Wow! What a couple of weeks I’ve had.
On Wednesday, as part of WORDfest Crawley I interviewed two of my favourite writers at Crawley Library.
Dead Rich by William Shaw, writing as GW Shaw, has been described by one reviewer (ie Me) as “Die Hard on a Yacht.” The book is a genuine rip-roaring all-guns-blazing adventure yarn and is the perfect read for a holiday. Provided you’re not holidaying with a dodgy Russian Oligarch on his yacht.
But then, come to think of it, I doubt many of my readers are likely to be holidaying with a dodgy Russian Oligarch on his yacht.
Lesley Thomson came to talk to us about The Distant Dead, the most recent in her Detective’s Daughter series about Cleaner – Amateur detective Stella Darnell. If you’re a fan of Danny Bird (and let’s face it: why would you be here if you weren’t) then I have the distinct feeling you’re going to love the Detective’s Daughter books. They’re brilliantly plotted, deeply human and genuinely joyful reads.
We had a wonderful time discussing crime fiction, locations that just instantly inspire dark thoughts, and favourite out-of-fashion authors, and the audience added in some wonderful questions. Books were sold, tea was spilled, and all-in-all, it was a wonderful evening.
Then, the next night, again as part of WORDfest Crawley, I had the unmitigated joy of talking to the fabulous Alexandra ‘AK’ Benedict about her brilliant, wide-ranging and hugely inspirational career. We covered Clown School, emotional vulnerability, Christmas stories that are darker than December, the value of neuro-diverse role models, Torchwood, Queen Victoria as an action hero, and – of course – Doctor Who.
A Packed audience were wonderfully attentive and respectful and were treated to readings, gossip, and some truly inspirational insights from a writer who is not only a polymath but also a genuine joy to spend time with.
I was reminded how brilliant the writing community is, and how much joy there is in just being around them.
And talking of which, in case you were interested in coming along to an event to say hi, get books signed, listen to me chatting to some amazing writers or even to serve a summons for unpaid parking tickets, here are some upcoming events I’ll be appearing at.
On Saturday 18th from 10:30am to 3:00pm I’ll be back in Crawley Library for a Writers’ Day. This time I’ll be sharing a room with about twenty other local writers all of whom will have stories to tell and books to sell. And I might have some special offers as well, so do please pop in so I’m not reduced to talking to myself for half a day.
Then, from 15th to 17th of June I’ll be down in Gorgeous Lyme Regis on the Jurassic coast to take part in a few events at the brilliant Lyme Crime Festival.
Just take a look at that cast list! I’m literally gobsmacked and don’t think baby Derek would ever have believed he’d be on a bill with so many A-List writers.
On Thursday 15th I’ll be hosting a Noir at the Bar from 6.30pm-8pm in the Upstairs Bar at the Marine Theatre. Noir at the Bar, for those who don’t know what it is, is an evening of readings, conversation and laughter with established and emerging crime writers. All welcome and entry is free. And you don’t get many things for free these days, so if you’re in the neighbourhood, please pop this in your diary and come along. There might even be some exclusives on the night.
The next day Friday 16th June at 10am I’ll be joining SJ Bennett and Rachel Ward to discuss all things Cosy Crime in a panel entitled From Guilty Secret to Top of the Charts.
Cosy crime writers have long felt like Cinderella in crime circles, but with the arrival of Richard Osman, that’s all changed. With cosy topping the charts, we’ll be discuss our genre, and why we’re loud and proud.
Buy your tickets here
Then, on Saturday 17th June at 2.30pm I’ll once again have my moderator hat on to ask three of my favourite people – Leye Adenle, Neil Broadfoot and Ed James – where they stand on the Plotting versus Pantsing debate.
Crime novels and thrillers are known for their intricate plots, compelling characters and killer twists. But how much planning goes into these books before the actual writing begins – and how much is just made up on the hoof? Join us as we discuss the merits of plotting versus ‘pantsing’, share the times that books were born from a single line, and reveal the tricks that keep our writing fresh, and our readers guessing.
Buy your tickets here.
Honestly, check out the whole weekend’s schedule here:
This is going to be an absolutely amazing weekend. I went last year and had a grin glued to my face for weeks afterwards. If you’re in the neighbourhood – or if you can get to the neighbourhood – grab some tickets (or discounted weekend tix) and come along to Britain’s most southerly and most joyfilled festival of (fictional) murder mayhem and mischief. You can thank me later.
What else have I been doing? Went to see Suede at G-Live.
Couldn’t work out why I had a perma-frog in my throat 36 hours later, then realised I’d been screaming at the stage for two hours.
Saw Antman and the Wasp: Quantumania and enjoyed it even more for the twenty minute power nap I took in the middle.
Went to Bay Tales Live, another joy-filled festival full of passionate readers and A-List writers whose genius and skill is just inspirational.
Bought a ton of records from Bens in Guildford and Mama Roux in Whitley Bay.
Sent a new top secret project to some people for feedback, and had the most amazing Pan Haggerty (no, I didn’t either) at Hinnies, a Geordie Comfort Food spot in Whitley Bay that was expertly recommended by Ann Cleeves of Vera, Shetland and Matthew Venn fame. Honestly, if Ann ever decides to give up crime fiction she can start in the Whitley Bay tourist information office next day, so deep is her local knowledge. Oh, and I went to Alnwick where I bought some Nancy Drew hardbacks and bumped into the brilliant crime writer Paul Heatley.
WORDfest Photos by Simon Edwards