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Okay, some poetic licence there, but I am a fantasy author so I get to embellish.  Nothing made up about the glamour of Surfers Paradise, however, and the Gold Coast City Council’s Literati writing festival 2012 ran as smoothly as the surf rolling up onto the pristine white beaches a block from the hotel where the authors were housed, the gorgeous Watermark. This is the view from my window past the iconic Q1 building:

Friday started with me up at 3:30am for the drive down the coast.  I arrived over-caffeinated around midday, checking in to the Watermark to hang out my frock and dust off my heels before continuing to the bottom end of the Gold Coast for the afternoon masterclass I was tutoring on “Structural Editing” at the Elanora Library. It was a busy and exciting afternoon of pulling apart 14 authors plots and putting them back together again.  I love the revelations that writers experience through this process but I’m well aware it’s unnerving to discover that your draft novel needs more re-writing than you’d thought it would!  Still, the guys were very receptive to suggestions.

I finished up right on 4:30pm and instead of hanging around to chat (which I usually do) I raced out the door to drive back to the hotel so I’d have time to frock up for the evening’s Literary Feast which was to be held at the beautiful Gold Coast Arts Centre.  After meeting in the foyer of the hotel, the glammed-up authors were bussed to the venue and then had cocktails together so we could meet those we’d be on panels with the next day.  After that we were lined up in a dark corridor (bit spooky and some giggling at that point) waiting for our names to be called out…

On the other side of the corridor sat tables of waiting diners.  Each author was ‘auctioned’ to a table of literary patrons for entree, main and dessert courses so once we found our places we were able to charm and chat with readers, librarians and friends of the library, all eager for the Literary Feast.

I met some awesome people, chatted to school and council librarians about their jobs, talked to readers about the way ebooks are changing publishing options for authors, and had the pleasure of introducing our representative Harlequin author Helen Lacey to the president of the Gold Coast Friends of the Library (the sponsors of the dinner) who was a huge romance fan!  It was a great night.

The next morning I was up bright and early because the four masterclass tutors were on the first panel of the day at the Literati venue, the Robina Community Centre:

Left to right: Trent Jamieson, moi, Angela Sunde and Tiana Templeman. We all gave a short precis of what we’d taught the previous day, then took questions from the floor, and had some interesting discussion on how our private lives have influenced our writing, as well as how you should structure a novel to make it comfortable to read and yet unique and reflective of your own ‘voice’.  I love listening to other writers describe their process so this was a particularly satisfying panel for me.

The local Gold Coast ABC radio station FM 91.7 was broadcasting from Literati and I was interviewed after my panel, which was a lot of fun.  I managed to fit in some funny anecdotes (which is always a win) and really enjoyed the process:

Following the interview I managed to snag a bit of time off in the green room and had a lovely relaxed chat with Trent Jamieson (left, below) about his Death Works series which I’ve just bought book three of (and adored #1 and #2), and Stephen M. Irwin (who has such a cool website) and who also shares the same agent I do, the beautiful and talented Selwa Anthony.

Then when we’d caught our breath it was time to scoot outside and take our places at the signing table (below) where I got to speak to readers about my books and also to some writers who wanted help with their unpublished novels (keeping my author and manuscript developer hats both to hand).

There was time to catch up with other presenters after the signing session was over, so I snagged a ‘spec fic’ photo opportunity (below) when Marianne de Pierres, Kylie Chan and Nicky Strickland were all in the one spot with me:

It was also a pleasure to reconnect with fantasy author Rowena Cory Daniells (left, below) and my good mate Harlequin author Helen Lacey, so I had to get a ‘members of Romance Writers of Australia‘ photo of the three of us:

By this point everyone was getting a bit ragged, and with way too much caffeine and too little sleep under my belt it was time to leave before Evil Louise could make an appearance (assuming my lap-top smashing alter-ego exists).  Now all I have are my lanyard and happy memories:

It was an awesome weekend of luxury, fun, insight, shiny red heels, spectacular creme brulee and deep-and-meaningful conversations – one of my favourite festivals on the Literary Calendar.  I’m back home catching my breath and catching up on emails because in only a fortnight I’ll be zipping off to Melbourne for Continuum8, the national science fiction and fantasy convention.  Am seriously looking forward to seeing who’s at the bar at that Con!