7 lessons from CrimeFest 2017

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1. Crime authors work incredibly hard:
At every panel, I am astounded by their dedication and productivity. When someone says their 21st novel is out next month, you have to be impressed. Where do these people find the time and dedication? To be an author, you need to be committed – literally!

2. Everything has gone noir:
Genres can be invented. The wonderful Julia Crouch (if you haven’t read Cuckoo, please do. You won’t be inviting any old school friends to stay ever again) invented the term ‘Domestic Noir’. There’s plenty of talk in the sessions about many different noirs. Ann Cleeves likes Village Noir. Someone from Hull at the back of the room thinks Erotic Noir might be worth a go. You know who you are.

3. Sitting next to crime writing heroes:
CrimeFest is the place to bump into your favourites. Someone who wrote a book you invested a week of your life reading sits right next to you. We all have our favourites. ‘Into the Darkest Corner’ by Elizabeth Haynes introduced me to psychological thrillers and it’s still the best for me. How cool to say hello to her? Psychological thriller? Psychological suspense? Perhaps Obsession Noir.
Talking of Obsession, there’s another one. A brand new author not even on a panel and already racing up the charts as a best seller – Amanda Robson. I said hello to her too.
Then there’s Emma Kavanagh whose book ‘The Missing Hours’ I read after last year’s CrimeFest and loved it. Then suddenly she’s sitting next to me.
I love CrimeFest for that. It turns out your heroes are actually just normal people. Well, as normal as we all are. They just work harder.

4. Crime authors are born with two livers:
I’ve learned their secret. Crime authors are born to it. It’s something they just have to do, and they have to write stories. They don’t have a choice, and that’s because they have two livers. It’s the only way they can possibly survive CrimeFest to the last day.

5. Crime authors are patient:
Rome was built more quickly. One novel, two novels, three novels in. Keep going. It’s relentless. Build the back catalogue. Write a dozen novels before even one sees the light of day. Never give up.

6. CrimeFest inspires crime ideas:
Listening to panels can fill your notebook with ideas for plots. Is that plagiarism? Could anyone prove it? A mashup of ideas that can last a year.

7. Fill your bag with crime books for the year:
Or in my case a Kindle. Thanks CrimeFest. This year’s reading list is now full. See you next time.

Of course, saving the best for last is my new novel Held to Ransom. Take a look, there’s more to come from Emma Hawkins. If I work harder!!

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