I won’t say I was apprehensive travelling to my first FantasyCon in 2000 but I had come prepared with a good book, in case I found myself with time on my hands, or eating alone. After all, I didn’t know anyone else who was going to be there.
As it turned out, the organisers had anticipated people like me. There was a designated table where ‘virgins’ could meet each other, and be warmly welcomed by David Howe. All relieved not to be the only newbie, we consulted our programmes and agreed to meet up at various panels. The next thing to make me feel welcome was several people recognising my name on my badge as the author of The Thief’s Gamble. Even better, they said they’d enjoyed it!
That was thrilling but there are more important things I remember from the weekend. I made good friends whom I look forward to meeting each year now. All the established authors extended a generous welcome to a rookie, together with helpful advice and useful, cautionary tales. Notably Stan Nicholls and Anne Gay made sure I certainly wasn’t left eating dinner alone with my book.
Doug Bradley’s illustrated talk on movie makeup and masks was utterly fascinating and as well as doing my bit on panels, I went to others and to the GoH interviews. I came away from every session with intriguing questions to ponder and inspiration for developing my own writing. I also went home with a list of books to find that I might never have considered reading. The book I’d brought with me went home unopened, by the way.