Today, Cathy Cassidy joined guests in the stunning Midland Hotel’s Stanley Suite for afternoon tea. Eager guests arrived early to wait for Cathy, author of the well-loved Chocolate Box Girls series. One family had even flown in all the way from Limerick, Ireland, to meet Cathy and have their books signed (they had brought the entire collection of Chocolate Box books!) Before Cathy arrived, I spoke to Niamh, 12, who told me that she’s read most of Cathy’s books. When asked her favourite thing about Cathy’s novels, Niamh said, “The characters. They’re really interesting.”
Sherry Ashworth, author and retired Senior Lecturer from The Manchester Writing School, introduced Cathy Cassidy. Cathy – whose books feature themes of friendship – greeted everyone warmly, saying that she hoped girls sitting at tables together would make friends. Cathy also talked a little about her school life, as fans are often curious what she was like at their age.
“My favourite thing was not on the school timetable,” explained Cathy. “And sometimes the teachers didn’t understand it… my favourite thing was actually daydreaming.” Cathy went on to talk about the benefits of daydreaming, much like David Almond did at his event on Friday. Cathy told us that when you daydream, “Imaginative ideas get the chance to shine.” Cathy told fans to e-mail her for daydreaming tips, as she couldn’t give out her secrets in front or parents!
Following Cathy’s introduction, there was a wonderful reading from Sweet Honey, her new book, which deals with social media issues and the idea of fitting in. Cathy then described a competition she is running called “Selfies and Shelfies”. To enter, readers must submit either a photo of themselves with one of her books or a photo of a Cathy Cassidy book on a bookshelf/in a stack of books. The winner receives a camera and tripod. The competition ends tomorrow, so check out the details on Cathy’s website.
A quick Q&A took place before tea and cake was served (the first person to ask Cathy a question received
a yummy chocolate bunny!) One girl wanted to know, “What inspires you to write books?”
“You, in a way,” said Cathy, referring to her readers. She said that her readers are talented, caring and thoughtful and that they are at an amazing age. “I find my readers to be the most inspiring people,” she added.
Another reader asked, “Are you doing any books outside the Chocolate Box series?” To the delight of her fans, Cathy revealed she is working on a new book – currently untitled – to be released in April 2015.
After answering questions, Cathy visited each table to chat with fans and answer any more questions they might have, as well as sign their books. Some dedicated fans were even reading at their tables after buying a new book from the Waterstones stand! It was a lovely event with a great turnout, and Cathy talked to everyone present, even taking some photographs of fans for Dreamcatcher, a blog written by her readers.
Tomorrow is the final day of Manchester Children’s Book Festival 2014! Check the What’s On Guide to make sure you don’t miss anything on the last day.