I’ve been attending MCM London for more years than I can remember, to the point I still call it just “Expo” from the days when it was called MCM Expo and the past few years I’ve been helping out my friends on their stand so this was the first Expo in three/four years that I was there as purely an attendee. I had already planned to go with a friend and then Jamie-Lee from Tor and Quirk books announced there would be an exclusive blogger brunch happening on the Sunday with some of their authors including Susan Dennard, Ash Poston, Kristina Perez, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Zen Cho, Linda Rodriguez and RJ Barker, alongside pastries, sandwiches and swag – I couldn’t say no!
We got to enjoy the relative quiet in the morning which was lovely, the air con in the halls was very welcome and we got a nice chance to look around before I had to rush off to meet Jamie-Lee and my fellow bloggers. I did buy a Pokemon Terranium (as did my friend) after seeing them at conventions before but usually not until last thing when we don’t have enough for one. Torchic is one of my favourite Pokemon and after seeing Detective Pikachu last week (review to come?) my love for the Pokemon world had been well and truly rekindled.
Next up was the blogger brunch! It was so lovely to find the sizeable group of bloggers all waiting outside ready to go in and I loved putting faces to twitter handles and blog names! Once we all had our industry passes (my first ever, I was very excited!) we were led to our own lovely air-conditioned room with books, beverages and snacks, basically my idea of heaven, not to mention we each got a lovely MCM swag bag filled with loads of books and other goodies.
After an introduction by the lovely Jamie-Lee, each of the visiting authors mingled, spending a certain amount of time with each table just chatting and answering questions etc. The whole vent was absolutely chilled out, the atmosphere was so welcoming, relaxing and fun, definitely a style of event I will happily attend again, I cannot thank Jamie-Lee enough for the invite. I apologise for the lack of pictures from the brunch and MCM in general, it’s so hard to keep taking your phone out when you have arms filled with bags and no pockets! It was lovely to enjoy both however without worrying about pulling my phone out every five minutes. (I did film some of the brunch but I chose the seat with the absolute worst lighting so if I can clean it up it’ll be made in a video for my YouTube channel but no promises!).
The first author at our table was Adrian Tchaikovsky (Shadows of the Apt series and Children of Time), who spoke about spiders (of course), the perceived horror in his books and the reason for it, as well as one of his books I’m yet to read that sounds fascinating called “The Tiger and the Wolf” about clans of shapeshifters and its sequel which takes an interesting turn when non-shapeshifters arrive, it was really interesting to hear him talk about how the points of view in that book and his others really help to shape the experiences depicted in them.
Next up we had Susan Dennard (Something Strange and Deadly, the Witchlands series) who I was particularly excited to meet, although the Witchlands series have turned out to not really be for me I love to hear her writing advice and was interested to hear about some of her other works, one of which it turns out is on wattpad and sounds fantastic! The Executioners Three can be found here for free and I’m excited to dive into it! She spoke passionately about fanfiction, her own fandoms and told us about a stack of cards she has to help her keep tabs on all the information, the reveals and secrets in her Witchland books and how it has become a hydra of sorts in that she’ll finish with one and can remove it but then finds another two or three have appeared in their place which I can absolutely empathise with.
Our third author to visit the table was RJ Barker (Age of Assasins, The Bone Ships) who was absolutely hilarious. Apparently, one of the war steeds in one of his books is super sarcastic and is basically the horse from Tangled, he told us that he wanted to write a fantasy book about detectives but “Age of Detectives” didn’t sound as interesting and in the rough set time period Assassins were pretty much “the closest thing.” He also spoke about his upcoming book (September 2019 from Orbit) “The Bone Ships” which sounds amazing and I cannot wait to read it!
Next up was Zen Cho (The True Queen, Spirits Abroad) who had me completely captivated me talking about her new novella arriving this year called “The order of the pure moon reflected in water” which she says has a very “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon feel” (one of my absolute favourite films). She also talks about some of the changes made to some of her previous books, like The True Queen and how those changes helped to make one of her characters “less of a dick” once we see things from their point of view as well.
The penultimate author we met before I had to head off was Ash Poston (Geekerella, The Princess and The Fangirl) and she was a complete delight. She spoke about fandoms which are prevalent in her books and thanks to some brilliant questions by one of the wonderful other bloggers on our table we really got into discussing ownership of fictional characters and stories by the fans and the effects of that on culture now, especially in light of petitions calling for changes to fictional stories, the good, such as the revival of Brooklyn 99 and the bad, like Season eight of Game of Thrones. She spoke about her love of fanfiction, D&D and that she uses a D20 ring to help her when she’s stuck writing (a method I absolutely want to try) and before long we were fangirling about Garrus and Solus from Mass Effect and Dragon Age as well as how much the entire table loved Season two of Star Trek Discovery and Anson Mount as Captain Pike.
Before I had to head off I got to chat with one more author for a little while, Kristina Pérez who spoke about her Tristan and Iseult retelling, Sweet Black Waves and how it’s not just a romantic love story but is about sisterhood and female relationships, even changing some moments to better illustrate this. Next, she also gave us the elevator pitch and then a bit more description for her newest novel “The Tesla Legacy” which she describes as “if Bruce Banner were a high school girl” which sounds intriguing and is yet another book I will definitely need to pick up.
As time went on a few of us had to leave as the event as it overran a bit and we had other people waiting on us or things to get to and I headed back to the show floor where I met up with my friend again who I maaaay have dragged around the Artists Alley/Comic Village to meet all the lovely authors I love who were there today, we proceeded to buy art, comics, cakes and pick up some commissions of our D&D Characters we ordered that morning. By about 3:30 the halls were packed, it was getting very hot and stuffy and we had sore feet so we picked up some earlier purchases, said our goodbyes to friends and headed home. I was adamant I would stay awake on the journey home but pretty sure I fell asleep before we’d even left London, to be honest.
I had an absolutely wonderful time and only wish we had more time but I don’t think my brain could have coped with much more, or my feet! I’m already looking forward to YALC and LFCC in July as well as all of the new books I have to read AND have discovered thanks to the wonderful authors I met last weekend, not to mention the brilliant comics I picked up too. Thank you to Alaina for letting me travel with you and hang out most of the day and a big thank you to Jamie-Lee for the invite to the Blogger Brunch, definitely one of my all-time favourite events.
Did you go to the MCM Blogger Brunch? If so give me a shout, let me know how you found it and your favourite parts, same for if you attended MCM London, if neither of these apply to you let me know if any of the books mentioned during our author chats intrigue you! I think I’m most excited for The Bone Ships and The order of the pale moon reflected in water!