Thursday last week saw the annual trek to Harrogate for the Theakston’s Crime Writing Festival held at the beautiful Old Swan in Harrogate. It’s a place where well established crime writers, new up and coming writers, still trying to be published writers, and readers, all mingle together in the same space without segregation and talk all things crime with copious amounts of their favourite tipple on hand. Be that tea, coffee, wine, Theakstons of course, or something a little shorter. It is one of the highlights of the crime writers year.
My first stop however had to be Betty’s tea shop in town to sample the delights of the China Rose Tea and of course the cream tea alongside it. And on the way out I bought some China Rose tea to bring home with me. I also couldn’t resist taking a photograph of these little fella’s!
Friday Morning saw the start of the panels. The first one I saw was ‘The Good Old Days‘ A discussion chaired by Martyn Waites with guests James Oswald, Mel Sherratt, Mark Edwards and Mari Hannah, discussing the different routes into publication – self publishing and traditional publishing. It started with Martyn Waites attempting to do a large hall selfie but not quite getting it right, then being corrected by Mari for pronouncing her name wrong. (It’s Mari as in Sari.)
James Oswald stated that if you intend to self publish then you are in for a lot of work as you are doing everything yourself.
Mel Sherrat said she does a bit of both…
There was some heated talk about the cost of ebooks and what readers are willing to pay for certain items such as cups of coffee but not books.
It then moved on to audience questions and in response to one question from the audience member who asked at what point the panel called themselves writers, Edwards seemed to struggle with this but Oswald stated ‘If you write, you’re a writer.’ Hear Hear!
In the ‘Worse things happen at home‘ panel, a discussion about violence in the home, Cath Staincliffe gave the best quote for me, when asked in audience questions whether it was nature or nurture, that whichever it was, we still have to take responsibility for our own actions.
Friday evening saw the highlight event. The prize attraction for many. Robert Galbraith was coming to Harrogate! AKA J. K. Rowling. Unfortunately, photographs were not allowed, so I have none to share on this post.
Galbraith was interviewed by Val McDermid and it was a relaxed affair. Galbraith wore a smart suit and tie for the occasion and carried it off well! She stated that the reason she turned to crime – in a manner of speaking – following children’s fantasy – was because she had always read it and is a lover of the genre. So for us crime lovers, that is wonderful to hear. She is a classic crime lover. Preferring the whodunnits like Christie and Allingham. She talked about squealing and dancing around her kitchen when she got a glowing blurb from McDermid before anyone knew her identity. A funny thought considering her highly regarded prowess with a keyboard, but writers are insecure creatures. And she did confirm that the reason she attempted to go it alone and undercover of pen name was to see if she could make it without her name giving her the advantage. Hence the dancing in the kitchen.
She talked about her character Strike and said she has no plans to stop writing him, so crime fans of this series can sit easy. She is happy in the genre and knows enough about him to keep going.
One thing she did say, was that she wished she had been published after she had been married, that way she would be J. K. Murray and everyone would know how to say that, but as it is everyone gets her name wrong. So, for your information – you pronounce is Rowling as in Rolling, like rolling down a hill 🙂
And here’s my signed book of The Silkworm!
More on Harrogate tomorrow….