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Here's everything that happened at The Riff Raff writers' meet up in August

Even a gloriously sunny London evening could not keep the letter-loving masses away from our August writers' event.

And charming as Amy and I are, we suspect that had more to do with the sensational debut authors taking to the stage. We like to keep our line up eclectic, but with a murder, a memoir and a magical YA fantasy on the bill, we exceeded our own expectations.

Drinks in hand, the audience settled down for our first author, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich. In The Fact of a Body, the Boston native has produced something that defies definition: part murder case, part memoir, this is a true story that is interwoven with Alexandria's own extraordinary truth.

She chose to read an extract before introducing her book and if it seemed a little unconventional at first, the effect was seismic: the audience were still, silent and utterly gripped. When she finished, we needed a moment to recover. It was Alexandria who broke the tension: “I never intended to write this book – in fact, I think I was desperately trying to avoid writing this book.”

She went on to talk eloquently about her writing process – honed over a decade of pursuing the same, harrowing story – and how to write about your own life when the narrative involves your family.

“At the end of a writing session, I needed a hug, Bourbon and puppies,” she laughed.

The audience had multiple questions for Alexandria and eventually time constraints forced us to move on (we honestly could have talked to her all night) so we settled for her final piece of advice: “Be patient, and don’t try to predict what people will react to.”

It was going to take one hell of an author to follow Alexandria. Lucky for us, we had one.

Charlotte Bowyer had her first YA book, His Frozen Fingertips<