(or at least, that's what I like to think)
24-27th may 2012 were the dates chosen to celebrate the sixth edition of this Crime convention that gets together writers, authors and readers with a passion for crime fiction in common, and I couldn’t ask for more.
This year there was a killer line- up Featured Guest Authors to celebrate the fifth anniversary, among them my two favorite contemporary mystery authors: PD. James and Sue Grafton. They were the main reason I decided to travel briefly to Bristol to attend the convention on Saturday 26th and I sure don’t regret it!
The day started at 9:00h where I attended the panel called “Idiosyncratic protagonists: creating believable and unique characters” with Michael Stanley (aka Michael Sears) as a participating moderator and Declan Burke, Martin Walker, Alex (aka Michael) Walters and Anne Zouroudi. It was quite an entertaining panel, since most of the authors ended up explaining their inspiration to create their beloved protagonists. As an anecdote, Anne Zouroudi confessed that his male protagonist, detective Hermes Diaktoros, is one of the few characters in which she has taken direct inspiration from reality regarding the physical appearance. Zouroudi met his character in a lonely Greek cemetery: It was winter and she saw a tall man, standing in front of a gravestone, silent and elegantly dressed. She said there was something noble about him. Then he turned out to be the new banker in town. Nevertheless, this impression persisted on her and then became the know character of her Mysteries of the Greek detective series.
At 10:10h the Marriot’s Kings Room was full for an entertaining interview to Lee Child by Peter Guttridge, in which the author talked about movie adaptations, Tom Cruise and his favorite character: Jack Reacher. He was humorous and funny, both while answering Guttridge questions as for the public questions as well.
At 11:20 I was back to the Merchant Room which I shared with many others attendees and authors Simon Brett, Jeffery Deaver, Asa Larsson and Craig Robertson for the panel I most enjoyed of all, named “The Nature of Evil: where does it come from and why do we write about it?”, in which the participating moderator was Steve Mosby. This was a very fun, informative and entertaining panel where multiple and interesting ideas and concepts like entertainment vs. crude realism choice, emotional attachment, and the mystery writer’s somehow special view of reality as a source for their stories were discussed in a relaxed and funny ambiance.
An hour and ten minutes later PD James entered the Kings Room with his interviewer Barry Forshaw, and so everyone did shut up for the Baroness of Crime to be heard. With her cane and a black leather purse at her left, she seemed to me an adorable and intelligent grandma with an amazing story to tell. I felt like we were about to take a cup of tea with the top British contemporary crime writer while she was about to tell us the best mystery story ever. James rose to the great expectations and answered with wit and humor pretty interesting questions about society, crime, and the connection between these two. She also talked about why crime novels are and will always be in demand, about justice, about her beloved and now married Dalgliesh and her last book “Death comes to Pemberley”, and about Agatha Christie, Ruth Rendell and the writing process among other interesting issues. As soon as the interview finished I briskly went to the queue to get my copy of “Death comes to Pemberley” (which I had the luck to receive as a Christmas gift from New York from my beloved boyfriend since he clearly did read the post “Five books I wish for Christmas”-) signed.
After a quick break for lunch, we all got to the King’s room again to see -and most importantly, listen- to the other female writer that was the reason to get my ticket to this convention: Sue Grafton, widely known for his Crime Alphabet Series, with Kinsey Milhone as her detective protagonist.
Grafton has a personality that fills the room as she enters it. She is 72 years old, but she seems so much younger. Interviewed by Maxim Jakubowski, the “most talented mystery novel writer” according to The Washington Post , answered several interesting questions about her work, the way she got to be a writer after many rejections, and her complicated relationship with Hollywood, since she worked as a known screenwriter before creating the Kinsey Milhone mysteries. Grafton was authentic, sincere and gave her practical and interesting advice and point of view about the craft and the writer’s attitude in order to success. She also shared her thoughts on Kinsey Milhone, her main character in the series and answered the audience questions with humor and wit before signing the copies of her last Milhone adventure, “V is for vengeance”, which I obviously got as well.
All in all, I couldn’t ask for more! I really enjoyed knowing, listening and learning about my two favorite contemporary mystery authors live, and I’d really advise you to do the same if you ever got a chance like this again! If you wish to attend Crimefest next year you can save your spot by clicking here. See you there!
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