I’m really glad I caught Carole Matthew’s Facebook status on Tuesday last week:
“Am at Sherborne Literary Festival on Saturday 20 Oct at 10am. Anyone coming to play? Don’t want to be Matthews No Mates… C : ) xx “
Sherborne is only an hours drive away from where I live and I had recently been moaning that I was too far away from author events … so when Peds came home from work, I broached the subject of attending Carole’s event, expecting a negative response such as “I’ve got too much to do on Saturday.” When he just said one word, yes, I looked at him in disbelief … and had to question his response! Wednesday I contacted Sherborne’s Tourist Information and was given excellent service from Janet. The tickets were going to be available for us to collect at the event and Janet even emailed me two maps. Everything was easy!
We do like Sherborne, having been a favourite place of ours to visit before the boys were born and decided we would make a day of it. Not only would I get to see one of my favourite authors but we were going to have a ‘play day’ too
We were late setting off on Saturday morning (Peds having overslept!) but with minimum local traffic I felt quite confident that we would make it on time. We chose to drive on the winding A roads as it’s such a gorgeous route through villages and countryside.
We passed through atmospheric pockets of mist and some stunning autumnal colours – setting the scene for our ‘play date.’
We made it with 10 minutes to spare … and as soon as we entered the Catholic Church hall, Carole caught my eye and smiled. When she realised who I was she waved me over so even before my coat was off I was embraced in a very welcoming hug and we were straight into a conversation.
As Carole and I chatted, Peds had no chance to feel left out as Lovely Kev kept him company. Carole told me that Laura – one of The Romaniacs (a great writing group who are very supportive of each other) was also there (Laura must have been more organised than us as she had a front row seat!) so we also said hi.
The organiser introduced Carole and from then we were all totally focussed on her as she shared with us her publication journey. Despite the different age groups attending, all the audience were entranced as Carole hooked us in – not only with her array of jobs before writing, the lucky breaks she’s had in her publishing journey, her brief sojourn in Hollywood and on live American TV but also the way she presented the information. Carole’s humour and anecdotes had us tittering and several times, full blown laughter. Yes, even Peds was laughing too!
Carole then shared the synopsis and entertained us with an excerpt from her new novel With Love at Christmas. Entertained we most definitely were with an intimate scene that was laden with humour. Peds and I looked at each other sharing silently that the scene was something that could easily happen to us …
Finishing up with a Q & A session we found out that Carole’s best subject at school was English but she hadn’t written anything from leaving school until she entered a short story competition quite a few years later. I was intrigued to learn that while Carole was an aromatherapist by day, from 9pm until midnight each day she tied herself to her desk so that chores wouldn’t distract her from writing … that’s what you call dedication!
After the event I made the most of the opportunity by asking Carole to sign my copy of With Love at Christmas and also a copy I’d purchased for a giveaway on my blog (giveaway will be live soon).
After Carole’s event, I was hoping to spend some time with Laura but she was a little busy at first as you can see …
But we did get time to chat and for a photo. It was fab to meet her and her daughter.
As an aside, I also bumped into an ex line manager from my admin days in Poole Borough Council (13 years ago!) His wife is a writer and they’d booked to attend events at the festival. Definitely a small world!
Carole is as warm and approachable in person as she is on Twitter and Facebook and I’m honoured to have spent a little bit of time with her. If possible, I’m an even bigger fan that I was before. It’s been the best Saturday morning I’ve had in a long time … thanks Carole x