Great Book Festivals in 2019 – Final 2019 Blog Post #BookFestival #BloodyScotland #MorecambeVice #bookish #wrapup2019

Great Book Festivals in 2019
Final Blog Post of 2019

 

Bloody Scotland Torchlight Procession

I went to Bloody Scotland. This festival takes place annually in September, in Stirling across a few venues, most notably – The Golden Highland Hotel and The Royal Albert Halls. It attracts top authors and those debuting or looking for a festival to pitch their book ideas. It is lots of fun and an amazing and friendly experience in such a compact city.
I went to see Richard Osman from Pointless and House of Cards tv fame (look out for his crime fiction book The Thursday Murder Club in autumn 2020) and Mark Billingham. His latest book is – Their Little Secret. Full review is on my blog. I am looking forward to his book and hoping he returns to Bloody Scotland in 2020. I thank again, Richard Osman for the quick and nice chat and Mark Billingham for signing my book and for a nice chat.

I also saw Ian Rankin, who is also very good and very interesting, talking about his latest Rebus Book – In a House of Lies. I thank Ian Rankin again for the quick chat.
There is also a torchlight parade, which I took part in.
In 2018, I saw the author M.C. Beaton – author of Hamish Macbeth, Agatha Raisin and many others and actor Ashley Jensen – tv credits include Agatha Raisin, Love, Lies and Records, Ugly Betty and much more.
It attracts many, many more authors and their website and brochure is always worth checking out. This is a popular festival, so it is worth seeing who is on relatively early as tickets do sell out.
I had such a great time, so had to go back in 2019.
I look forward to returning to Bloody Scotland in 2020 and seeing who the authors will be.

My review of Richard Osman with Mark Billingham can be found on my blog.

I was invited back to Morecambe and Vice Crime Book Festival to review the entire weekend of amazing panels and had a thoroughly enjoyable time. This festival attracts an array of authors and speakers to Morecambe and is quirky, fun, interesting and informative. It even attracted a podcast. The authors varied from children’s authors to YA to adult fiction and non-fiction. There were talks about festivals and what it takes to set them up and the different types. There were topical talks about mental health too. I saw so many authors that it would be quite some list to mention them all, but there are blog posts about each of them in each panel within my blog.
I went first of all in 2018 after a conversation with actor and writer Hugh Fraser. It’s a long story… So, moving on, I was excited when I was invited by the organisers Ben and Tom to return. I look forward to seeing who the panels will be in 2020.
This is a newer and growing festival which is becoming established and making a name for itself, so is worth checking out.
Full reviews of each panel can be found on my blog.

So these are great festivals that will still be around in 2020 that are worthwhile checking out.

I have, before my blog began been to other book festivals, such as Edinburgh and Harrogate, which are also great, but the two I have written about here are the most recent and the festivals I have been to and they are the 2 I have attended whilst writing my blog.

I wish you all a Happy New Year and all the best for 2020. Thank you to all for following my blog. There are more exciting reviews from books to stage and more, to come in 2020, which I hope you will also enjoy and be inspired by. Thanks too for all the organisers and authors, speakers for making these experiences possible.

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.

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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

 

Killing Rock by Robert Daws Blog Tour Rated 5 Stars @RobertDaws @BOTBSPublicity #SarahHardy #blogtour @MorecambeVice #Crime #Fiction #Review #Gibraltar #MidlandHotel #Lancaster #Morecambe

Killing Rock
By Robert Daws
Rating: 5 Stars *****

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I am absolutely honoured to be reviewing for the Morecambe and Vice blog tour. Thanks to Sarah Hardy who had noticed I had attended the Morecambe and Vice Festival last year and for inviting me to join the Morecambe and Vice blog tour. I am also looking forward to attending the festival this year too. I am very pleased to be able to review for Robert Daws and his book Killing Rock.

M&V Blog Tour Poster

 

About the Author

 

Robert Daws PicRobert trained at RADA.

His many television credits include: Dr Gordon Ormerod in eight series of The Royal, Sam Mountjoy in three series of John Sullivan’s Roger Roger and Tuppy Glossop in four series of Jeeves and Wooster. Also, Roger Dervish in the award- winning Outside Edge. (Nominated Best Actor-British Comedy Awards) Most recently he played Ernie Raynor in the Only Fools and Horses prequel trilogy, Rock and Chips and made guest appearances in New Tricks and Doc Martin. He has also played Jack Whitehall’s father Michael in Little Cracker – Daddy’s Little Princess for Sky and Will Tudor-Bass in Holby. He also plays the town curmudgeon, Dr. Thomas Choake in the BBC’s hugely successful Poldark – currently filming series four – and has recently completed filming Father Brown, Death In Paradise, a return to Midsomer Murders and the films An Unkind Word and Swimming With Men. He also plays ‘Shank’ Shankovitz in Sky’s new comedy series, Sick Note.

Other leading roles include hospital manager Simon Eastman in Casualty, Major Hound in Channel Four’s Sword of Honour, Dick Thompson in the BBC’s Take A Girl Like You, Simon Snell in You Can Choose Your Friends, Oscar Beatty in The Mystery of Men plus countless guest performances in programmes such as Midsomer MurdersThe Missing PostmanThe BillGame Set and MatchLovejoyBirds of a FeatherPie in the SkyThe Paul Merton ShowLovejoyEmbassyThe Dirty Dozen et al and so on. One of his personal favourites was to be a guest on the last ever episode of A Bit of Fry and Laurie, for which he played the Last Post on a trumpet. His own one.

Films include Prof. Philip Chessman in the supernatural thriller The Unfolding – recently selected for a Leicester Square premiere as part of FrightFest. The new British comedy, Swimming With Men, directed by Oliver Parker. Arthur’s DykeLand of the BlindAccording to ColinThe Great Escape Two and Richard Ordinary.

Recent theatre work includes Michael Frayn’s  Alarms and Excursions and Sir Alan Ayckbourn’s hit comedy, How The Other Half Loves, playing Frank Foster. Dr John Watson in The Secret of Sherlock Holmes at the Duchess Theatre, and Geoffrey Hammond in Public Property at the Trafalgar Studios and Jim Hacker in Yes Prime Minister at the same theatre. Also Charles Pooter in Diary Of A Nobody at the Theatre Royal, Northampton and the National Tour of Blackbird by David Harrower, for which Robert was nominated for Best Actor in the Manchester Evening News Drama Awards. He also played the frantic taxi driving bigamist, John Smith, in Ray Cooney’s hit comedy farce Caught in the Net, at the Vaudeville Theatre. Robert regularly performs Summoned by Betjeman by Christopher Matthew, in which he portrays the late Poet Laureate and ‘Teddy bear to the nation’, John Betjeman. He is currently playing P.G. Wodehouse in William Humble’s Wodehouse In Wonderland as a performed reading for literary festivals. It will also be produced as a full theatre production in 2019.

A regular contributor on radio as actor and broadcaster, Robert has read biographies of both P.G Wodehouse and John Betjeman for Radio 4 and co-created the long running radio series, with writer Brian B Thompson, Trueman and Riley, in which he plays D.I Trueman. He also played Prof. David Poll in the comedy series Higher by Joyce Bryant and Arthur Lowe in Roy Smiles, Dear Arthur, Love John. Also, Goodnight From Him, in which he plays Ronnnie Barker in the story of the Two Ronnies and Arthur Box-Bender in Sword of Honour by Evelyn Waugh, adapted into six parts by Jeremy Front. Most recently he has recorded Incredible Women by Rebecca Front and Jeremy Front and The Erpingham Camp by Joe Orton, the BBC’s anniversary tribute to the playwrite. He has also happily recorded audios for Dr Who and Torchwood for Big Finish.

His first crime novella, The Rock, was published in 2012 and made the top of the Amazon Bestseller list five times.

His second Sullivan and Broderick murder mystery, The Poisoned Rock, was published in Sept 2016. His third in the series, Killing Rock, will be available in 2019. His ghost story, Tunnel Vision – also set in Gibraltar, recently became an Amazon No 1 bestseller.

Robert has three children, Ben, Betsy and May and is married to the actress Amy Robbins.

Killing Rock cover

Blurb

Hollywood, 1968

A chance encounter on the Sunset Strip leads to a teenage obsession.

Costa de la Luz, 2006

A lone woman walks ten kilometers to the sea. Her life is in danger and she must escape.

The Rock of Gibraltar, The present.

D.S. Ttamara Sullivan is about to start a month’s break from police work and begin a holiday in Spain. When she returns to the Rock, she will take up a full time position with the Royal Gibraltar Police. She’s been involved in two major murder investigations in as many months. But murder brings her back to Gibraltar sooner thhan she things, and her main suspect is someone close to her. Someone far too close for comfort.

Killing Rock…

Is Sillivan and Broderick’s most frightening case to date. Testing their trust in the truth and throwing their proessional and personal relationships into a spiral of peril.


Review

Robert Daws has successfully written another great novel that balances crime, setting and characterisation very well. I have a feeling that if I ever get a chance to visit Gibraltar I will be able to instantly recognise the places he describes, to the finer directional detail. The fact that this book still has an excellent pace for its genre is within the skill of the writing. The book acts, like the previous 2 as both stand-alone and as part of the series. It is complete within itself and there is enough detail within this one for anyone who has not read the previous two books – The Rock and Poisonous Rock ( which I also reviewed earlier in the year and will re-publish), to grasp an understanding of the characters and the relationship between them all and why Tamara Sullivan is in Gibraltar.

The book begins in 1969, California with Donna and Von in a club. I have read the previous books by Robert Daws and he is very good at setting the background and scene. With the background set, the book quickly moves to Spain, 2006 before chapter 1 takes readers to Gibraltar in the present day, where readers of his previous books will be reunited by Broderick and Sullivan, or introduced to them if you have not yet met them.

It doesn’t take long for there to be a murder case to solve and before long it is discovered there, somewhere in the Costas in Spain, is perhaps a serial killer. This isn’t just about solving a case however, the characters have emotions and lives to lead too within this story too, outwith their work. Robert Daws is very good at is creating atmosphere, and giving his characters feelings, and in reminding readers they are not just police officers. The characters are believable and it is fascinating to see further insight into how they have developed in their working relationships.

The story takes some dark turns and characters, especially Max, are taken to the darkest of places. There are ghosts of the past in this story and the case plunges readers into a very intriguing investigation. The story has depth to it and the historical time-lining all has purpose to the present day events. This is not to say the book jumps about a lot. About half-way through or so, readers are taken back to 1969, but this works very well in giving even greater insight of what was happening in this period.

When there is an investigation going on with a main character, it is even more compelling to read further to see what happens next as these are characters that are easy to care about.

The book has an excellent conclusion. I do enjoy Robert Daws writing and his passion for Gibraltar, which really shows. I highly recommend this book and indeed the entire series so far.

I thank Sarah Hardy for inviting me and I thank Robert Daws for sending a signed book and postcard.

Please note that this is an unbiased review                                                                                                       

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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.