I've had this post on my To Do list for a couple of weeks now, but I wanted to detail my first experience as a Con panelist!
A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to Nineworlds Geekfest in London to speak on the Writing Queer Characters panel. It was my first experience of speaking on a panel, so I was genuinely really nervous before I went. Luckily, I arranged to meet up with fellow #WO2016 author, Emma Adams, to share accomodation and generally hang out! Despite talking online frequently, Emma and I had never met before.
On the positive side, I didn't die. Our panel went relatively smoothly, although I do feel that the moderator could have been better prepared and it would have been helpful to have some indication of specific questions prior to the day. It may have helped if I'd been able to arrive earlier, but due to some travel chaos, I *just* made it to the panel in time. However, I was able to discuss polyamory and bisexuality in quite a lot of detail and the audience had some great questions. Our room was packed, which is also a great feeling! I also got to pimp some great Queer YA books like THE ABYSS SURROUNDS US … and the audience seemed pretty wowed by the idea of Lesbians and Seamonsters.
Getting down to the panel itself was more than a little bit of a challenge. I caught the train early Saturday morning — and our train HIT A PERSON. Honestly, it was one of those horror stories that you hear about but think are actually really rare. We were delayed for about four hours, and the whole time I was getting more and more anxious with conflicting emotions. I felt terrible for the person as it was ruled a suicide. Even worse for the driver who now has to live with the guilt and the surviving family members. Then, I hated myself for worrying so much over a panel in the light of … death. By the time I actually made it down to Nineworlds to meet Emma, I was pretty worked up and arrived approximately 5 1/2 hours later than I had anticipated.
Once I arrived, I did have a really great time. I loved seeing all the cosplay at the event and I got some frankly hilarious Loki Tea at the expo. Nineworlds is extremely inclusive and they build in a lot of places for quiet space around the venue. I went to some great panels on Fan Fiction and Fandom culture, as well as one on Plus Sized Heroines. I would have liked to see more YA book panels, but I appreciate that not every event can be focused on this magical category.