I went to the above festival last weekend and made 100+ pages (fortunately only A5) of notes so I thought I’d share them with you. Today is the first instalment and because of the quantity, it’ll be pretty much as I wrote it (not word for word but paraphrasing) so my apologies if it feels fragmented.
Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival Award Ceremony – Thursday 17th July 2014
After meeting up with some fellow crime writers from Crime and Publishment, we headed off to the first event, the (short) festival’s award ceremony.
Scottish crime writer Denise Mina had won the award for the previous two years and she had again made the shortlist. It was won however by Belinda Bauer for her novel Rubbernecker and she went to accept the award to a rapturous applause. I’ve not read the book but clearly a popular winner. There was another award given out: an outstanding achievement award to Lynda La Plante who when thanking the organisation, voters and audience, had us all in stitches. She was due to return for a one-hour interview on the Saturday morning so I think we were all look forward to that.
After more chat with C&P friends, we went to our respective hotels (most were staying in the venue hotel, I’d left it too late – not a mistake I’ll make next year as I’ve already booked to return). I was staying at a hotel only a few yards away, The Majestic, which certainly lived up to its name with its car turning circle (with a fountain in it) that would have given the Savoy or Dorchester a run for its money. Sadly the same couldn’t be said for the staff (it felt like they were just going through the motions) and floor-hard bed. This isn’t a hotel review so I shall move swiftly on.
Interview with Denise Mina – 9am Friday 18th July 2014
BBC Radio 4’s Mark Lawson interviewed Denise.
Mark: Were you prepared for winning a third time?
Denise: No. I’d not written a speech as always better ad libbing but it’s a relief and Belinda’s great.
M: Do you plot? I’ve never guessed what happens in any of your books.
D: I’m a pantser, falling off the cliff headfirst. Two-thirds of the way through writing, I’m not sure if I can finish it as I don’t know who the murderer is. Some authors shoe-horn in characters to fit. Just read Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock so aspects of that in The Red Road. Crime writing is about narrative, about story telling. I hate the thought of someone reading her books because they have to, I’d rather them read something else.
M: Have you had a book where you’ve been two-thirds of the way through and stopped?
D: I have with the present one but I’m confident I’ll find the rest. I’d rewrite all my books if I could. It’s like finishing a house – when you’ve finished you’d go round repainting the skirting etc. Sometimes I send a part-written book to my editor for a second opinion. I love playing with endings and usually have the resolution on the last but one page but then something ‘shatters’ (cosy crime = a perfect resolution).
M: There is no resolution for someone whose loved one has been murdered.
D: There was a similarity in one of my books (The Field of Blood) to the Jamie Bulger case but it wasn’t based on that.
M: There are lots of rude women in your books.