Many thanks to Margaret, Lesley, Fran and all the members of the Woodford Women's Institute for making me feel so welcome last night (1st Oct, 2015). I really enjoyed talking about writing my crime novels. In your vote of thanks you said I didn't look like a crime writer! Believe me, neither did PD James! She was the first crime novelist I read and I was privileged to hear her speak some years ago about her writing. She continued publishing novels into her 90s. I hope I'm as lucky.
I appreciated the interesting questions you asked me at the end and the comments so many of you made, when we broke for tea and cake. Thanks also to those of you who bought copies of my books. I hope you will become fans!
Cheadle Hulme U3A is a thriving branch with nearly 300 members. I was privileged to be one of your guest speakers at the June monthly meeting. I was very impressed with the attendance. My thanks go to Bernadette for the invitation to speak, and to Shirley, for putting my name forward to the group. What an attentive audience! There were so many interesting questions both during and after my talk. Members were curious about my own favourite writers, favourite TV cops, the challenges facing indie authors and audiobooks. Again, as with other talks, it was lovely to hear from so many of you in the audience who are fans of the crime fiction genre and to learn about what you like and don’t like in the books you read. Hopefully I also made a few new converts. Thanks to those who signed up to receive future publicity from me, those who purchased books on the day or those who have downloaded books since the talk. I look forward to getting feedback. Again, thanks for your support and for making me feel so welcome.
A big thank you to Pat Stansfield for the invitation to speak to the East Cheshire Ladies Association on ‘Writing Crime Fiction.’ You were such an attentive audience. There were so many interesting questions after my talk, covering topics like: my own favourite authors, what you like and don’t like in crime fiction, writers’ block, paperbacks versus e-books and getting known as a new author. I hope I converted more of you to the crime fiction genre. I’m looking forward to getting feedback from those of you who purchased or downloaded books. Thanks for your support and for making me feel so welcome.
Once again the CrimeFest provided a great opportunity to meet new people, renew acquaintances and hear from authors on a wide range of discussion topics. I enjoyed the panels on: Heroes and Anti Heroes; The Art of Writing Crime Fiction; Identity and Viewpoint; Detective Duos; sessions on Thrillers and on Protagonists; and ones on the Choices Our Characters Make and the secrets they keep. As an indie author myself, though, I was biased towards the Emerging Indie Voices, which took place on the last morning. It was definitely the highlight of the CrimeFest. Let’s hope more note is taken of the amazing contribution Indie authors are making to the crime genre. It’s about time indie authors were represented across all panels.
I have now completed a number of Future Learn courses on forensics, forensic psychology and eye-witness testimony and creative writing. All course are free, available on line and able to be completed at your own pace. Most are 6 weeks in duration. Highly recommend to aspiring and experienced writers alike. See www.futurelearn.com
A big thank you to Suzy and Margaret for the invitation to speak to the local group of the NWR on ‘Writing Crime Fiction.’ There were so many interesting questions and a great discussion on getting inspiration, plotting, developing characters, writing a series etc. Thank you also to the reading group for choosing Primed by the Past, my first Detective Annie Macpherson novel for your March meeting. In the relaxed atmosphere of your home, Margaret, I nearly let out a few secrets about book five. In the end though, I just about managed to keep tight lipped! Thanks again for a lovely evening.
I am also a member of this generic writing group, which is run by Suzanne Downes. The group is planning to publish its first collection during this year.
The group, which Suzanne Downes and I started in March 2012, continues to meet with a core membership, all keen writers of crime fiction. Not sure what the people visiting the library make of us sometimes, as we read out our stories! Each meeting takes a similar format: news from members and then each of us reading a short story, flash fiction or book chapter. Sometimes we assign a writing topic for the next meeting, other times we let inspiration take us.
During 2014 we produced our first collection of short stories and flash fiction, entitled, Booked for Crime.
During this year I gave a number of presentations on ‘Writing Crime Fiction’ to a range of groups. I spoke in Bramhall Village to the CAMEO Group (which stands for Come and Meet Each Other) and gained some new readers among those attending. As word of mouth spread, I was also invited to speak to the Cheadle Hulme Townswomen’s Guild and then invited back as their reading group discussed Secrets Only Sleep. Poynton U3A reading group invited me to a discussion of my first three books. Some of the attendees had never read crime fiction before, so I hope I won some over to the genre.
I have also been contributing to the Creative Writing courses, which Suzanne Downes runs at Aquinas College in Stockport. I lecture on the key points in writing crime novels, especially with regard to plotting and also do a session on editing.
Many thanks to Louise Hunter for asking me to write a guest blog for Crime Book Club. The blog was entitled: Lessons I have learned from writing crime fiction and indie publishing (or what I wish I knew at the beginning…) www.crimebookclub.com
It was a thrill for me to be invited to give a talk to the Huntly Writers in Scotland in August. It was special for me as I first started writing about Detective Annie Macpherson when I was on holiday in Huntly many years ago. I was writing while my husband was fishing. We were staying at the Greenmount B&B, operated by Evelyn Manson and her husband George. As I got talking to George it turned out that he had been in the police and was very gracious in letting me interview him and an ex-colleague of his. From that I established Annie’s background as a native of Huntly and she came alive for me. I also thought of George as Annie’s grandfather. Huntly Writers enjoyed hearing about the Huntly connection to my character. Sadly, George Manson passed away shortly after our visit in August, but for me a part of him will always live on in my character.
More information at: www.huntlywriters.co.uk
As always, great for networking and learning alike. Good to make the acquaintance again of Chris Longmuir and to find out that she had referenced Secrets Only Sleep in her book, Crime Fiction and the Indie Contribution. Also met a number of fellow countrymen and was reunited with fellow attendees from the Arvon course from Dec 2011. Attended the first ever Indie panel. Great for Bristol CrimeFest to acknowledge the contribution of self-published and indie authors.
I also met Louise Hunter who runs the online Crime Book Club, promoting books and authors. It’s a great site: www.crimebookclub.co.uk
I was honored to have been invited to speak at this prestigious event by Sarah Williams, the founder of Thriller School. I was able to share my experiences of writing my novels and to discuss plotting and characterisation, using examples from my own writing. As always it was lovely to spend time with other writers and Sarah was a very gracious host. The setting of Balliol College was amazing. For news of future events, go to: www.thriller-school.com