A Fabulous Festival To Remember – Part Three

If you missed parts and one and two of my Harrogate Crime Writing Festival journey, please click here and here.

As we seemed to have settled into the habit of missing all or part of the events we’d booked, we were determined to be right at the front (well, nearish) of day two’s first event. It was a panel session, called The Underworld, featuring authors Jesse Keane, Joseph Knox, Robert Crais and A. A. Dhand. Chairing the session was Henry Sutton. The authors all took us to their sinister worlds, giving fascinating insights into their latest books, why they’d chosen their settings, what makes their main protagonists tick and much more. We left feeling thoroughly inspired and eager to work on our own ‘worlds’ (though as mine is a world for 5-7 year olds, it’s not quite as macabre as the ones we’d been introduced to that morning).

My partner read a number of Robert Crais books years ago and was keen to meet him and get a signed copy of one of his books. So, once the session was over, he joined the author signing queue. He wasn’t disappointed; he found Robert or ‘Bob’, as he likes to be called, great fun to talk to and is now eager to reunite himself with Bob’s private eye lead, Elvis Cole, in his book, The Wanted.

What was next on the agenda? I hear you cry. Well, we were attending an author murder mystery dinner that evening so for the time being, we decided it was time to mingle. It wasn’t long before we bumped into one of my partner’s friends, Louise Jensen, best-selling author of The Sister and The Gift. I hadn’t met Louise before, so it was great to be introduced to her and to hear all about her books and the projects she’s planning for the future. It was the first time she’d attended the festival and she was there to sign proof copies of her latest thriller, The Family. The signing was a special event organised by her publisher, Harper Collins. Wanting to support Louise, we thought we’d go along. Well, talk about a fight to get to the front. It reminded me a little of a jumble sale, with a mad surge to bag the best bargains. Louise’s proof copies were swiftly grabbed and had gone within minutes. Though, it shows how popular an author she is with everyone keen to get hold of her latest book.

Exhausted by being part of the rush, we decided to go back to the hotel for some rest and relaxation before getting ready for the special evening ahead.

I don’t know about you, but I’d never been to a murder mystery evening before. My partner had and he had high expectations of what constitutes a good murder mystery. As we all filed into the room where it was taking place, we took a look at the table plan. There were about twenty tables, with eight of us on each table, plus a crime writing author. Our author was Caz Frear, author of Sweet Little Lies and Stone Cold Heart.

Our table at dinner, with Caz Frear in the middle

Before we had a chance to chat to her, the murder unfolded and all the suspects told their side of the story. Dinner was served and we tucked in while discussing ‘who dunnit’. Though, we soon found we were chatting to the others around the table, finding out who they were, where they’d come from and about their interest in crime writing. It wasn’t until we were told that we had five minutes to decide who the murderer was and why they’d done it that we focused on the murder mystery again. 

There was a prize for those who solved the mystery. Alas, it wasn’t us – by a long way, but we didn’t care; we’d had a fun time. And we also took away a bundle of books as part of the ticket price.

The crowds soon dispersed, off to see the interview with Harlan Coben. We’d tried to get tickets to see him, but they’d sold out almost instantly, meaning we weren’t in a rush to leave.  Neither was Caz Frear so it was then that we were able to chat with her about her writing. She’s a lovely lady to talk to so we were more than happy that we hadn’t managed to get ticket to see Harlan. Though, I would be seeing him again…                      

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4 Responses to A Fabulous Festival To Remember – Part Three

  1. Alyson Faye says:

    hi Esther Last summer Louise Jensen was the special guest at writers Ali Harper and Anna Turner’s Wentworth castle writing residential. Louise was very interesting and very honest about her writing journey and the whole getting publishing saga; plus she signed books (I got one) and I’m thrilled that I have an E ARC off Net galley of her latest The Family- lovely lady and fantastic story teller Aly

  2. fenlandphil says:

    You have certainly aroused my interest in the festival, I have floated the idea of a day trip for our writing group next year, as a toe in the water experience.

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