This post was originally published on murderiseverywhere.blogspot.com.
Given the 14 1/2 hour flight and 7 hour time difference between the UK and Singapore and because I haven’t yet come down from the high of traveling again, this is going to be all about Crimefest and my time in the UK–
and look who I met there even before the conference started!
Cara and Stan are two of the founding members and guiding lights of the Murder Is Everywhere blog and along with Caro and Zoe are people I’ve only known on the page and on screen up till now. But it felt like–no, not like meeting up with old friends–but like discovering long lost relatives, almost.
I’ve noticed it before: you may not love (may not even have read) everything they’ve written, might not agree with some of the ways they commit murder, yet you instantly feel like you’re accepted, because you’re part of the same tribe.
There’s something to be said for spilling all your blood on the page–in real life you can stick with coffee and vino and book talk…
…Though I’m not sure about Cara–who turned up at the gala dinner trying to disguise the fact she’d been painfully injured in what was probably a confrontation worthy of Kate Rees or Aimée Leduc by saying something about falling into an open crypt in a closed church… and the next day all the roads around our area were closed off by the police. They said it was the AJ Bell Great Bristol Run but what would you rather believe?
Cara and I were both on the Dark Times WW2 history panel, along with Chris Lloyd and Mark Ellis (far right), moderated by Luke McCallin (far left).
That dark time feels very close now, given the worst ravages of WW2 and Covid covered roughly the same amount of time and territory on this planet. Just like there were toddlers at the end of the war who didn’t know a world without air raid sirens, there are pre-schoolers now who’ve never known a world without masks.
I enjoyed the chance to meet some of my writing heroes at the humour too–
It was a special thrill to meet Simon Brett since his Mrs Pargeter and Charles Paris are two big reasons why I love mystery fiction! And the Mike Ripley (even more entertaining in real life than on the page) who, as an archaeologist, is ‘one of the few crime writers who regularly turns up real bodies’!
It was a wonderful experience. The best part was knowing that pretty much everyone you meet is interested in the same things you are. Given how much of our time is spent solitary, staring at a page or screen, it was super to talk it over with others who spend their time pretty much the same way.
I got to talk (mostly, given how little I know) listen to talk about agents, ChatGPT, writer strikes in America, translations, indie publishing, political correctness and social norms, food and drink and books, books, books, books!
And I got to fangirl stalk and get physical books signed by Vaseem Khan and Martin Edwards, never mind I already had ebook versions of those same books on my reader!
Then it was over and I was back in London.
This is me with my lovely editor Krystyna Green on top of the Hachette Building (Carmelite House) on the Victoria Embankment–with some of the most incredible views of London.
I was gleefully picking out landmarks but felt vaguely that something was off… and realised it was because there was no soundtrack. Because most of what I’ve seen of London has been on screen, there’s always been a soundtrack when Buckingham Palace or the Tower Bridge or Westminster Abbey come into view.
But reality is both quieter on the surface and much more vibrant beneath.
Thank you, Krystyna, for making all this possible!
And finally, taking a little step towards a future project I’m keeping my fingers crossed will happen–a meeting with Christopher and Emma who introduced me to sticky toffee pudding.
Yes, the sticky toffee pudding was super. I definitely want more of that and I so definitely hope to be back in England again soon.
Is anyone up for Crimefest 2024?