Day 3 of the fabulous Crime Fest 2017! Another book filled day or listening to talented and articulate writers chat about their books - life doesn't get much better!
Here's a run down of the panels I attended today!
DEBUT AUTHORS: FRESH BLOOD
This was a great panel to go to as the authors are all talking about their debuts so there was a bit more about the novel itself, what inspired them and their writing journey.
I love "My Sister's Bones" - I gave it 5 stars and meet Nuala Ellwood at an event in February so I was pleased to see her again on this panel. Her novel is about a war reporter, PTSD and explores the unsettling situation of when you don't know whether what you are seeing is real or not.
Walter Lucius is a filmaker, theatre director and TV script writer in Amsterdam and his debut is the first in a trilogy. His novel is about corruption and conspiracy.
Lucy Cameron's debut novel is a thriller novel with a mix of the supernatural. The murderer is known as the "couple's killer" as he butchers the men and drains the blood of the women. It also has a main character who is no longer sure what is real and what to believe.
Bill Beverly's Dodgers is going to be massive - it has won multiple awards already and is sure to be a bestseller. Beverly has an academic background and this is his first fiction title. It's set in America and focuses on a group of teenagers that set off on a road trip which takes them away from home for the first time on a journey that changes everything.
The authors all have very different routes into publishing - some already working within the industry, some have completed MA courses and some have worked in supermarkets. But all of them have been writing a long time and all of them advise just to keep going, don't be put off and speak to people so you get good feedback, support and advice.
HOW DO YOU CHOOSE WHERE THE FACTS END AND THE FICTION STARTS?
All of these books are part of a series and all of them have aspects of the authors' lives incorporated into the main protagonists, whether it's that the author and their main character share the same job, have travelled to the same places or have grown out of something the author has studied or researched. There was a lot of debate about "reality" and "truth", "fact" and "fiction".
Paul Hardisty felt very strongly that in his books he wanted to bring the reader as close as he could to the real issues, events, people and places so he needs to recreate something very convincing that will provide that immediacy so the reader believes it. In his work, Hardisty has had to write a lot of scientific reports and from this he's found that facts aren't always the truth.
On the other hand, Robert Thorogood, who writes "Death in Paradise", has created a fictional island and therefore can play with the truth and wriggle out of inaccuracies. But, he will always make sure he is true to the genre of the murder mystery and always stay true to what makes a convincing and well written novel.
There was a lot of chat about location and how important that is in each of these novels. Linda Stratmann's novels are all set in Victorian Bayswater, Thomas Mogford are all set in Gibraltor, Hardisty's in the Middle East and Thorogood's on a fictional island. There were some interesting comments about the size of this canvas and the challenges of writing about a location you weren't living in.
This was an entertaining panel, expertly moderated by Barry Forshaw. Two of the authors are American and two are British but their books are all set in America. After a general introduction to the authors and their novels, there was some discussion about what the panel understood by the term "American Noir" and what were the key differences between British Noir and American Noir.
There was some discussion about why Chris Petit and Robert Wilson chose to set their books in America and it seems that basically America provides a bigger canvas; the roads are longer, the landscape is bigger and it seems to just lend itself better to the stories they want to write.
When chatting about America it's impossible not to mention the current political climate so it was interesting to hear how the authors and their writing might be affected by the new President. And whether America, seen for so long as palace of great optimism and opportunities, will now become a darker place and symbolise something different.
The authors recommended some classic American Noir authors too including Patricia Highsmith and Raymond Chandler.
This was a real treat!! There were two headline acts today, Anthony Horowitz and Anne Cleeves. As an English Teacher and mother of an Alex Rider fan, I had to see Horowitz. And it was a real treat. Horowitz is so animated, interesting, entertaining and energetic that the time passed really quickly. He was full of fantastic anecdotes from his writing life and plenty of insightful comments about crime fiction. Here are a few highlights but honestly, it's impossible to condense everything he said as he's achieved so much, written so much and seemed to share four times as much information as any of the other authors I saw this weekend!
- Horowitz has a different pen for each time he writes a new book and prefers the fluency of writing his stories by hand first rather than the abstractness of the computer where there is a bit of detachment
- Alex Rider was banned in one school!
- Alex Rider unlocked Horowitz's success- his children's book needed to grow up a bit and when they did, he found success.
- Horowitz talked about 3 objects that were important to him and why - the objects were a human skull, Tintin's moon rocket and a pair of broken sunglasses
- Arthur Conan Doyle didn't like Watson and how important it is to stay faithful to the original author when building on their stories
- Netflix is the future!
ESCAPING THE SHADOWS OF THE PAST: WHEN YOUR PROTAGONIST CAN"T FORGET
Elizabeth Haynes was moderating this panel and she threw them all in at the deep end by asking them to disclose something they had done that they would rather forget! I'm afraid I can't share as what's said at Crime Fest, stays at Crime Fest!
The authors talked about the past stories in their protagonists' lives and how intrigued they all were by family - every family has a dark side, and every family has a secret....!! Toyne and Diamond use a lot of violence in their novels but they explained that it was not gratuitous and as it served the story it was justified.
Elizabeth Haynes asked a great question about what they thought the reader wouldn't be able to forget once they'd finished the book. It seems that the locations of each of these novels is what is so memorable about them - and also essential for hiding secrets and shadows. Diamond's book is set in a museum, Toyne's novel is in France and Jonasson and Enger use their Nordic homelands. The locations for each of these novels is intrinsic to the plot and therefore must make a great impression on the reader.
All four authors have new books coming out soon so look out!
So that was Saturday - another 5 panels and another stack of books added to my TBR pile! But another fabulous set of panels, lots of inspiring words and entertaining stories. I've had a great day and thoroughly enjoyed meeting readers, writers, bloggers and authors, discovering new books, hearing about favourite ones and generally getting to soak up a wonderful atmosphere for 3 days!
Thanks for reading my posts and I hope you've found some new authors or new titles to add to your TBR pile!
Keep an eye out for my interviews with Leigh Russell, Paul Hardisty and Bill Beverly that are coming soon and check back over my blog to read the interview with Johana Gustawsson that I did on Thursday.
Follow me on Twitter @KatherineSunde3 to keep up to date with all my reviews and recommendations!