Willy Fest 2014

I had reason to be in Melbourne over the weekend. It was the Williamstown Literary Festival, endearingly otherwise known as the WillyLit Fest. This meant I got to head ‘to town’ late on Saturday afternoon, after organising two nights of dinners, a day and a half of logistical movements for two children (the third, the oldest, being big enough to sort out himself), and kissing my husband lavishly goodbye outside the shed – well, maybe not so lavishly, very nicely though considering he was holding an angle grinder.

I dropped into the odd shop on the way down the M1. Collected myself a lovely new pair of dangly earrings and a very pretty scarf. Once in Melbourne, I stayed the night with my writing buddy Kathryn Ledson, where after dinner at the local (and very nice) R.S.L., we talked WAYYYYYY into the night about Erica Jewell (Kathryn’s heroine in her books ROUGH DIAMOND and MONKEY BUSINESS) and my current work- in-progress, Jaime from A BUSH CHRISTMAS. Kath drank wine. I drank tea. And we both ate chocolates.

Bleary-eyed yet very excited, Kath and I set off the next morning, taking the bay-side route, to the Westgate Bridge and ultimately Williamstown. Although I very nearly didn’t make it as I was too busy staring at tandem skydivers appearing from the sky above the beach. (And yes, I was supposed to be driving.) There were also those absolutely gorgeous mansions on North Road. Oh, my, how beautiful they were! (I missed the plastic dome things they use to water the trees by inches smiley)

Finally we were at the Willy Fest (in one piece) and there were our fellow ‘New Romantics’, a panel discussion team we have formed, which also includes the gorgeous Kate Belle who was jumping up and down, celebrating release day for her incredible new novel BEING JADE, and the lovely Jennifer Scoullar, who has recently published her third rural novel, BILLABONG BEND. Our facilitator for the panel was the charming Alison Stuart whose novel GATHER THE BONES had us all demanding to know how she came up with such an evocative title. Opera of course. Now why didn’t I think of that? (Probably because I have never been to the Opera - I think I’d best be rectifying that at some stage, so I can at least look like I know what the conversation is about).

Kate Belle, me!, Jennifer Scoullar and Kathryn Ledson

We had a fun panel session with lots of intelligent and interesting discussion from both the panel and audience members, which also included a journo. Some avid romance readers were in the crowd as well as some very experienced and long-time romance authors. It was a great session. (Watch out for Jane Sullivan’s article in next Saturday’s Age!)

Kate Belle, me!, Jennifer Scoullar, Alison Stuart and Kathryn Ledson (standing)

When it came time to say goodbye to my writing mates, we discovered there was a traffic jam on the eastern side of the West Gate Bridge. It was going to take a while to clear. So, I just had to set off down the street to kill some time. (Oh the shame of it all smiley) And it was here I discovered some absolutely gorgeous little shops and came to the conclusion, I love the diversity of city shopping. People there are so lucky to have such a wealth of choice. But then as I finally got back in my car and headed east, home to my mountains, I realised I am so lucky too, to have such a lifestyle choice.

I wasn’t in such a reflective mood this morning though. I discovered I had forgotten I’d taken my new, beautiful dangly earrings off, and shoved them in the pocket of my Ariat jeans (thinking that’s where they’d be safe). And they were all in the wash. On mid-cycle. You can imagine the cursing. Sheesh!

P.S. I am please to report we all survived. Me, the jeans … and the earrings.


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