Saturday late afternoon saw me driving from Kingston Uni over to Reading, for the evening of the Reading Festival of Crime Writing – Day 2.
7.00pm saw an audience with Mark Billingham and Christopher Brookmyre. I’m a big fan of Mark’s Tom Thorne detective novels, so it was a real treat to hear him speak and meet him afterwards (please excuse the duff photo – my LG phone clearly wasn’t up to the job). Mark was a stand-up in a previous life, and you can tell – as well as a great author, he really is very funny and well worth seeing (not to mention reading) if you get the chance.
I haven’t read anything by Christopher before, but that’s something I need to rectify sometime soon – his on-stage reading was very funny. Plus the fact I want to know if it was just his Glasgow accent that pronounced ‘pish’ on stage, or is that how he’s written it!
Sunday morning saw an hour and a half with Patrick Lennon, who gave a very useful insight into his own ways of approaching a novel, including a very interesting storyboarding concept, usually only seen in movies. Must give that a go, myself. Patrick is author of 3 published Tom Fletcher novels, and is currently writing an international thriller.
Unfortunately I didn’t get to meet Patrick afterwards as his session finished as the “Inspector Calls” panel event started. This was hosted by Peter Lovesey (who has won the CWA Silver, Gold and Cartier Diamond Daggers as well as their Short Story Award) and included Elizabeth Corley, Alex Gray, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles (who has written over 70 books!) and Graham Hurley. Their discussion was around the ‘police procedural’, with a Q&A at the end. It’s amazing the length some writers go to to ensure authenticity in their novels, from attending post-mortems (thankfully you can’t do that nowadays!) to taking diplomas in forensic sciences.
My afternoon was rounded of with the “Thrill of the Chase” panel, hosted by Peter Guttridge, the Observer’s crime fiction critic. The panel discussing crime fiction thrillers comprised Meg Gardiner, SJ Bolton, Nick Brownlee, Bill Vidal and Dreda Say Mitchell. Again, this was a lively panel discussion, including a Q&A, and, as with the police procedural, has added some notable names to my ever-expanding “to read” list. And the strongest message was? Maim and kill adults and children, but make sure you leave those cute, cuddly pets alone if you don’t want to incur the wrath of your readers!