Hanging out with friends: CrimeFest 2018

Next week I will be hanging out with good friends – Martina Cole, Jeffery Deaver, Lee Child and Peter James. These guys have seen me through the bad times of being in hospital and that time when a terrifying storm almost took apart my seafront, cliff top home (when I was in it!). Also the good times – sunny, hot beach holidays, cosy winter nights and lazy Sunday afternoons. I honestly don’t know how I would do without them by my side. Of course, as all good fiction writers do, I am playing with the facts a little here. To be completely transparent I am not personally acquainted with any of these great writers/story tellers but will be attending talks and workshops presented by them at the International Crime Fiction Convention – Crimefest. CrimeFest 2018 is being held over four days in Bristol and has been a popular and ever growing annual event since it was established 2008. The Convention is an opportunity for both readers and writers of crime fiction to get together to talk about crafting great stories, hear about writing processes, have own writing reviewed and gain developmental feedback, get early copies of new works and also meet and pitch to publishers. This year there is even a forensic crime scene excursion! Check out the itinerary on the Convention webpage. It looks like it will be a fantastic event.

It is easy for me to imagine that I will be a little star struck. These are hugely, internationally, successful, award winning writers who each, in their different ways, have found the magic something which connects with firstly, agents and publishers and secondly, their reading public. These authors (and a great many other authors who will be speaking at the Convention) have earned respect for their ability to craft story and navigate the often challenging re-write/editing terrain to publication. At the same time, I am mindful that attending a Convention, chatting to others about writing, hearing about writing process, listening to successful authors speak about how they craft stories, pitching to agents yada yada yada is not actually writing and in such glorious company, it would be easy to become demoralised about the quality or impact of one’s own writing. I see attending the convention as part of prioritising my own learning and helping to make me a better writer. I aim to write about 5k words on my latest novel across the four days of the conference and not just schmooze with other delegates! Perhaps in future years, I will be hosting a panel. Stranger things have happened.