Harrogate Highlights


Just returned home today after a lovely long weekend in Harrogate at the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. Despite it being hotter than the sun (especially inside the Old Swan Hotel where the events took place) it was a fantastic weekend. I could go on at length but instead I’ll save us all some time by listing the highlights.

  • Meeting lots of lovely new people, mainly thanks to the lovely Mari Hannah and Agent Stan. There are far too many to mention but they know who they are.
  • Being woken at midnight by a text from Mari Hannah telling me an American editor was looking for me after reading Stolen.
  • The panel about Social Media that almost ended in fisticuffs.
  • Crashing the Random House party and meeting the very lovely writer Kevin Sampson.
  • Discovering new writers including Colette McBeth, Cathi Unsworth and RS Pateman.
  • The very weird and fascinating conversation between Val McDermid and Professor Sue Black (the things you can learn about pubic scalps…)
  • Waiting in a very (very) long queue to see Sarah Millican interview Lee Child (not sure which the queue was for) but discovering it was absolutely worth it.
  • Getting a chance to listen to one of my favourite writers, Kate Atkinson, who was as clever, funny, and interesting as her books. And who also announced she will write a book called “Stalker in a Wheelchair” in the future, based on her own experiences of said stalker.
  • All the free books I was lucky enough to get (despite knowing they will keep me from getting on with my own writing).
  • And, of course, the fabulous dog in the bathroom. Every home should have one.

Ooh I feel like a proper writer now!

_1020126With Alfie Crow, Kate Fox and Helen Cadbury at the Bloomin’ Words Crime Cabaret (photo: Stephen Morris)

Been a bit lazy with the blogging recently but I was doing other work. Honest! Like taking part in the Bloomin’ Words Crime Cabaret at the White Rose Bookshop in Thirsk last week. It was a fantastic evening with readings and murder ballads and competitions and everything – a brilliant night organised by the brilliant Kate Fox. There’ll be more Bloomin’ Words events soon so I’d recommend going if you’re anywhere near Thirsk.

I also had the pleasure of going to London and meeting lots of lovely agents and editors in the hope of getting them interested in me and my work. The event was organised by New Writing North and it went really well. And while I’m not saying that seeing your book for the first time in an actual bookshop or being asked to sign said book doesn’t make you feel like a real writer, there’s something about getting an agent that’s like the holy grail. You spend years trying to get one of these strange (but lovely) creatures to read your work and then all of a sudden several come along at once. A bit like buses.

So I’ve spent the week in the very unusual position (for me) of having a choice of agents and it was a very hard choice to make. But I’ve finally made it and I’m very happy to say that I’ve just signed up with Stan at Jenny Brown Associates.

People wiser than me say that choosing an agent is a very important decision and it’s a bit like a marriage so you really need to get along well. And after six hours in a pub being plied with cider I can say that we definitely did get along.  And I will also add that the meeting was not at all creepy like I’ve just made it sound!