s a great city! I will drag people off to The Covered Market with me at the least excuse!
Describe the books you write in three words.
Jerks need love!
What do you like best about your genre?
How welcoming it is. I’ve only been a writer in the genre for a few years, but every event I’ve been it has been like going home. People are happy to see you, talk to you, and make sure you’re having a good time. There’s no back-biting or politics, no attempts to keep newcomers on the sidelines, or jockeying for position. You just write or read, and talk about it with other people who enjoy it. 
 

Stevie Carroll Interview

1) How did you first discover your genre?
— Back in 1990, I went up to Edinburgh to start my degree and came across an ad for West and Wilde (formerly Lavender Menace: http://www.gayinthe80s.com/2013/09/1982-bookshop-lavender-menace/): a whole shop dedicated to LGBT (though with less emphasis back then on the T) books. It was on the opposite side of the city centre from where I was living and studying, but there was always the option of stopping off at the Blue Moon Cafe in the LGBT Centre on the way there or back. Of course, the return journey was uphill: just what you don’t want when loaded down with exciting new purchases, free newspapers, and fliers for upcoming events. One author from then that I’m still reading now is the lovely Lee Lynch, who blogs on Women and Words (https://womenwords.org/) with me and the rest of the gang.

2) UK Meet began in 2010 with a dozen writers in a library in Ely. How do you think the genre’s changed since then?
— In some respects, the genre’s gone more mainstream: some of the big romance publishers are publishing LGBT stories — sometimes as part of series that have started, or include, het romances — and some of the smaller publishers that have always published lesbian and/or gay romances are branching out into wider areas of the whole QUILTBAG spectrum. I think we’re seeing more diversity across the board to be honest: race, (dis)ability, class, and so on. There’s still a lot of room for improvement, and I try to do my part by reviewing as widely as I can on a blog (http://goodbadandunread.com/) that mostly reviewed het romances before I was invited to join.

3) What one thing would you change about your genre?
— I still want to see books that show polyamoury in all its complexities: characters juggling multiple relationships on different levels and with varying degrees of interaction between the different partners. Too many authors assume that threesomes and moresomes are the standard, rather than only one possible way to connect — and not the commonest one in my experience.

Stevie

Anna Butler Interview

How did you first discover your genre?

I always say that I don’t write m/m romance per se, but sci-fi and steampunk with LGBT protagonists. I’ve always loved sci-fi. My dad’s influence, since he was a devotee all his life—finding birthday and Christmas presents for him always involved delightful hours spent in bookshops trying to decide which sci-fi novel he’d like best, and buying him several instead of being forced to choose. That wasn’t generosity, by the way, because guess who also got to read them?

I discovered the m/m aspect through slash fanfic. There is some marvellous fanfic out there that’s often way better than the source material. It’s often less constrained, more creative, transformative. I still read it for the sheer enjoyment of something written not for any commercial reason, but for pure love of the source.

What do you like best about your genre?

I write science fiction. Space opera, really, and I love the potential for not only writing action and adventure with spaceships and laser pistols and humanity fighting for its survival against unknowable, unfathomable aliens but also exploring how much humanity’s own worst traits creates half of the problems it faces. Great fun!

I also adore history, Egyptology in particular. I’ve managed to mix that into both my Taking Shield series and into the steampunk Lancaster’s Luck series.

Seriously, there is nothing better than being an author. Not when I can get to play in both my sandboxes at once.

What one thing would you change about your genre?

I do find some of the ‘romance’ expectations to be constricting. Writing about LGBT characters is a broad church open to every kind of story and genre, but because of the prominence of m/m romance, books tend to be viewed through that romance lens. I’ll admit to being rather irritated when reviewers complain about the lack of romance in my Shield books, for example, when it’s not a romance to start with! I think it does colour reader expectations and makes it harder to get out of narrow niches.

www.annabutlerfiction.com

L M Somerton Interview

This is the first of a series of interviews with UK Meet’s delegates asking them questions about the event. We hope this helps you get to know delegates before meeting them in person.

Love and light, Liam xx

LM Somerton Interview

What are you most looking forward to at UK Meet 2018? Meeting up with old friends and making some new ones.

Describe the books you write in three words. Contemporary BDSM light. (I know I’m cheating with the abbreviation!)

How did you first discover your genre? Through friends in the lifestyle lamenting the lack of good fiction featuring their world positively.

UK Meet ticketing – why we do what we do

For years, at our UK Meet planning meetings, we used to say, “What if we get a feeding frenzy for tickets?” Then we’d laugh in our Brit way and say, “That would be a nice problem to have.” However, in our 2016 planning we realised demand was likely to exceed supply, so we needed a cunning plan that would work for both us and our delegates.

We appreciate how annoying it is to sit trying to buy tickets, madly pressing the ‘refresh’ button and hoping everything isn’t all sold out by the time you get the page to work. We also wanted to a) avoid people bulk buying tickets and b) reward people who’d already expressed an interest in the event. That’s why we came up with the ‘booking codes’ system which we used in 2016 and which, at least from our end, worked so well.

Briefly, this is how it works:

  • Prospective delegates need to register for our newsletter before the date tickets go on sale (9th October 2017).
  • On 9th October we’ll send out a “Thunderbirds are go” e-mail. Reply to this e-mail to get a priority booking code, one per subscriber You won’t get one any other way.
  • All replies are dealt with in a strictly chronological order, so once you’ve sent a reply you can relax.
  • You then have a week to use your priority code to book a place. At midnight BST 16th October these codes are no longer valid.
  • If we run out of priority codes before 16th October, we’ll start a waiting list as in past years, which will be administered on a first come, first served, basis. Nobody gets to jump the waiting list – we’re British and revere queues.

UK Meet 2016 Delegate Feedback

Hi, Liam Livings here, welcoming you to your first UK Meet blog since the event in Southampton.

Remember those feedback forms you completed? Well, thanks to Cathy’s whiz-bang Excel skills, I’m pleased to bring you the highlights and lowlights of your feedback.

We received 56 responses which is a great rate for a self-completion survey like this. To show how we take on board delegate feedback to improve the event we wanted to summarise the main themes to share with everyone.

Panels workshops and key notes
All panels and workshops received an average score between 7.4 and 9.2 except one panel which received 5.9. When we looked into this via the comments received, it was specifically related to delegates being disappointed that the content did not match what had been advertised.

Delegates liked the long breaks between panels as it allowed networking and decompressing from what had been learned at the sessions.

Apart from a few minor audio issues with one, the two keynote speakers evaluated well and almost without exception delegates found their personal stories inspiration and moving.

The main learning from this is:

  • having panel organisers submit an outline to their sessions prevents panelists winging it on the day and led to better quality professional sessions
  • having a moderator on every panel helps keep things on track on the day itself
    any last minute changes must be agreed by the committee, otherwise it’s better to cancel the panel
  • keep breaks between panels
  • keynote speakers go down well with personal stories inspirational and moving
  • we will have panelists’ names posted at the event so delegates know who is leading each session. It wasn’t possible to include this information in the programme because there were so many changes right up until the event itself.

Entertainment
The ukuleles went down brilliantly. I described them to the band on the night as ‘the most fun I’ve had with all my clothes on’ which they promptly posted on their Facebook group! The rainbow dinner was great fun with delegates enjoying a dance but some wishing there was more space to mingle. Good mixer on the Friday night for those who attended.

Delegates who didn’t attend the entertainment explained they didn’t like crowds or liked to organise their own entertainment with others at the event. There is always going to be a balance to strike with the entertainment because some will never attend it because it’s not their thing, and we’re trying to cater for a broad variety of tastes with those who do attend.

Hotel
Generally there was negative feedback about the hotel’s food – we hear you – food matters! Or as my friend always says, ‘Good food is an everyday luxury.’ If we decide to return to the Grand Harbour we’ll make sure we have more control over the food offered. The rooms and quality of the hotel evaluated well at 7.7 as well as transport to the hotel which came out at 8.6.

Other
The split book fair was generally well received but we hear that some authors weren’t able to buy from their favourite authors as they were in the same half as themselves. We’ll look into other ways of managing this and it may include suggesting that tables set up an informal buddying system so authors can circulate around the book fair while someone else minds their books for sale. Suggestions welcome!
The printed programme, goody bags (content and the bags themselves) and sponsors’ feedback was generally very positive.

And finally, most importantly, delegates felt the atmosphere was inclusive and respectful and allowed them to be themselves, while retaining their privacy if that was their wish. Both rating 9.3 or above.

Is it 2018 yet?

Thanks, from the UK Meet committee – Cathy, Charlie, Clare, Elin, Jamie and Liam 🙂