Back in June I was lucky enough to go back to the Love Letter Convention in Berlin, it's a fabulous romance focused convention that always has about 40 different authors. Obviously as it's organised by German publishers a lot of those authors are German, and unfortunately a lot of them don't have books translated into English which is disappointing when you hear someone talking about a story that sounds fabulous, but they always have some international authors there too from places like the UK, America and even Australia and they have a range of panels as well as meet and greets in English so international readers are made to feel welcome.
I wish UK publishers would organise something similar in London because it has such a friendly and relaxed atmosphere and you really get the chance to spend time with the authors and chat. I think because there are less English speaking readers at the convention those panels are always less crowded than the German speaking ones which is definitely a bonus for me too.
I have to admit the main reason I wanted to go this year was to meet up with a group of friends I have from all around Europe, most of whom I met at LLC a couple of years ago. We've stayed in contact ever since in a WhatsApp group (isn't technology wonderful!) and this was a great chance for us all to meet up again and spend the weekend together. Sadly one member of the group couldn't make it but we still had a fabulous time.
Me with Aly, Karin, Peggy (back row), Freya & Diana
(There are actually 6 different countries represented in this group: Austria, Belgium,
England, Germany, The Netherlands & Romania, which I think is brilliant)
I have to confess that I was rubbish at taking notes in any of the panels so I can't really give you any info about what we all talked about. Instead this post will be more of a photo diary that I can look back on to remind me of the highlights!
We had an early start on day 1 to get to Cafe Moskau and register but it was worth it, the queues were already forming even before 8am and it only got worse after we arrived.
Diana & Freya with Ella Quinn
Getting there early meant we had even had time to hang out with author Ella Quinn in the courtyard before the first events even started. I love Ella's historical romances so it was great to meet her.
Clockwise from top left: Julie Cohen, Diana & Peggy with L.J. Shen,
Aly with Kerrelyn Sparks, Cathy Maxwell & Freya
Our first stop was a Blind Date where you get a chance to chat with a whole bunch of different authors, almost like speed dating as they move around the room every 15 minutes or so. We got to talk to Julie Cohen, L.J. Shen, Kerrelyn Sparks and Cathy Maxwell. As a huge paranormal romance fan I was really excited to meet Kerrelyn but I've also fallen in love with Cathy's historical romances recently.
Next was a panel with Ella Quinn, Kerrelyn Sparks, Jenny Colgan, Dani Atkins and Monica James where they all talked about how they first started writing and ended up getting published.
Next was another panel with Helena Hunting, Cathy Maxwell and Lara Adrian. If you've been following my blog for any length of time at all you'll know that Lara is one of my favourite authors so I was ridiculously excited to get the chance to see her again and I also really like Helena's contemporary romances so that was an extra bonus.
Top Row: Kerrelyn Sparks, Karin & Ella Quinn
Bottom Row: Jenny Colgan & Freya
Next up was another Blind Date, this time with Kerrelyn Sparks, Ella Quinn and Jenny Colgan.
After lunch was a panel with Julia K Stein, Ella Quinn, Cathy Maxwell, Mona Silver & Monica James.
Top Row: Lara Adrian & Monica James
Bottom Row: T.M. Frazier & her husband
Another Blind Date, this time with Lara Adrian, Monica James and T.M. Frazier. I've not read any of Monica or Tracey's books yet but they're both so funny that I definitely want to in the future.
Lara Adrian and me
I took a break from panels after that to spend an hour hanging out with Lara as she signed autographs for fans. I'd taken about 13 of her books with me so that took a while but we also got to chat in between her signing for other fans which was really fab.
Ella Quinn & Cathy Maxwell
The last event of the day was a Q&A with Ella Quinn and Cathy Maxwell. They both write fantastic historical romances but while Ella really focuses on getting every historical detail right Cathy is a little more relaxed about that as long as she's happy with the characters and the story.
Cathy Maxwell, Gwen Overland, Aly, Ella Quinn & me
In the evening Aly and I got to attend a blogger event organised by the LLC team. We didn't end up staying for long as it was mainly aimed at German bloggers but we did get to meet Gwen Overland and hang out with her, Cathy Maxwell, Ella Quinn.
Lara Adrian & Kerrelyn Sparks
We had a bit of a lay in the second day as we didn't have to be there super early for registration. The first panel was with Lara Adrian & Kerrelyn Sparks so it was all about paranormal romance and their mutual love of vampires. Definitely my kind of panel LOL.
The next panel was with Lara Adrian, Helena Hunting, Gwen Overland, Monica James and Cathy Maxwell. I can't really remember what they talked about but I do know that Cathy was in charge of asking the questions and we spent practically the whole hour laughing. I even had a chance to chat with Helena for a few minutes afterwards which was great as I've been a fan of hers since I read the Clipped Wings series years ago.
Helena Hunting & me
Kerrelyn Sparks & Ella Quinn
Next we got to listen to Kerrelyn Sparks and Ella Quinn reading from one of their books, Kerrelyn chose to read from one of the early Love at Stake books while Ella read from her upcoming release in the Worthingtons series.
Next was a workshop with Cathy Maxwell and Kerrelyn Sparks where we all spent time discussing the characteristics we look for in our heroes and heroines and how that sometimes differs when it comes to fiction compared to in real life.
Aly, Karin, Peggy, Freya & me with Cathy Maxwell
The final panel we went to was with Kerrelyn Sparks, Bianca Iosivoni, Mona Kasten, Inka Loreen Minden, Mona Silver and Lara Adrian.
Me, Aly, Cathy Maxwell, Ella Quinn & Freya
We just had time for a final chat with Cathy Maxwell and Ella Quinn before the afternoon signing session started. Most of the authors only have German books with them so I don't usually bother going to the signing. Especially since we had all managed to get the books we'd brought with us signed over the rest of the convention. Kerrelyn Sparks and Ella Quinn both had English books with them though so we braved the very, very long queues in the awful heat and came away with some new books for our efforts.
Later that evening, after the convention had finished we all went out to dinner at a restaurant near where we were staying and funnily enough Cathy Maxwell and Kerrelyn Sparks ended up there too with their husbands. We had a laugh about how they had started stalking us for a change and took a few pictures before we all enjoyed our meals.
So that was my experiences of LLC this year and we had a brilliant time. It was fab to catch up with friends, we had a lot of fun with the authors we met and we all came home with a mountain of books added to our wish lists. Sounds like a winning weekend to me!