Yesterday morning I was on a panel with Steven Saylor, Lindsey Davis, and John Maddox Roberts. So that's the Three Gods of ancient mysteries, and...er...me. Also three Romans and a Greek.
And it was an absolute blast. Ever since, I've been begging our editor Keith Kahla to do it again some time. The session was standing room only, including my own dear cheer squad. Thanks guys! I will modestly admit I acquitted myself well. My previous public speaking experience helped a lot. To anyone who thinks or hopes to be in the same situation in the future: get some practise well beforehand.
I wish I could give you a verbatim script of everything that was said, because a lot of it was fascinating stuff. I'll post photos at some point in the future; I have some but they need to be reworked and my travel machine is not the tool for the job. At some point in the future I'll collate some of the bits that particularly struck me.
I didn't realize until later, and John confirmed, that despite all three publishing great stories for decades, this was the first time ever that Steven, Lindsey and John have been on the same stage at the same time. An historic moment.
People came up to say hello to me afterwards, complete strangers who wished me well, which I thought was very kind. Then it was down to the book room. All the authors sign for half an hour or so after their talks. (Janet did an agent talk earlier in the week, and lo and behold they assigned her a signing space afterwards, for her non-existent book.)
Signings for newbies are a fraught exercise due to the tendency to be assigned spaces next to Lee Child or Charlaine Harris. Their queue snakes out the room and around the building while you sit there playing with a pen. I was pleasantly surprised! People not only bought the book and brought it over, but at one point I even had...OMG...a queue. This is debut author heaven. There were three books left in the store when the signing finished. They disappeared that afternoon. So I sold out! There's no question in my mind what made that happen: the high quality of the panel session that came before.