Til Death Do Us Part
Being interviewed were Nicola, Mandy moderator is Graham Smith.
Being interviewed were Nicola, Mandy moderator is Graham Smith.
Alison Belsham was moderating this panel and kept it all flowing very well.
She writes procedural crime. Her debut novel was The Tattoo Theif, set around a Brighton Tattoo Convention. A youthful, fast-tracked DI is on the case to find out who has literally been cutting off tattoes. Her latest novel is – Her Last Breath.
Lin Anderson closed the first day of the festival in style with her latest book – Time for the Dead as well as entertaining and interesting anecdotes and talk of festivals.
Noelle Holten and Lin Anderson
What a life Lin Anderson has had so far. She taught Maths and Computing before giving it up to write for a living with her first story to tell – River Child. She has a book optioned for tv and is the co-founder of crime book festival Bloody Scotland.
Noelle Holten has her debut novel published and was featured on the Spotlight part of Bloody Scotland before Ian Rankin talked about his latest book The House of Lies. Noelle’s book is called Dead Inside. She also reckons crime books have the most diverse collection of stories told within them.
Noelle was great at asking the questions to Lin about her latest book and a dog called Blaze – a border collie up in Skye, which she describes as being majestic as well as Bloody Scotland.
Lin Anderson has not just the talent for writing books, but also of telling amusing anecdotes to her audience, such as about Blaze taking her for a walk in a place which inspired the opening of her novel.
She also talked about how axe throwing is empowering. I’ll take her word for it, never having tried that myself. Turns out she sounds like she’s pretty good at it.
Rhona McLeod books, are inspired by a place or a meeting and can be read as stand-alone.
Time for the Dead is Lin Anderson’s 14th novel.
She read an extract from her book and I must say it seemed atmospheric with the sounds and environment that is described, which would draw readers into the immediate surroundings. Very quickly there is intrigue that makes you want to hear more.
It was so interesting to hear about how Lin started to write with short stories and the courses and writing retreats she went to, one in-particular being situated in Inverness.
Noelle posed an interesting question asking how important are crime festivals and in inspiring and to aspiring new authors?
It turns out very important as crime books tell the world of today and cross all sections of society as police can get into it all.
Lin recalled Ian Rankin saying “if you’re going to go to a country you’ve never been to before, buy a popular crime book and you’ll learn more about the country than a travel guide”. It certainly was thought provoking. Crime writers certainly seem to, in my experience of reading their books, give great descriptions about many places and areas that aren’t necessarily touristy too, for example, I’ve never been to Gibraltar, but I feel I could confidently go if I were to have the time because of the way Robert Daws describes it in his books. Ian Rankin, Lin Anderson, Alex Gray and many other crime writers also allow readers to really gain good knowledge of a place through their skilful writing.
She then went onto talk about Driftneck and also how real life encounters can play into fiction. She has an amazing tale to tell about how she decided, her protagonist, Rhona McLeod, was going to be a forensic scientist. Some other situations were a bit more harrowing, but none-the-less important she brought them up and were worth mulling over and hearing things from a different perspective. Lin Anderson certainly seemed to ahead of time as she recalled it was at a time there weren’t many about in the fictional crime world. She talked more about forensics and the pace it changes and in relation to her writing. Talks like these are always interesting as they often throw something out there that a reader may not particularly always have thought about.
The talk about Bloody Scotland was so informative. This is another festival I also love and is amazingly so close to where I come from.
Everyone could tell how much work is put into putting on a festival. It was 3 1/2 year in the planning, although they got their headliners quickly for the first one. Credit to Alex Gray who suggested it should be in Stirling. Stirling has so many great venues to offer and so much to offer visitors, such as restaurants, the shops, the castle and the Wallace Monument, the scenery and the architecture.
The founders launched Bloody Scotland in both Stirling and London and certainly had a plan for a direction to go in and what they wanted to achieve. They had 3 aims:
1 – Find brand new writers – it became Pitch Perfect – it’s a 100 word pitch of your work. They’ve seen writers being published from this.
2 – Give a platform for new writers – this became Spotlight where writers can read an extract from their books.
3 – Have authors at different stages in their career.
These all run simultaneously and I must say that they are more than acheiving this and are doing it incredibly well. Many things from crime writers quizzing, playing football, singing, giving talks and signings can all be seen during the weekend of Bloody Scotland.
Lin also gave a mention to Capital Crime Festival in London, which was on the same weekend as Morecambe and Vice Festival.
Lin went onto concluding talking more about festivals and also about how authors are approachable at them. I have to say they certainly are and it doesn’t seem to matter whether you’ve seen an author more than once or meeting them for first time, or whether they are a best-selling or award-winning author or not, in my experience anyway, they’ve always been warm and most approachable.
The Bloody Scotland segment of her talk certainly sparked interest (as did her books), but people were certainly asking others about the festival, trying to get more information and there seemed to be quite a buzz about it.
If anyone ever gets the chance to see Lin Anderson talk about any of her books, I highly recommend you do because you’re in for a fabulous time!
I also highly recommend attending Bloody Scotland in September in Stirling.
Anne Coates was moderating/interviewing Sharna Jackson, Sarah Todd Taylor and Nicki Thornton.
Anne Coates writes for both children and adults. I had heard of her adult books and she certainly gets good reviews, so it was interesting to hear she writes books about children. Anne Coates skillfully opened up conversations to cover many subjects surrounding children’s books, from about the books themselves to age banding to tips.
Anne Coates Sharna Jackson Nicki Thornton Sarah Todd Taylor
About the Books
Sarah’s passion for cats and theatres really came across so well and she has clearly studied cats a lot to come up with ideas for her books, that sounded so intriguing. She’s even come to learn that cats have different purrs for different occasions. The detective in her stories is indeed a cat called Max. Her book – Max the Detective Cat – The Disappearing Diva is set in a theatre. She talked about wanting to reflect the reality of how things and people aren’t always how they seem. I reckon it sounded like it could certainly feed children’s curiosity. Theatres can of course be interesting places with all manner of nooks and crannies and all sorts of people and especially actors taking on the guise of someone different for a couple of hours or so.
Nicki also has a cat as her detective, called Nightshade, who speaks English. The book is based in a hotel and she mixes criminal activity with magic and in her book, but managing not to go too far into fantasy. The mix of crime and fantasy sounds fun. It sounded like there was some humour to be found in it too.
Sharna is a director at Site Gallery. She has also written her debut novel – The High Rise Mystery, set on an estate in skinny towers, based on brutalist design. It was interesting to hear that she actually talked to an architect about this and how she didn’t want to stereotype her characters.
There was an interesting discussion about the interactivity that can be gained within stories, somewhat a different angle, which really got my attention. I myself like this too. It doesn’t seem to matter what you’re reading to someone, there’s always ways to interact, whether it is through some repetition or discussion or other involvement. It was mentioned how reluctant readers have got into the authors books and how there is something very universal about crime books. It was useful to hear how crime books for children can actually empower them as they try to find the clues to solve the mystery, alongside the protagonist to see how far they can go in being a detective too as they read.
There was much discussion about crime for children’s books and this was really interesting, since any criminal activity is obviously quite dark, but the discussion resulted in that there can be motives and it can be written in a way children can understand.
It was great to hear authors talking about age indicators when it comes to crime, such as books now being Middle Grade, YA etc. The discussion brought many interesting elements such as parents wanting guidance, but authors do reckon that children are well equipped to deal with death. This went further into stating that it’s the way things are written and the fact there are resolutions at the end can bring comfort to children, even when characters have been through a lot. It was mentioned that these stories can bring some elements of learning for children. It was decided that sometimes some subjects are more suitable for YA than for younger children.
There was a nice mention of librarians in that the authors mentioned that librarians can work out which books are the best “fit” for individual children, which I must say is a skill.
The authors talked about what they have heard children say. They talked about how author events help children to discover books. They said children have said how involved they become in stories and want to inhabit the story’s world using their imaginations.
Tips when writing a children’s story
Sharna Jackson Sarah Todd Taylor Nicki Thornton
Sarah Todd Taylor Nicki Thornton
Anne Coates was holding one of her adult crime books
With thanks to the authors for allowing me to take their picture. It was nice to meet the authors and I would recommend checking them out.
Tune into the podcast Partner’s in Crime. Look out for it from Friday.
This was the fifth panel, but as it is aired shortly, I wanted to publish my review in time. I really enjoy listening to this podcast generally. It is entertaining and also makes some interesting points for readers and writers. It also has book recommendations and general chat about many subjects. It always sounded like there was a good atmosphere, so to see their very first live studio audience performance, was great fun!
The podcast is normally crime writers Adam Croft and Robert Daws. Very unfortunately Robert Daws could not make it, even though he planned to, but he had a very good reason… There was a good last-minute stand-in however who was a great replacement. You would never have known how last minute he came in by the performance given. The replacement was Adrian Hobart.
Let me first introduce briefly who the people from the podcast (including regular host Robert Daws) are before I write about the podcast itself.
Adrian Hobart is a BBC Assistant Editor is his day job and when night falls, he is a writer and narrator and makes up one half of indy publisher Hobeck Books.
Adam Croft, is one of the most successful independently published author as he is an international bestselling crime and thriller author with almost 2 million books sold in over 120 countries. Adam has been featured on BBC television, BBC Radio and other media.
In March 2018, Adam has an Honorary Doctor of Arts, by the University of Bedfordshire in recognition of his services to literature.
He also has a TV series in development.
Robert Daws is an actor and author. He has appeared in several tv series and films, such as The Royal, Roger Roger, Jeeves and Wooster, Outside Edge, New Tricks, Doc Martin, Death in Paradise, The Unfolding, Swimming with Men and many more…
He has also appeared in theatre in many plays such as How the Other Half Loves, Blackbird and many more and is going on tour again soon in the play – Ten Times Table.
Robert has written 3 books to date of the Broderick and Sullivan series and 1 stand-alone book.
Adrian Hobart and Adam Croft
The Partner’s in Crime Podcast:
The Partner’s in Crime theme tune fits and all seemed well set-up during the interval in-between panels. There seemed to be an air of hushed excitement and anticipation lingering in the room, perhaps from all the talk during the interval about it. There seemed to be plenty of people looking forward to it. There was a mix of people who had listened to it before and others whom, this was their first time.
Many things were covered within the podcast:
This panel worked extremely well. I loved the mix between audience participation (always get a little nervous at those parts, but I don’t care, I like to take part and also listen to others none-the-less) and the hosts talking. The balance was right and all felt relaxed and it was all good fun. Time flew by on this panel. I had been so excited about seeing this podcast unfold, since I listen to it ordinarily and currently is the only one I listen to fairly regularly. I was certainly not disappointed. It all lived up to expectations (well, alright, apart from Robert Daws absence, but it couldn’t be helped, but as I said, his stand-in did an impressive job).
It was with great pleasure that I met Adam Croft, who kindly introduced me to Adrian Hobart and we all had a nice, pleasant chat.
The latest books by the podcast creators and presenters are: Killing Rock by Robert Daws, The Wrong Man by Adam Croft. Killing Rock and other Robert Daws books are reviewed on my blog and one day, so will some of Adam Croft’s books I have read will too. I can highly recommend these authors and this podcast.
It was a terrific idea for a panel at this festival. It seemed so fresh and was a perfect “fit” for it.
Link: Partner’s in Crime
Morecambe and Vice