Fresh from a recent feature in the Daily Mirror and a swarm of tweeted accolades (including great praise from Tony Parsons) following her runaway success with her first crime ebook ‘Taunting the Dead’, Mel Sherratt drops by to Books and Writers to share her experiences of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate.
This time last year I was getting ready to attend Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate – and not only in terms of which shoes I’d be wearing! It was the first time I’d attended and from the moment I stepped from the train and saw the ‘chalk’ outline of a dead body, I was excited. And, boy did it live up to my expectations. Fun, fun, fun and more fun.
This year, I feel like a child counting down to Christmas Day. I think someone on Dragon’s Den should make ‘Countdown to Harrogate’ calendars, I’m sure they’d be on to a winner. In fact, several of us have been counting down not just the days, but the weeks.
And because of last year’s crime festival, I’ve had a remarkable twelve months.
Here are a few reasons why:
I met so many authors and, because of social media such as Twitter and blogging, I’ve been able to keep in contact with most of them. Over the year, I’ve met up with several of them at different events and I can’t wait to catch up again. I listened to some fabulous talks, lots of intriguing topics, lots of interesting authors. The atmosphere was electric. There were so many interesting authors on the panels and something for everyone.
For networking, a festival where readers, authors and publishing folk come together in one place is just fantastic – and inspiring. You can chat to people you’ve only met online, put faces to names as well as rub shoulders with the likes of the biggies. You can get books signed. You can chat in general. You can even get star struck when you’re in the queue for the toilets! Ok, maybe that might just be me…
More importantly, I met friends. I call them my Harrogate five. It initially started last year when we met, all for the first time, just before the festival started and ended up staying together for the whole weekend. Throughout the past year we’ve met up at a central point, several times, for long lunches where we just talk crime for hours – pure bliss and immensely enjoyable. Somehow, I think the Harrogate five is more likely to be the Harrogate fifty this year as more and more people have said they are coming too. It’s going to be one big tweet up.
Yet, I suppose the biggest thing to happen to me since last year is that I’ve published two ebooks. The elusive book deal has evaded me but TAUNTING THE DEAD was released in December 2011 and has done quite well. SOMEWHERE TO HIDE, the first in a new series, THE ESTATE, has just been released at the beginning of July.
When I was at Harrogate, I chatted about SOMEWHERE TO HIDE because some of the talks brought up the subject of violence towards women, women in jeopardy, and that’s what I like to write about – fear and emotion. I don’t think I’ll ever give up the dream of sitting on a panel at Harrogate, deal or no deal, but I know just being there around people I admire, enjoy chatting to, who inspire me, with my friends is a dream come true anyway.
Countdown to Harrogate – 9 days to go!
A big thanks for Mel for taking the time to drop by here.