Today I went to my first convention. A local one called Demoncon in Maidstone in Kent at the Royal Star Arcade. A friend in my local NaNoWriMo group told me about it and as soon as she told me about it I knew I was going to go. One because I wanted to go but also because she said that Dan Abnett was going to be there. Dan Abnett is one of my writing idols. His Gaunts Ghosts series is a series I started reading in my late teens, early twenties when I first started reading and it really blew my mind away. I’d read Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan books, and the Gaunts Ghosts books were so far removed from Clancy’s work and they showed me a whole new world of fiction and how brutal a setting could be. I always liked the Jack Ryan books, but with Gaunts Ghosts I fell in love with all of the characters as well as the setting and the bigger universe that was hinted at.
So meeting Dan Abnett was a serious life highlight for me (and I didn’t geek out too much). It did help that he is such a nice dude. I was fortunate to spend a good ten minutes talking to him, which was really awesome. I also met his wife Nik Vincent, who is also a writer and they have collaborated together. She is as well, an absoulutly wonderful person and it was a real pleasure talking to her as well.
I also met three other writers, Kit Cox, Miles Allen and Lance Manley (LR Manley). All three of these gentlemen are writers who I hadn’t come across yet and I spent a few minutes talking to each of them about books, writing and other writing related/con related topics.
All three were really welcoming and really easy to talk to. I purchased books from all three and I’m really looking forward to diving into them. I will just mention that Lance Manley does a lot of work againts bullying and that is some that needs to be praised.
I did also buy a fantastic piece of Joker artwork by Phil Buckenham.
I also spoke to Vic Iddstar Hill. She made a short movie called Sincerely, Soldier Bear (search it, or Hat Day Films on YouTube) and I just wanted to praise her for such a fantastic film. It’s such a deep piece of filmaking with a huge message that is very subtle in how she has presented it. It also come across as very innocent in its presentation as well.
I’m very happy this was my first convention. It’s not a huge convention but I found that really welcoming. It had a great atmosphere and those people I spoke to were all fun and engaging to speak to. I often find new things like this quite intimidating but this I didn’t. I felt a little overwhelmed, but the warmth of those I spoke to helped hugely and in the couple of hours I was there I didn’t get any bad vibes. It seemed like a lot of people doing what they like and having fun.
I’m sure I missed a lot but I am so glad I went. I’m itching to go again (the next ones in September) and that next time I’ll know what to expect. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I’m so happy Demoncon was as much fun as I’d been told.