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March 28, 2014

An Interview with Wendy Webb About Her Experiences at the Virginia Festival of the Book

Posted by emily

Wendy Webb is an award-winning author, whose latest book, THE VANISHING, was published in January 2014. This past weekend, she went to the Virginia Festival of the Book, a five-day festival in Charlottesville, VA, that features hundreds of author attendees, readings, panel discussions and book signings. Wendy was kind enough to share her experience with Here, she talks about event highlights, bonding with fellow panelists and the pleasure of meeting readers. Was this your first time attending the Virginia Festival of the Book? Tell us about the event, and was it what you expected?

Wendy Webb: I knew Virginia Festival of the Book was a prestigious, very large event attended by serious book lovers, so I was thrilled to be asked to participate this year. I found it to be one of the most well-organized, well-run, interesting and fun book festivals I've ever attended. From the packet of info sent to authors to the assignment of panels to the receptions and events, everything ran like clockwork. Because it's not focused on just one genre, there was a great cross-section of readers and panels to interest everyone.

BRC: You were on a panel. Tell us about that and who your fellow panelists were.  

WW: I did two events, the Crime Wave Brunch and the Futuristic? Paranormal? Creepy? panel. The brunch was a ticketed event with Lisa Scottoline as the keynote speaker. An author was seated at each table, and it was a great way to meet and chat with book lovers. My panel, held later that same day, included Frankie Bailey, Austin Camacho, Lee Slonimsky, and one of my favorite authors, Carol Goodman. I've read all of her books, and I was thrilled to meet her. We found we had a lot in common and left the festival as friends. We all had such a good time on the panel that Frankie, Carol and I are talking about taking this show on the road, so to speak, in terms of setting up paranormal-themed readings together at bookstores in the New York area when I come out there in July for ThrillerFest.

BRC:  What were some of the other panels that stood out to you?

WW: I attended several Crime Wave panels. I really enjoyed the Disappearances, Deaths and Denial panel (I love true crime stories). Who knew you could say the words "Rockefeller" and "cannibal" in the same sentence? Carl Hoffman links those two oddly divergent concepts in his new book, SAVAGE HARVEST, which explores the disappearance of Michael Rockefeller in 1961.

BRC: The Virginia Festival of the Book has such a great history. Can you share a story or two about this year’s events with us?

WW: I always love meeting readers at book festivals, and this was no exception. Many readers sought me out to let me know they enjoyed my books, and it was so nice to hear. Another great thing is the opportunity to meet other authors. It's a chance to share stories, connect, network a bit. I got some great tips on ways to enhance my social media presence, which I will definitely begin using!

BRC: The literary fever that is all over Charlottesville during this weekend is something special. What did you hear from attendees as well as your fellow authors that particularly made you realize you were surrounded by booklovers?

WW: That was one of the best things about the festival --- the whole town seemed to be involved. There were events at the conference hotel, at the university, at libraries and bookstores, even in the city council chambers. Walking down the street, I saw signs for the festival everywhere. At the outdoor cafes, I'd overhear conversation after conversation about books. It seemed that all of Charlottesville was celebrating books, and it really was wonderful.

BRC: Was there a book that you walked away wanting to read most?

WW: During her keynote, Lisa Scottoline talked about how she got the idea for her 2009 novel, LOOK AGAIN. I hadn't read it, but now I'm definitely going to pick it up.

BRC: I used to enjoy attending this event because, among other things, Charlottesville was a tad ahead of NY in welcoming spring. I loved seeing the trees in bloom. This winter was harsher than usual, which begs me to ask: Was Charlottesville blooming yet?

WW: Not one blossom, I'm sorry to report. But the weather was beautiful, and this Minnesota girl really enjoyed sitting outside with a glass of wine, watching the book lovers go by.

BRC: Any other thoughts on the Virginia Festival of the Book?

WW: The level of organization and the smoothness of how things were run were very impressive. They made it look so easy!