This past October I got to take part in the Cheltenham Literary Festival! I did an event called It’s a Mystery with the very talented Katherine Woodfine (author of The Clockwork Sparrow and The Jewelled Moth). It was my first literary festival, so everything was very new and exciting. I didn’t take nearly as many photos as I should have, but here are a few:
Getting ready for the big day with book themed outfit and nails. (I also reviewed all of my notes and outlines for Alice Jones: The Impossible Clue and Alice Jones: The Ghost Light-but that would be a very boring photo.)
Here’s my official ‘Presenter Wristband’–
–so the organizers knew I was meant to be in the writers tent and hadn’t sneaked in to gawp at the real celebrities or eat the free food. Cheltenham Festivals did an amazing job feeding us, by the way, I felt very fancy!
The event itself was in The Little Big Top, an amazing venue!
And here we are onstage, ready to talk all about mysteries!
The event itself was the best part! Our moderator, Alex O’Connell of The Times, asked really interesting questions (How we came up with our characters, the differences between American and British mysteries, what makes a good baddie and how we plot our crimes). Having a seasoned speaker like Katherine up there helped me feel a lot less nervous. BUT, the thing that made the event SO FANTASTIC was the ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS audience!
They had great ideas on what makes a good detective (bravery, smarts, attention to detail, ready for anything) and wonderful questions at the end of the session-both about mysteries and about being a writer. I think we definitely had some future mystery authors in the tent!
On a more personal note, it was a lot of fun to share what I do with my family. I think being a writer can seem very ambiguous, and very boring to people living with an author. After all, when my kids see me working all they see is me frowning at a computer screen, fingers pecking away at the keys. After seeing me onstage, my son has a much better idea of what I do, and he thinks it’s pretty cool.
‘Mummy, maybe I’ll be a writer like you when I grow up.’
And that’s probably the best bit of all.