Had a fantastic time at Harrogate Crime Festival this weekend. Saw some inspirational panels and heard some fabulous speakers. JK Rowling was there as Robert Galbraith. She wore a man’s suit and a smile as she was interviewed by the formidable Val McDermid. Great to see the usual suspects milling around: Mark Billingham, Ann Cleeves, Simon Kernick and co. Disappointed not to see Stuart Macbride or Mo Hayder, two of my favourites. Might just have to go to Bloody Scotland now.

            A pleasure to see the wonderful Sheila Quigley signing books in Waterstones (and selling out.) Would have liked to have seen Sheila on the stage. She’s a funny woman and a breath of fresh air. Wonder who’s chairing next year. I’ll have to pester them. Again!

            The highlight of the events for me was Lynda La Plante and not just because I’ve loved her writing over the years but because she was one of the funniest women I’ve ever encountered. She had the audience rolling in the aisles. The old woman next to me had to leave three times to change her Tenna lady. Pissed myself laughing, not literally that came later while speaking with Howard Linskey and Col ‘The Colonel’ Bury. Drinking with agents, promoters and publishers until five thirty in the morning might not have been my best career move. I usually try to leave before I start singing Irish folk songs while pole dancing. I’m sure they’ll have forgotten by next year. I could always dye my hair purple and say my name’s Leigh. (Nice to see you again too Leigh Russel)

            Encouraging to hear good news from Col Bury and Graham Smith in the form of publishing deals with Caffeine Nights. Lovely to spend time with Kerry Richardson and to see Caitlin Sagan, Nick Quantrill, Ian Ayris, Vic Watson and co. (Sorry, if I missed you I’m terrible at remembering names.)

            Attended the dinner this year with Pete Sortwell. He writes humour apparently. (Haha only kidding, Sortwell) Someone thought we were married! Could have been the constant bickering. Be punching well above his weight there, I said. Hehe. Our table author was Craig Robertson, successful Scottish crime writer and genuinely nice bloke (He bought us wine.)

            Got the names of a few agents who said to send them some stuff. (That was before the pole dancing) So it’s a submission day today. Can’t wait for next year.



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