Monday, 17 June 2013

M L Stedman again! - Author event

We both read and loved M L Stedman's debut tug-of love novel The Light Between Oceans when it was published last year (it even made it into Maryom's Picks of the Year list ) and have been to a previous event of hers at Lowdham Festival 2012, so when we discovered she was visiting our local Waterstones last week we had to go. We regularly go to events at Waterstones but they're normally at the larger Nottingham store and this was the first one we'd been to at our smaller local store in Derby. When we arrived the space allocated was on the ground floor and with easy access to the door but as the the time to the start of the event ticked away more people arrived and more seats had to be found. As this was a lunch time, mid week, I had not expected a reading followed by q&a as I anticipated people dropping in and dashing out again. However a very informal event followed with Stedman reading from a few parts of the book and then it felt more like a cosy group chat as people asked questions and shared their view of aspects of the book.

With author events of this type it's always  a debate as to what to share about what was learned at the event but here are a few things.
  • Stedman is currently 'reading',  Daniel Deronda after finding an audio book of this very large tome. Stedman is very much a fan of audio books as they give her the chance to 'read' at times when she otherwise couldn't.
  • An important theme running through The Light Between Oceans is war, specifically the First World War and its impact on Australian volunteers and on communities at home and this is one particular aspect of the story that she researched greatly and seems to have been affected by deeply.
  • It's always exciting to hear that a book you've loved is going to be made into a film and Light Between Oceans has been 'optioned' and is actually going through the screenwriting stage. I'm often worried about how it will be interpreted for the screen - will the casting feel right? will the location be altered to suit the production crew? and worst of all, will some or all of the plot be changed?- These were all questions that the audience had to ask Ms Stedman. Her main concerns were with the ending and the emotional integrity of the  novel being maintained more than its location and these are things she thinks she has protected in the choice of filming company - something she did have a say in which certainly surprised me.
  • The book has been translated into 32 languages and sold nearly 800,000 copies worldwide.
  • There have been many different covers and everyone seems to have there own favourite. The one we saw at the event was an 'Exclusive to Waterstones' cover so if you are a collector...
As many of the audience had 'dropped in' over lunch the event had to end on time so they could return to work but Stedman was more than willing, showing her approachability, to stay chatting with individuals and signing books.

An excellent event and I hope we'll see more of  them in our local store. Oh, and the biscuits were nice too!

Maryom's review 
The Mole's review

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