A dress for all panels

So, what have I learned from my first two panel appearances as a soon-to-be-published author?

Don’t wear a dress that is straight and above the knee, that’s what.

The first panel was at the trendy Pot Kettle Black in Manchester and as soon as I spotted the lofty, steel, boy-band stools, I knew I was in trouble.

At just a tad over 5ft, launching myself into the air onto a small half-circle is not an elegant manoeuvre. Then I had to shift to one side to be able to entwine my feet round the low bar, revealing the knees I inherited from my lovely, Hobbit dad.

It only took one glance along at my fellow panelists and at the audience in front of me to realise I was undoubtedly the oldest in the room. Being a ‘newly-discovered’ author at this stage of life qualifies me as the diversity element of the evening.

Anyway, it was great fun and I found I loved it although I did hear my mother’s voice saying ‘Sit down, Shirley, it isn’t your turn,’ but oh, for once, it really was.

Yolklore and Waterstones talk in Manchester
Wirksworth Book Festival with Tricia Durdey, being interviewed by Carol Taylor. I think I look better blurred!

Just two days later, I was in a much lower chair at the wonderful Wirksworth Book Festival with friend and fellow-author, Tricia Durdey -great book, The Green Table, but this time I was in front of people who knew me and that was scarier than any high stool, I can tell you.

But, both went well, I think and yes, Hay, I can fit you in next year… I’ve always wanted a long stemmed rose.

And who knows, maybe I’ll have sold some books by then and will be able to afford a dress that covers my knees.

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