Anyway, with several u-turns and asking someone for help, we eventually found it. Lucky I left lots of time to get there. That was fortunate because it gave me plenty of time to panic when I found out they were going to film the opening panel with Ian Irvine and Juliet Marillier on the international scene that I was chairing. No pressure!
Maybe it was the setting or maybe it was the stunning weather or the enthusiasm of the organisers, but the whole festival had a great feel to it. The unusual setting also meant that off-the-lead dogs would often wander into the conference rooms and had to be shooed out. This sort of added to the charm.
The other panel I was on, talking about short stories with Cat Sparks (Cosmos Magazine), Angela Slatter and Lisa Hannett, was also a lot of fun. We had a few people come up to us afterwards saying how valuable it had been, so I think we gave the audience what they were looking for.
The day for me finished with three mini-mentorships. I only had ten minutes with each person, so there wasn't much time to get my head around what their project was let alone offer something constructive. I think I was some help with at least two of them.
I'd recommend this festival to anyone interested in writing and reading speculative fiction. You'll need to be quick, though, if there's another one next year because this one sold out well before the event , and I suspect next year's will sell out even earlier.
Photo by Zena Shapter