I was there as guest of my publisher Paladin, partly to promote the story collection (which is kind of a Best Of and features a lot of uncollected work). Signings, media, the Belgrade Book fair. The scale of the publishing industry in Serbia is quite amazing --four halls at the Belgrade fairgounds, full of publishers, book sellers, independent retailers. Books books books. And thousands of people, many of them buying (though I'm told that it's the only time of the year that many people buy books). Drinking with the Belgrade SF writers --there is a pretty vibrant local Sf and fantasy writing scene (I did note, a tad low on the oestrogen). Interesting things happening: I was talking to three writers (Goran among them) who all, independently, were pushing at the edges of the mainstream audience -- one alternate history, one dark urban fantasy (not Kick-ass grrrl with ass-antlers, fantasy in a contemporary urban setting) and horror/noir --that will appeal tot he general reading audience. Interesting approach, and one that chimes with me. One thing we all agree on: marketing. When you need it you can't get it, when you get it you don't need it. If I can ever remember my Flickr log-in, I may post up some photos.
Belgrade is a deeply fascinating place, probably one of the most interesting cities I've been to. Everything is layered and nuanced --and I got a feeling of a city and a nation not quite at ease with itself. There's an edge --and the population is very young and energetic. Most of the time I was just looking around and listening. No, I'm not going to McDonald it. Moving on from that.
I am in the middle of polishing an outline for the next Grownup novel Hopeland--agents are excited after the first version of the outline, I'm excited. It's like nothing else I've ever done. It's like nothing else out there. I'm deliberately trying to find out if there's another gear in the box to shift up --I think there may be.