Til Death Do Us Part – 2 authors – both married. How will they ever survive? @icloudmandy @nicolaupsonbook @grahamsmith1972 #crimefiction @MorecambeVice #writingcommunity

Til Death Do Us Part

Being interviewed were Nicola, Mandy moderator is Graham Smith.

Graham runs a hotel and wedding venue and writes crime. He writes the DI Harry Evans series and the Jake Boulder novels.
Mandy Morton worked for BBC and writes crime. She writes the Feline Detective series.
Nicola Upson worked in the Arts and writes crime and likes the 1930’s period.
Discover their books below.
Nicola and Mandy are 2 authors who are  married and live together, which was what the premise of this panel was essentially about.  It explored what it is like to both be working as authors and living together in the matrimonial home.
marital authors
This panel certainly took a different turn where working styles were concerned as it took listeners right to the heart of where it all happened – the home where they both live in. There working styles certainly differed. Nicola works to music and Mandy doesn’t but also like different styles of music, but like same bands on stage. Mandy as it turned out was a musician. Nicola does likes the more brooding, dark music compared to Mandy.
Mandy doesn’t do drafts, and doesn’t plan. It turned out Nicola  enjoys the research and editing parts more and sounds glad when the book is actually written.
There was also much talk about PD James, which gave a little bit of insight into her personality. I personally enjoy her books a lot, so this was pleasurable to hear good things about her.
I think it is really nice that they have such regard for each other’s work and praise each other and support each other and give each other advice.
I thought they may have been more competitiveness than what they actually were. That’s sort of what I was expecting when the Graham started to explore this with Nicola and Mandy. It turns out that they are competitive about many things but not so much when it comes to each other’s writing and can be pleased for eachother’s successes as they reckon there’s enough competition out there without them competing against eachother too.
It was nice that they were asked about how they celebrate. They do this privately with a meal, a gift to do with the book, a bottle of fizz and later do a book launch.
There was also a fun game with each of them saying facts about how the other got into writing, to guage how much they knew of this period of time in their other-half’s life.
The authors books are below:
                     
Fear in the Lakes: A gripping crime thriller with a breathtaking twist by [Smith, Graham]

Femme Fatales @MorecambeVice @WhartonEileen @kerryannrichardson #SheilaQuigley #CrimeFiction #Bookish #Review

Femme Fatales

Excellently, it was another panel with Dr. Jacky Collins, which covered many different and unique topics as part of the Morecambe and Vice Festival.
Sheila Quigley adores Stephen King. She intriguingly writes the title and then story.
Kerryann Richardson did a degree in creative writing and has written 6 books to date. 
It was talked about readers getting relief from real world as they read as most books (9 out of 10) do bring a closure that can be cosy and comforting. That being said, it was also debated about how there can be a dilemma in which character to root for at times as not all characters were just all good or bad. It was thought-provoking.
The next part of the talk was about the author’s books. It took a different take on it as they each had to think of their favourite/most memorable characters from them to enlighten the audience with,
Kerry Ann said Cas as she is  much like author, but her absolute favourite is Ben (female) strong character and keeps overcoming a lot that’s thrown at her and the relationship with Jacob.
Sheila – Smiler, 15/16 year old  in trouble with drugs and she said readers won’t let anything happen to character.
Eileen likes Elsie, who gets everything wrong, says everything wrong.
Places
How important to write the north-east of the country? Was a profound question for the authors to ponder over.
Kerry sets where she worked. Easy when you already know area. She sets hers in Edinburgh and they go down to Darlington.
Sheila loves the NE but characters do travel. She imparted on the advice that you’ve got to really know the place that you are going to be writing about.
Eileen, set in NE but then travels to many other places, including abroad and her characters then go back to NE.
When there are moments of it not flowing are you tempted to say you’re done.
Kerry says life throws things at you and can’t always just write full time, so got other job. Enjoys writing for her.
They talked openly about how some hard times, they still write and still want to continue to write, basically it brought about the fact that even though they are known people and have their names on books within bookshops etc, they are still human and sometimes situations in life can happen. It was good that this wasn’t any pity-party or anything like that, they just briefly talked about how things can be at times.
Positively they talked about what was next for them. They sound busy and industrious:
A short story is being written by Kerry. She has also started a new series and a new book for current series.
Sheila is writing a new book.
Eileen is writing a book and a sitcom. She has written a YA book, not yet published.
So plenty for people to be looking out for by them all.
It was interesting to hear how most the panel like reading female authors over male, whereas Sheila cares more about it being a good book etc and doesn’t care about the gender of author.
To inspire you to also try other authors:
Eileen likes Pat Barker
Kerry likes Mary Higgens Clarke.
It was lovely how they closed the panel by talking about the support they give each other.
Blanket of Blood (Paperback)   

Winner Winner @MorecambeVice panel write-up. @alisonbelsham @highlandwriter @rachelsargeant3 #crime #CrimeFiction #writingcommunity #Bookish #Review #Libraries #Festival

Winner Winner

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.

Alison has some great anecdotes about getting a tattoo.
The Tattoo Thief            Her Last Breath: The new crime thriller from the international bestseller
Robert Scragg writes police procedural. His second book is out this year.
What Falls Between the Cracks was his debut novel, set around a 30 year old crime scene, where there were notions of what could be the perfect crime. The woman who owns the flat hasn’t been seen since the 1980’s and yet no one had looked for her.
What Falls Between the Cracks: The gripping debut that will have you reading late into the night (Porter & Styles Book 1)
      Nothing Else Remains: The compulsive read (Porter and Styles Book 2)
Margaret Kirk writes the DI Lucas series, set in Inverness. Shadow man is first in series. It introduces DI Lucas and his team and Anna Murray, sister of murdered woman. She says the subplot forms ongoing story arc.
In her second book, there is a 70 year old case tied up with modern case.
Shadow Man                          What Lies Buried (Lukas Mahler 2)
Rachel Sargeant has written 3 books. Perfect Neighbours is set in Germany. It came out of experience of being army camp in Germany. Inspired by a crime she read about in papers and closed community.
The second book is  The Good Teacher and The Room Mates being her latest.
The Perfect Neighbours                The Roommates: A gripping, addictive, psychological thriller full of shocking twists from the Kindle top ten bestseller by [Sargeant, Rachel]
Winner winner panel on stage
They spoke about what their winning moments were. They told their stories most humbly, which I liked. They seemed to be quite grounded. It was perhaps quite apt that this panel came after the one about festivals because both Alison and Robert pitched at festivals. Alison pitched at Bloody Scotland and Robert pitched at Harrogate and at Newcastle Noir. It was interesting to hear some of the ins and outs of pitching and how they had only a few minutes to pitch and they got professional critique and feedback.
Alison won the Bloody Scotland pitching competition and had an agent take her on.
Alison’s advice is to pitch at these competitions as it is a chance to make an impression.
Robert – says he also went to workshops run by other authors and gives opportunities to pick their brains.
Pitched in front of Mark Billingham. He has a day job as well as writing and reckons everyone wants others to do well.
Margaret – took a different route. Wrote short stories. Good feedback after entering comps. Sent Romantic Novelist Association for free feedback. She went to a workshop with Val McDermid and Louise Welsh. She entered a short story competition. She won and she got an agent and publishing deal.
Her advice is that there are many paths to publication. Seek the one that suits you.
Rachel – creative writing workshop, had to write a little for 5 mins, good feedback. Saw a short competition and in time, the story grew to around 80,000. Harper Collins took her on. It means she will keep going. She felt that first win legitimised her and she kept going.
It was interesting to hear that, even though they are published, they still go to writing groups, whether it is a local one or one online. I’ve noticed this about a few authors.
This was another great panel and it was better than what I thought it would be all in all. The insights were all interesting and hopefully it will make the reading public think a little bit more about what they are buying into when they read books. Hopefully people will have gained some knowledge about what goes into being an author.
Sunshine Moments
The theme this year at the festival was sunshine moments. This is the authors sunshine moments:
Rachel met 3 writers at a summer school. Put into a syndicate to share and critique each other and are her ray of sunshine.
Margaret says the  crime writing community is supportive.
Robert mentioned when he was at the Harrogate pitch, he saw someone who is aspiring an author and saw the same guy in Stirling plug his book.
Robert talked of doing library events and was asked if he could give feedback on someone else’s work too. He remembered that he had been there done that and was in a position to do that and humbled someone wanted to so that. Margaret will also do this. I love that they do this to benefit others.
Alison went back to pitch perfect at Bloody Scotland. She talked of  Susie, whom she taught, who then went on to win the competition.
Rachel talked of valuing book-bloggers and thanked them all. For me, this felt so lovely and nice as there are so many of us working for free, writing reviews, articles etc in our free time to try and get authors work known to people too. It was most humbling and lovely and so unexpected, to hear a thanks to all book-bloggers, verbalised at a festival like that, so I thank you for this.
I thank the authors for allowing me to photograph them.
Alison Belsham winner winner panel
Robert Scragg, Alison Belsham, Margaret Kirk, Rachel Sargeant

Noelle Holten in Conversation with Lin Anderson – Morecambe and Vice Festival Review @Lin_Anderson @Noelle Holten @MorecambeVice @BloodyScotland @Blazespage #CrimeFiction #Bookish

Noelle Holten in Conversation with Lin Anderson

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.

 

Lyn Anderson and Noelle Holton                                                     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 w
as 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.

                                                   

Lin Anderson Books

 

Let Them Lead The Way – Morecambe And Vice Panel @Anne_Coates1 @nicki_thornton @sharnajackson #kidslit #crime #mystery #education #libraries

Let Them Lead The Way
Featuring Children’s and YA Books.

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.

 

Children's Authors            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.

Age Groups

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

  • Read a lot and learn from other writers.
  • Don’t feel the need to dumb down.
  • Remember there really are hundreds of good story books for children, despite there being a thought by some that there may not be enough good books.
  • Got to make sure children can follow your book, so there are perhaps red herrings, but the plot needs to be clearer for children. There is a fine line between clues and understanding and comfort in resolutions in the end, even though characters can be put through a lot.What the Authors Liked to Read

    The books these authors have enjoyed are – Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie’s books and Choose Your Own Adventure. I myself have read these books and to choose your own adventure means you can go on many adventures and also have different endings each time.Latest Books and Books Being Discussed

    High Rise Mystery    Max the Detective Cat: The Catnap Caper  The Bad Luck Lighthouse (Seth Seppi Mystery 2)
    Sharna Jackson               Sarah Todd Taylor                      Nicki Thornton

    Max the Detective Cat: The Disappearing Diva    The Last Chance Hotel (Seth Seppi Mystery 1)
    Sarah Todd Taylor                 Nicki Thornton

    Anne Coates was holding one of her adult crime books

    Songs of Innocence (Hannah Weybridge series, book 3)Perdition’s Child

     

    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.

Partner’s In Crime Podcast and more… @adamcroft @HobeckBooks @adrian_hobart @RobertDaws @CrimeFicPodcast @MorecambeVice #Crime #Podcast

Partner’s in Crime Podcast

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 WoosterOutside EdgeNew 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.

Adam Corft and HobartAdrian 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:

  • Hear a little bit about Poirot, since the festival was held in the lovely art-deco Midland Hotel, where episodes were filmed.
  • Listen to them talk of crime and classic crime dramas. Later they also talk of Line of Duty and Bodyguard and they’ve quite a story to tell about a high-ranking police officer.
  • Discover out what Adrian is reading at the moment.
  • Find out about a news site and their discussion about women and crime and how crime readers are mainly women. Also listen in to see what it is that is causing much discussion in the crime writing community.
  • Listen to a parlour game involving the whole audience, words and a story of sorts… (yes it is quite nuts, but was so much fun).
  • Find out all the book recommendations of the moment. Also brief insight’s into what some members of the audience are reading or have read too and would recommend to others.

  • Find out what the preference is – writing or narrating for audiobooks and the challenges and the most interesting moments in a recording studio. It’s also amazing how many hours it takes to record an audiobook.

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

Killing Rock cover