It looks like I am going to have to decamp to Starbucks on a daily basis if I want to have good free internet access. Not too keen on traipsing up the high street. Will have to see how it goes.
One of the good things about attending CrimeFest, Harrogate, Bouchercon etc is the fact that you get the opportunity to catch up with people. This was the case on Thursday. It was lovely to see Matt and Denise Hilton, Adrian and Ann Magson, Mari Hannah, Cath Bore, Karen Meek, Peter Guttridge, Ruth Dudley Edwards, Chris Ewan, Chris Carter and many more and all of them before any of the panels had started. Hanging around the reception area waiting for my room to be ready was evidently the best place to be!
So did I manage to get to any panels? Yes, I did despite the fact that I had a spoke put in the wheels because of trying to get my room sorted out!
I did in fact attend the first panel They’re All Out To Get You – It’s a Conspiracy, which had Dean Crawford, Adrian Magson, Chris Ewan and Emlyn Rees participating along with Tom Harper as participating moderator. I did actually tweet about this as it was taking place. The room was full and a lively discussion took place. Emlyn Rees stated that he was initially in denial over the fact whether or not he actually read any thrillers until he looked on his bookshelves and realised that he did. Chris Ewan who is best known for his Good Thief series has written his first standalone novel, which comes out in August. He explained that he found it challenging to write a criminal conspiracy novel. I did not find this surprising as his Good Thief series are anything but thrillers. They are thrilling books to read but are more comic capers! Adrian Magson pointed out that he had not realised that he wrote conspiracy thrillers until after a review pointed it out. Conspiracy thrillers seem to be popular due to the recession. People do not trust the Government. They are not being told the truth; they feel disenfranchised and therefore see conspiracy thrillers as an escape.
Emlyn Rees felt that it was a rollercoaster in terms of information. An example that he used was Umberto Eco’s Foucault's Pendulum. Dean Crawford stated that he felt that it was a war of the worlds, which was very realistic in the 50s. One just had to look at the recent news and information that was available to write about. Chris Ewan and Emlyn Rees referenced Dr David Kelley and David Shayler as prime examples. The panellists also commented on the fact that even though theorists are real it does not mean that the conspiracy is. Adrian Magson pointed out that he would not use a real life event as the basis of a novel. Questions were asked but the most interesting one was by Ruth Dudley Edwards who asked why did conspiracy theorists tend to be male?
Unfortunately I managed to miss Matt Hilton’s panel. Not because I wanted to but mainly because I finally managed to get into my room! I did go to see Frederick Forsyth being interviewed by Peter Guttridge and unsurprisingly it was standing room only! I will put my hands up now and say that whilst I am fan of his early works especially The Day of The Jackal and the Odessa File, I have not been too keen on his stuff for quite some time now. He did explain that he does have a new book coming out that will have some technology in it – cyberspace! However, he also pointed out that it might well be his last book. Frederick Forsyth is not a computer geek. He does not use email and uses a typewriter to type his novels. 90% of his plotting is without a word being written. It is all research and then the story. He writes one A4 page per chapter to describe what is happening.
He went on to explain that he lived most of his life via the Cold War. He had been a journalist at 23 after coming out of the Air Force but did not know that he wanted to be a writer. It took him 35 days to write his classic 1971 novel The Day of The Jackal. It was written without any corrections. It was also turned down by four publishers before it was picked up by Hutchinson’s. He stated that he felt that the original film was terrific but that it was nothing to do with him and that Michael Caine, Charlton Heston and Roger Moore all wanted to play the Jackal, the role that was subsequently played by Edward Fox.
He stated that for the Odessa File he managed to interview Simon Wiesenthal and it was he that proposed Simon Rushman as the villain. Rushman was known as the Bucher of Viga and he was exposed living in Argentina because of the film. Frederick Forsyth explained that in this day and age it was a lot more difficult for terrorists to get away unobserved.
He was asked about his reading tastes and he explained that he mainly read non-fiction but did enjoy and had read all John Le Carré’s. He also enjoyed reading tom Clancy with whom he was good friends, David Baldacci, John Grisham (however he had not liked the last three and Michael Connelly. He tended to do his reading on the plane.
I was not that impressed with Frederick Forsyth himself, but maybe it was because I could not hear him properly and also he had this tendency to talk in threes!
Peter Rozovsky has a slightly more serious blog post about the interview over on his blog. For some reason I cannot link to the actual post. However, it is easy to find.
The evening was good fun. This year I did not do the quiz! I just decided not to take part. I did have a lovely evening as I ended up being taken out to dinner with the lovely people from Quercus along with Elly Griffiths, Martin Walker and Asa Larsson. Also in attendance were the ever-delightful Nicci Praca (who organised the dinner) and my erstwhile fellow Shots colleagues Mike Stotter and Ali Karim. By the time we managed to stagger back to the hotel it was after 11:00pm and by the time I got to bed it was 1:45am. It looks as if late nights are going to be a regular occurrence! How I managed to be up by 7:00am I don't know. Coffee has a lot to answer for.
My whinge is that the Marriott charge £15.00 per day for Wi-Fi access and there is not even free Wi-Fi in the lobby area. I am sorry but in this day and age it is so wrong. I am wondering if I am being too annoying over this but don’t actually think so because it does not cost that much for Wi-Fi and nowadays most hotels even if they do charge you for using Wi-Fi in your room tend to have it free in the public area. Come on Marriott you need to change your policy over this! Does anyone know if the Marriott have a twitter account and if so what their Twitter handle is?
Well I have various panels to attend and the short story nominations to announce as well later on. One decision to make is what I am going to wear! Choices, choices!
By the way, I am tweeting (when I can remember to charge my phone) using the #CrimeFest2012. Look out for my erratic tweets!