Let’s Talk Mental Health – Penultimate Morecambe and Vice Panel @MorecambeVice @drcjmerritt @Dr. LizBrewster @BarbaraNadel #Crimefiction #Psychology #Mentalhealth

Let’s Talk Mental Health

The Penultimate Morecambe and Vice panel

 

Tel: 0300 123 3393

Text 86463

This was a panel consisting of Liz Brewster, Barbara Nadel and Dr Chris Merritt.

Liz Brewster wrote a paper on the healing power of books – bibliotherapy. Teaches sociology of medicine.

Barbara Nadel is a crime writer and worked in psychiatric institutions and in the community. She herself suffers from depression and has psychotic episodes, that is under control. Her books are the Inspector Ikmen series.
Chris Merritt clinical psychologist and also writes crime. His series is the Boateng and Jones books about corruption and organised crime in London.
Dr Merritt panelLiz Brewster. Barbara Nadel, Dr Chris Merritt
I must admit to being really interested in what this panel had to say because it has long been said that reading is beneficial to well-being. I was also interested in hearing what the panel had to say about mental health within writers too.
There was such a fabulously thought-provoking question to start off with –
Are writers more at risk of mental health problems?
It was interesting because writers of any kind are all human after all and crime writers in-particular are writing about pretty dark characters at times. Some methods to assist in keeping good mental health as well as some very honest thoughts on their own well-being was talked about.
Dr. Chris Merritt sounded very wise and kept his advice do-able for everyone. He talked about writers spending lots of time in isolation and inside their own head as well as the heads of maybe unpleasant people (characters).
His recommendations  to writers are:
*   To try to be around some people like a cafe and write. It produces some good feelings.
*   Going for a walk, so it is not always just you and your material.
Liz talked about how writers (understandably) put their heart and soul in but rejection happens and reckoned you’ve got to learn how to deal with that.
Barbara said events can be hard, depending on the day, how you feel. Her advice is that you have just got to go out there for the publicity.
Challenging situations.
Dr. Merritt said, when writing, there’s got to be a purpose and not to cross the line into voyeurism.  He admitted has creeped himself out a little. He also said for writers, it can be upsetting when researching real crime.
Liz says you should work out how to make sense of getting through to the end of the book.

Liz thinks you’ve got to find out  what your resilience is.

 

For Chris, it is about how you deal with, the presentation, the motivation of the book. Thinks nothing should be off limits.
It was discussed that for mentally ill characters, it is about how to present them and the types of mental health.
It was discussed that crime writers want to know why crimes are committed and the whole web of people who are affected by the psychology.
Liz reckoned that ongoing character development in crime series means that personalities can be developed further.
Why Crime Fiction is playing an important part in Mental Health
Liz talked about bibliotherapy and explained that it as a broad, diverse field. When people find books, it’s those that really speak to them that gives people time and space. It can be non-fiction, fiction, poetry. Research was done and said crime books are very important. It was discussed that crime books are intellectually stimulating and gives people something else to focus on. The other idea is there’s a sense of closure and there’s a safe distance. Sense of closure was said to of had real positive impact on mental health issues.
Chris PTSD overlap between trauma and PTSD in crime fiction. If depicted sympathetically and readers can empathise and sympathise and hopes that shows and feeds through in society.
He thinks there’s a responsibility to do your homework for a mental health disorder. He rates Val Mcdermid for writing this well.
Successful author, Simon Brett and others are trying to get more support for authors.
What they are enjoying reading just now
Liz is a fan of cosy crime and the mystery can be light and be solved. Can be very clever mysteries too. Likes locked room type of mysteries and can think about how to solve it yourself.
Chris likes any author that creates an immersive world, which can take him out of stresses and strains, such as Jo Nesbo and Michael Connelly.
Chris – said there is an arc in his books, but can be read as standalone.
March 2020 will see the start of a new series – Lockhart and Green.
I hope people who are needing some support will seek it out. Below (and above at the beginning of this post) are links and contact details to Mind. If you are feeling you need support, people are there to do this in a confidential manner and there will be nothing to be ashamed of. Humans are created with so many complexities and that is okay. The Morecambe and Vice team put in all their programmes for this weekend, the website to Mind and contact details too, for those of you who attended. I have done the same here. If you click on the link, no one will ever know, that includes me.

Tel: 0300 123 3393

Text 86463
These are a selection of books that were suggested in the Morecambe and Vice programme to “Read for Wellness”. Please note there will be many others and there are many other books in other genres too that get recommended in lists for Reading for Wellness. Visit your local library and your librarian or library assistant will be able to recommend “Reading for Wellness” books too.
Click below for the websites of both Dr. Chris Merritt and Barbara Nadel. Both have their books, but Dr. Chris Merritt also has some very interesting research and info on “tech psychology” too.
It was a pleasure to meet Dr. Chris Merritt, at the water-cooler as it happened. It was an interesting and pleasant chat. Thank you!
A Knife to the Heart (Ikmen Mystery 21) (Cetin Ikmen Mysteries) by [Nadel, Barbara]      Sinner        Bring Her Back: An utterly gripping crime thriller with edge-of-your-seat suspense
Incorruptible (Inspector Ikmen Mystery 20) (Inspector Ikmen Mysteries)         Toxic         Last Witness: A gripping crime thriller you won't be able to put down

Write up of Festival of Festivals @mcdevitt_bob @bloodyscotland @ayewrite @CollinsJacky @NewcastleNoir @NoirBarEdin @bradleybooks #NorthernStoryFestival @graskeggur @MorecambeVice #IcelandicNoir #writingcommunity #crimefiction #review

Festivals of Festivals

First thing on a Sunday morning (lots of dedication to be at the venue early, but it was all completely worth it and better than the average Sunday).
Festivals of Festivals was a great behind the scenes insight to a certain extent by those who actually put together these festivals. If it weren’t for them, they wouldn’t be happening. This was an amazing panel of people who have dedicated a huge amount of time in creating festivals. Not just any festivals, but those that are now well-known by many.

    The festivals being discussed and their organisers:

  • Bloody Scotland, Aye Write, Winter Words – Bob McDevitt
  • Newcastle Noir and Noir at the Bar – Dr. Jacky Collins
  • Northern Short Story Festival – SJ Bradley
  • Icelandic Noir – Quentin Bates
    Find out below which months each of these are held.

Bob McDevitt and Quentin Bates Bob McDevitt and Quentin Bates

Bob McDevitt runs 3 literary festivals – he talked about Bloody Scotland and how over 10,000 people attended during a weekend in Stirling. Winter Words in Pitlochery focusses on nature and travel, Aye Write in Glasgow in March – 250 authors attend. Had short films, sometimes and not all are your usual book panels. It spans across 3 weekends.

Aye Write is staged in Glasgow. It interestingly was started by library service. It mostly Scottish and some English authors. For Pitlochery, he spoke about it depending on what publishers can do. He highlighted the Spotlight section like Bloody Scotland and what it means for up and coming authors. He has had event experience of organising from his time working in Waterstones.
He made clear that ALL Scottish festivals pay their authors.

These are some amazingly staggering figures – 350 authors pitched and 80 authors make it. Independent publishers also invited to Bloody Scotland.

SJ Bradley runs the Northern Short Story Festival in June with readings and workshops. They also have Frightfest in the winter.

Leeds Litfest also got a mention and has predominantly northern writers.
SJ Bradley primarily wanted to shine a light on authors. As an author learnt a lot too about publishing world and had some opportunities for networking.
The festival has a focus on celebrating short stories.  they also aim to make it: Affordable, Inclusive and Accessible. She talked about where funding came from and about audience sizes in that smaller audiences for short stories.  She too pointedly remarked that they also pay their authors.

Quentin Bates is the man behind Iceland Noir and organises it every second year in Reykjavik. It consists of some British and Nordic writers and was decided from the outset that everything would be in English. It was interesting that festival happens in Iceland and yet the locals don’t really do this type of thing. It was thought that it is perhaps to do with Icelandic culture and also the fact they don’t commit to anything.
The festival started in 2013. Why? Well, apparently that’s what happens when 3 folk share a curry and beer, leading to someone mentioning it strange there was no crime festival in Iceland. 4 weeks later they talked more and 6 months later and it began. The next one is in 2020.

Jacky organises Newcastle Noir. She has a great anecdote about her boss telling her to change her research and how she ended up with Newcastle Noir. It is on the premise of ticket price is always accessible. Never become a big festival. No point in replicating others. National and International authors. 2014 started.

Jackie also gets involved with Noir at the Bar in Edinburgh. Authors established and new go to this. It is there to create a community for writers and have a social occasion.

The conversation changed to community spirit and how festivals create a sense of community at festivals for authors and returning audiences as well as for the organisers.

She talked about how some festivals sadly not paying their authors. She went on to mention that some authors do charitable and library events for free to support.

Jacky talked about how to invite authors, some say just ask and others like to go through their publisher/publicist.

There was an interesting question – Should authors go to festivals? Consensus was yes. There was talk of how authors can practice at the likes of Noir at the Bar and try to get onto festivals. It was considered important to get out there and if you’re good at talking to an audience, people want to buy your books. This is true I have to say. I’ve attended festivals and bought books sometimes just from hearing the person talk and the same with some library events, I’ve bought books I may not have otherwise.
There was talk of doing  your own promotion as publishers won’t always do this for you.

There was some great advice for authors. People can’t abide rudeness, even if you’re a good author and written a lot. Don’t take stuff out on volunteers, even if you’re annoyed at something. They’re doing their best.

Be polite in your engagement in the festival. Don’t send snarky emails or slag off other festivals.

Be prepared for your talk. Be punctual. If you’re late because of trains being delayed, then that’s seen as being acceptable as it is out of your control.

Remember sometimes speakers/authors can’t turn up at times. Always be gracious as stuff happens and there is normally a good reason behind the appearance being changed or cancelled.

  • Bloody Scotland – September
  • Aye Write – March
  • Winter Words – February
  • Newcastle Noir – May
  • Noir at the Bar – September
  • Northern Short Story Festival – October
  • Icelandic Noir – November
  • Morecambe and Vice – September

If you ever see them talk about their festivals, then do go. It’s a very insightful talk, which was done very well. It was so enlightening.

With thanks to Bob McDevitt and Quentin Bates for permission to take their photo. Thanks to Bob McDevitt for the nice chat about Bloody Scotland, of which I attended this year and hope to in 2020 too.

       thumb

 

 

 

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

 

Screenwriters Who Write Novels Too!

All these people have been working with some of the big names in showbiz and have written for some of the most well-known tv dramas and talked about what they have written for, their favourite moments and how they began. Each have now also added the title of author onto their talents.

Charles Harris et-al
*Stephen Gallagher, Simon Booker and Charles Harris, all having fun.

Simon Booker

Simon started his career writing a collection of dramas for Radio 4. He has written for Prime Time for the BBC, ITV and the US. He wrote the screenplays for Just William, The Inspector Linley Mysteries, Holby City and the Mrs Bradley Mysteries. In the US he wrote a couple of romantic comedies starring Anna Friel and Rob Lowe. He has also worked in the field of Journalism.
Simon reckoned his favourite moment was when working on the Mrs Bradley Mysteries, he had lunch with Dame Diana Rigg and Neil Dudgeon. It was a very happy time and then a seagull went and, to put it as politely as possible, did its stuff over the table. This, as Simon was recalling this minute, seemed to make him (and his audience laugh).

He touched a bit on his latest book – Animal Instinct. His protagonist is a traumatised ex-cop, who prefers animals to people. It is available in physical book form and on Audible, where Brendan Coyle from Downton Abbey and Lia William from The Crown narrate.

Simon booker book

Charles Harris

Charles Harris has been writing, for what he says, is forever. He had also been making home movies from a young age. In fact he was still at school when he began this. It opened doors for him to be able to do amateur work, which in turn gave him opportunities to work professionally within the industry. He said of success, that “it came in increments.” He directed the soap Brookside and directed, wrote and produced Paradise Grove, amongst others. He won a number of accolades for Paradise Grove.
Charles also likes Fringe theatre (of course the largest example of this in the world is in Edinburgh, Scotland). He likes it because it gives a platform to try things out.

Having been to Edinburgh many times myself, it is true to say many actors, writers, directors, producers, comedians (both established and those starting out) have tried new material out there before taking it anywhere else.

Charles Harris worked with Rula Lenska and Ron Moody on Paradise Grove and reckoned his favourite moment was bringing them their lines.

Charles Harris said he may create a screenplay. He has written books teaching about screenwriting, short stories for anthologies and a novel, which can be found on Amazon. It is already broken into the Amazon “Genre Bestselling List” and has been nominated for “The Wishing Shelf” book awards.

A little about the novel “The Breaking of Liam Glass – experienced journalist, Jason Crowthorne. He is desperate – his career’s in tatters, his love life on the rocks and his finances a disaster. In one frantic last bid to turn it all around, he cheats his way onto a secure hospital ward and stumbles on the scoop of his career – one that could get him onto front pages across the country.

Charles Harris book

M.J. Arlidge

M.J. Arlidge worked on the soap Eastenders and dramas such as Monarch of the Glen and Silent Witness.
He has written many books and is possibly most notably known for the very successful Eeny Meeny. His latest book, published this year (2018) is titled Down to the Woods.
Mr Arlidge said he already knew someone in publishing, which helped when looking for literary agents.

His Detective Inspector of his serial killer series is D.I. Helen Grace He sets his books in and around the English coastal city of Southampton. D.I. Helen Grace is a tough, determined police officer who rides a motorbike and prefers to travel through life alone, she nevertheless has her personal demons to contend with. She lives alone but takes occasional lovers and is also deeply committed to her work of tackling crime within the pages of these  darkly written books.

He later went on to say that he writes in short chapters, as that is how he structures screenplays.
His favourite moment came when he had to choose between actors Hardy and Fasbender.

MJ Arlidge

Paul Finch

Paul Finch is a former police officer. He later went on to write a screenplay and then landed a job writing for ITV drama The Bill. He later told me that he introduced Mickey Webb.

Paul learnt the ropes from the Script Department on the Bill and he has been writing ever since. He said in his work there, he wrote the dialogue first and interestingly he writes his books in a similar way.

His favourite moment was reviving a script for audio.

Paul Finch has written many novels in many genres from horror to fantasy to crime.

His most recent crime novels feature Detective Sergeant Mark Heckenburg, known more commonly as Heck, is Paul Finch’s main protagonist. He  encounters all kinds of creepy killers, including those who seem to like to keep the chase going. The ones that are slow hunters who patiently plan with their complex tasks at hand. Heck is a Sergeant who has done a fair bit of living and had his fair amount of trauma. His work has taken him from the Lake District to the Serial Crimes Unit at Scotland Yard in London. His boss is Detective Superintendent Gemma Piper (also his ex girlfriend) and then there is Detective Constable (D.C.). Gail Honeyford.

Paul Finch book

 

Stephen Gallagher

Stephen Gallagher was the moderator for this panel. He has written for Radio 4 and for tv, he wrote for Doctor Who and several others, including Rosemary and Thyme, which he sounded like he enjoyed. He has written several novels and is currently writing another Sebastian Becker novel.

Stephen Gallagher book

 

To Conclude

All the books sound like they are full of twists and turns, a human touch and have enough action to keep any reader turning those pages. They can all be found on Amazon, bookshops and there are libraries out there that will stock these authors too.

These authors have clearly got lots of experiences to talk about, which makes for an interesting panel, so they are worth spending the time to see.

*With thanks to Stephen Gallagher, Simon Booker and Charles Harris for allowing me to take a photograph of them and for giving me verbal permission to use it for my blog.

This concludes my Morecambe and Vice posts for 2018. So, I thank them for making blogging about the event a very pleasant experience.

Peter Robinson on DCI Banks and Writing @Inspector_Banks @Hodder Books @EllyGriffiths @MorecambeVice #Morecambe #Lancaster #Author @LoveBooksGroup #Bookblogger From An “In Conversation with” panel

Closing the first day of the weekend at the Morecambe and Vice festival was Peter Robinson, author of DCI Banks as part of summer/autumn tour in England. He was on a panel “In Conversation” with Elly Griffiths.

Peter Robinson
Peter Robinson

 

A Little About the Author

Peter Robinson was there to promote his 25th DCI Banks book called Careless Love, which is available to purchase now. He began writing, or at least getting the series published in 1987 and writes a novel approximately once a year. He also writes stand alone novels. He likes food and wine and Scandi-Crime as well as a few US authors. He grew up in Leeds and now divides his time between the UK and Canada. He has won notable awards including CWA Dagger in the Library Award.

The Book

Careless Love UK

 

Banks and his team find themselves with two suspicious deaths. One involves the apparent suicide of a young local student, whose body is found in an abandoned car on a lonely country road. She didn’t own a car. Didn’t even drive. He also talked about the inconsistencies multiplying in this case and that Annie’s father’s new partner, Zelda, comes up with a shocking piece of information that alerts Banks and Annie to the return of an old enemy in a new guise. There is also another case which concerns a man in his sixties found dead in a gully up on the wild moorland.

Peter Robinson says that Zelda is the protagonist here and he talked of how she is a character who has been through a lot but has put herself back together again. In other words, he feels Zelda carries on and can do for a bit more time. He spoke of Banks and how he felt he too could go on a bit longer yet! He says at the end of this book, that there’s enough to say there’s more to come…
Of DCI Banks he says that he has a personal life but he is married to job. He also says of Banks, which I personally really liked and there’s something profound about it:
Banks is ordinary, but, as the series goes on, finds he is more extraordinary, which means we all are.

Setting

This book is set around North Yorkshire. Eastvale is modelled on Richmond and Ripon with cobbled market squares, which he does expand. They are familiar places if you know that part of the country, even though he has added the likes of buildings such as a college in Eastvale, which continues to expand. The thing that both amused and bemused me was that he when he was talking about the setting he mentioned that people ask him if Yorkshire really exists. I can tell you, reader, that it definitely exists in a very large part of the north of England, where there is much to see and do and many a famous author has lived and still do live in, including Peter Robinson himself who grew up Leeds, which is is one of the main known cities in the county. Other writers have too, around the county, such as Joanne Harris, Kate Atkinson, Susan Hill, the Bronte sister, to name but a few. Playwrights such as Alan Bennett and Alan Aykbourn and many a poet such as WH Auden and Ted Hughes also resided in Yorkshire. There are many writers who have written dramas for tv here too, such as Kay Mellor and Sally Wainwright.  So, as you see, it definitely exists and is a wonderfully talented county of England with its cities, which have a rich history, culture and more rural places with their rolling hills and dales. I could go on about what to do, but this is about a panel at a book festival. I will say, it’s a great area of England to explore if you haven’t already!

Music

Music within his books was touched upon and how Banks has a wide range of music tastes that can be developed, he said.
I have myself noticed there are a few series of book which use music within books and there was an entirely different panel devoted to that subject.
Peter Robinson believes that there is a playlist linking to Banks’ musical tastes on Spotify.

 “Only in a novel can you be with someone who is alone and follow them through life.”

He talked about this in the context of having characters being alone, doing things like listening to music and the reader knows. When you think about it, it is so true, only in writing can you see someone’s inner thoughts that the author wants to be revealed to a reader. Obviously too, as a reader you are looking into someone else’s world. In reality of course, alone, is exactly that, so I think this was the most profound statement made within this talk and put in a way that not all readers really think of. It can almost be something that the reader can take for granted, but when someone points this out, as Peter Robinson did, it turns it into something a bit more thought provoking…

Writing Style

Peter Robinson also spoke of his writing style, which was very interesting. It turns out that normally he does no planning, so there is no fully plotted outline, but he said writing 3 books like this means he is doing a bit more pre-planning than usual. He also said it is rare that he begins with violence, normally he begins with the time after all that would have happened, citing that the victim and place is most important. He also uses forensics to move the story forwards in his police procedural tales. He said he also likes the measured, longer sentences style of writing and talked of P.D. James also writing in this style. When setting the scene he talked about how most authors write about where they know and how he once decided to set a scene in a book in Peterborough, he didn’t really know the area, so that prompted him to do a bit of research.
To get ideas he said he looks at the world around him to keep things contemporary.

TV Success

With all his success in his writing career, he couldn’t perhaps not talk about the TV adaptation of his DCI Banks books. I was quite pleased it was brought up because I find it fascinating to find out what the author thinks about their creation being shown in visual form, once they’ve handed over the rights. He said that it was exciting at first when he heard from the TV company wanting to make his books into a drama. He had no involvement in the casting. For any who don’t know, Stephen Tompkinson was cast as DCI Banks. He acknowledged that he wasn’t how people saw his lead character in the books, but thought as the series went on, he could see Stephen being Banks, more and more as he felt that the actor brought out the character of Banks. He had however said he was a more emotional character on TV than in the books. He didn’t seem to think this was a really terrible thing though. It was just a fact and one that I got the impression he didn’t mind so terribly. What was interesting however was that he wasn’t too keen on the 3rd series due to too many changes and what was omitted from the books as they transferred the 3rd series onto screen. All in all though, certainly for earlier series I thought the author sounded good that the chance of having the opportunity for his work to be televised had happened.

Is Peter Robinson worth seeing at a literary event? I would say yes. He has interesting aspects to say to his audience and comes across well.

*Peter Robinson gave verbal permission to me for his photo to be used in my blog and for that I thank him very much.

_____________________________________________________

Elly Griffiths who I mentioned was the moderator is worth seeing. She asked great questions and allowed time for her interviewee to talk and it all seemed effortless and at ease.
Elly Griffiths is known for winning the CWA Dagger In the Library Award in 2016 with her book The Chalk Pit. She has 2 series that I know of. The Ruth Galloway novels and The Stephens and Mephisto novels.
Elly book

Appearances can be Deceptive in Literary Morecambe. @MorecambeVice #Lancashire @GardensMcbe

No one goes to Morecambe is what I was confronted with by a good friend of mine, slightly amused when I excitedly announced to her I was going there. It turned out she wasn’t the last person to point this out, nor were the puzzled looks.

So, why Morecambe? Read on in this post and subsequent posts to come as to why (there is literally too much to say in a single blog post to do everything justice.

Morecambe, a place of sea, sand and the most interesting  tales to tell and of course the chance to see the statue of Eric Morecambe, who did actually used to have a hotel there, which he visited and met various people in. Morecambe is now the new up and coming crime literary place to go. The Morecambe and Vice Festival is one of England’s newest festivals with this year (2018) only being its second. Already they have the setting just right. The Winter Gardens Theatre is beautiful, set just across from the promenade.

Morecambe

Winter Gardens ExteriorEric Morecambe

I arrived Saturday afternoon, where I picked up my weekend pass that I had purchased a few months earlier and was ticked off on the register. This in itself was exciting. I had arrived and feeling suddenly more welcome than ever as I donned my badge, it all seemed very official. The organisers are all very friendly. I went alone, but already I felt very welcome and very soon had the most wonderful conversations with the staff and other festival-goers and later on with actors and directors who are now also authors.

The weekend was split into sections, after each panel had spoken, there was a very adequate interval for book signing opportunities and time to get a coffee or snack. 1 hour for lunch was also well factored in. The atmosphere is fabulous with a pianist playing at each interval and music hall music streaming through during lunch and the chatter of people.

Over the entire weekend, there were 14 different panels of speakers – 7 each day. I travelled on the Saturday, therefore unfortunately missing most of the first day, but I did catch on the Saturday afternoon:

  • “Worth a Thousand Words”, which was about graphic novels. It’s not all as it first appears.
  • “In Conversation with Peter Robinson, who writes D.C. Banks moderated by Elly Griffiths.

On Sunday, after taking a morning walk to explore, after unexpectedly meeting with friends (just shows, anything can happen in Morecambe). I rejoined the already started second day of the festival. I saw:

  • Music to Die for about how music and writing together works and inspired authors.
  • Agatha Christie on Stage about how Agatha Christie was a playwright, not just and author.
  • From Page to Screen about some well known authors and screenwriters have dual lives.
  • If I Were Not Upon the Stage about how life treading on the boards influenced their work.
  • In Conversation with Daragh Carville

There were also panels from Northern writers and how the North is influencing their work, authors who wrote other genres but now changed to crime, how crime is crime from a panel discussing LGBT crime fiction, a panel discussing tricks of the trade and a writing masterclass to plot the perfect crime (on the page I may add. No getting any ideas 🙂

There is something really exciting happening in Morecambe. There will be a new tv drama series called The Bay set there about a crime that’s been committed. It is family driven since the writer says he likes to write about families, so he has been busy writing and filming The Bay about a family liaison officer. Lots of it is actually being filmed on the streets of Morecambe as well as the scenery, which is beautiful.  The writer, Daragh Carville, had said that he looked on a map that is used to show what was filmed where and what he found was that Morecambe and surrounding area was still blank, so, although he is Irish, he now lives in nearby Lancaster and is very passionate that this area does now get showcased within the medium of drama on tv.

I stayed at the beautiful, well run B&B “Yacht Bay View”. Set on the coast, it is not far from restaurants, cafes, The Winter Gardens, the Eric Morecambe statue and the train station. I chose a sea-view room. Prices were very reasonable. The hospitality is warm, friendly and welcoming. The room I was in was comfortable with a very good stocked hostess tray of a range refreshments, including water and biscuits. It has a very good shower and comfortable bed. Breakfast has an excellent selection and is very well done and they really seem to like to feed you. You really won’t go hungry during the day. I would certainly recommend it and would happily stay there again.

Morecambe at nightBoats in MorecambeTheatre stage in Winter Gardens   Pianist in Morecambe

So, the stage is ready, the scene is set. Please look out for more blogs in the evenings this week for more of an insight into some of the events mentioned earlier.