Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
Date: 18 Oct
Location: Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
Ticket: Event Fee(s) £42.00
On a beautiful afternoon, guests could not resist turning up early for the Myisrael Book Lovers' Tea in the beautiful grounds of The Grove Hotel.
Before sitting down to afternoon tea, guests caught up with each other and had a chance to peruse the book titles that were available to buy from the renowned authors on the panel made up of best selling author Rowan Cowan, Abi Silver and Marilyn Messik.
As tea began, delicate finger sandwiches quickly filled up plates, followed soon after by the most delectable treats including divine eclairs, mouth-watering lemon cake, melt-in-the-mouth raspberry tart and the richest, smoothest most heavenly chocolate treat imaginable! The Grove's famous scones accompanied the beautiful cake stands, as everyone wished to be wearing elasticated waists!
Danni Franks, founder and CEO addressed the room and talked about the 7 children so desperately in need of expressive arts therapy at Misholim, a Myisrael project. She specifically talked about a 10 year old boy who was born with a severe heart condition and later diagnosed with a syndrome that resulted in communication problems. He has a problem with his eyes which requires operations. His situation is so complex with all the medical and communication issues and as a result it was impossible for him to have a normal childhood. Also, understandably, his parents were very protective over him - never had the opportunity to be a normal kid.
Guests were then treated to a rare insight into what Myisrael actually does behind the scenes, in terms of mentoring and guiding projects to run their "businesses" smoothly and to be sure that they raise as much money as they can and in the most efficient way. A short video clip of Shari Mendes, founder of the Lemonade Fund was screened in which she talks about the help and support she gets from Myisrael, and how nothing they do happens without first discussing with Danni.
Immediately afterwards, pledge cards were completed as the guests in the room together helped to raise £3,700 for arts therapy for these children.
Finally it was time to hear from the panel. Rebecca Wilcox, TV presenter and journalist, introduced herself and the panel, and then moved onto asking fascinating questions such as what was the first advance you got and how did you spend it? Marilyn Messik bought the house down with her response that the only advance she's ever received was from her husband.
The authors were asked about creative writing courses, and their value. Rowan has taught creative writing before, and feels that they really can add value and encourage a writer to "stand on their own two feet."
Common traps the authors fall into (other than the biscuit tin, as Marilyn pointed out) are not realising your first book could become the start of a series and not writing accordingly....naivety about the publishing industry, the marketing and publicity that is expected of an author. So it's not just the days, weeks and months writing that needs to happen, it's the work after publication, travelling around the country to meet people, attend festivals and market your book. The loneliness of the writing process can be a challenge for most authors.
The panel were asked how they feel about reviews and are they brave enough to read them and how they deal with criticism? Rowan pointed out the thick skin that is required to work in the creative arts industry. And on reviews, the one thing she can't abide is the one star review on Amazon that says "delivered late!" But actually Rowan avoids reading Amazon reviews, she'd rather hear from readers directly which she often does. But more importantly it's not so much about how the book has been received, but more did she achieve what she set out to with the book itself?
The questions could have gone on and on, but all good things must come to an end. One very happy guest won lunch for four at The Grove by way of the complimentary raffle ticket all guests had hiding under their plate.
Full to the brim after putting in a hard afternoons' work, guests left wanting more and having together changed at least 5 children's lives.
An enormous thank you to Daniel Levy for once again sponsoring this event, and to all the staff at the Grove and our wonderful panel and host.