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Meeting Robin Stevens in Sheffield

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

I follow Robin Stevens on Twitter because, as you know, I'm a huge fan of her books. I saw her tweets saying she would be at Rhyme and Reason books in Sheffield one Sunday in November, so I immediately went to reserve tickets for myself and my partner. I knew I would love ti meet her! Plus it was a Sunday morning so we would both be free.

I haven't been to the bookshop before. It's on Eccleshall Road and that's not somewhere we go a lot. We were close by over the summer, though, when we went to Endcliffe Park with friends. But I hadn't seen the bookshop and now I wish I'd known about it before because I would have gone! It's a children's bookshop and although it's quite small, it has a huge number of books in it. I would like to go back and have a proper browse at some point.

There's a back room and quite a few of us crammed in - lots of children and their parents. The staff introduced Robin and to begin with she read a little scene from Top Marks for Murder, the bit where Beanie sees a murder happen out of the girls' dorm window. Then Robin signed books for everyone. She was so gentle with her young readers, it was actually a pleasure to witness. She asked each one if they had any questions for her, and when they asked she gave careful, considered answers and I'm sure none of the kids were disappointed. She signed LOADS of books; ones bought there, ones read and loved and brought along, and even ones for friends who couldn't make it. There weren't many people there so it wasn't taking very long, and I just thought it was very lovely of her. She had bookmarks, badges that said Detective Society Member and she took photos with everyone with their phones and hers. I have met a lot of really lovely authors but Robin really stands out as being extremely nice, which is so important when your books skew towards a younger age range. I was impressed!

I waited til the end because we weren't in any rush and because I feel like kids deserve to go first in situations like this. I had taken all my Wells & Wong books with me and it turned out the only one I don't have was Mistletoe and Murder (which is perhaps my favourite, although I really can't choose), so I bought it from the bookshop. Robin very patiently signed alllll my books (including the two novellas/small mysteries that I have). I said it was a pleasure to meet her and that I recognised a lot of factors from Deepdean in my own school, and we had a nice chat about the series in general, about the fact that the next full length novel is going to be the last in this series, and about what she might write next. She's definitely working on something! I heard her give a hint to when exactly her next work might be set, and I'm definitely intrigued!

I said that I really like the political atmosphere of the books, for example the way in which Hazel suffers racial abuse. We talked about George and how his stature as someone from South Asia influences his political thinking. I'm not surprised that the next book will be the last as Daisy and Hazel are ageing out of the demographic, but I will be sad to lose them. I have loved reading this series and I'm sure the last book - which will be set in Egypt, and for which I have a bit of an idea about the title! - will be excellent too.

It was a lovely meeting and Robin is so nice and obviously appreciates all her fans, young and old alike. Definitely go to meet her if you can!

I also have to mention how lovely the two shop staff members were. They seemed really enthusiastic about their jobs and about the books in the shop, and were really nice. If you're in the area, the shop is definitely worth a visit.

At the beginning just as Robin finished her reading

Look how beautiful the books had been set up! There were lots of copies to buy, although I think I got the last copy of Mistletoe and Murder

Robin answering questions from fans

Me and Robin! No we didn't coordinate on outfits but we definitely matched! I think the pattern on her dress was macarons

And here's my bookmark and badge - I'm now a Detective Society member and proud of it!

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