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  • Barbara Copperthwaite

Murder, meat pies & books, books, books! My first #TheakstonsCrime experience


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How on earth do I do justice to the wonderful, book-filled whirlwind that is Theakston’s Crime Writing Festival? I can’t possibly is the short answer! But I’m going to give you a flavour of my first trip to this fabulous Harrogate event anyway…

I can be really shy when meeting people, so I was a bit nervous in the run up, to be honest. Would it be difficult to get chatting to people, or would I end up wandering around alone after trying and failing to start conversations with strangers? The likely scenario of me lurking in the corner of a room like a potted plant kept popping into my mind.


At least the ice would be broken with drinks with my agent, Jane Gregory, and a number of other authors, including Amer Anwar, Rachel Abbott, Val McDermid, Michelle Davies, and Harriet Tryce, to name a few (there is such a buzz building around Harriet’s debut, Blood Orange, and after meeting her and hearing about it myself, I am desperate to read a copy!). Everyone was so friendly and chatty that I started to relax.

In fact, this was the theme for the entire three-day event and my memories will be of laughter, amazing conversation, incredible authors, and wonderful readers. We were all there because books, especially crime fiction, are our passion – frankly, I was in heaven! I talked about meat pies and murder with reader Michele Young; stood star-struck as big names such as Martina Cole, Lee Child, Linwood Barclay, and CL Taylor wandered past; discussed the writing process with Graham Smith; chatted about my latest book with William Shaw (he’s reading it right now – eek! I adored his book, The Birdwatcher, so am honoured and nervous he’s now reading mine); met powerhouse Tracy Fenton, of THE Book Club on Facebook; laughed with the super-talented Louise Beech; signed bags and kindles and books for readers… There were so many wonderful people I spoke to, and so many happy memories that listing them all would fill a book. Best of all, at no time did I resemble that potted plant.

A personal highlight was talking to Elizabeth Haynes, incredible author of psychological thrillers – including one of my all-time favourites, Into The Darkest Corner (if you haven’t read this yet, firstly, where have you been all this time? Secondly, do check it out if you get the chance!).

Now that I’m back at home, I’m tired, happy, and wondering if it was all a dream. Back to reality, and returning to writing my next book – but at least I have some lovely photographs to remember the event by.


Me, author Malcom Hollingdrake and blogger Shell Baker


Emma Tallon, me, Tom Bale, Emma Mitchell, and Shell Baker


With the fabulously funny and talented author Louise Beech


The crime festival is held at The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate, which has long had crime links


Meeting a writing hero of mine, Elizabeth Haynes


Dinner with some of my wonderful Bookouture colleagues, including Kim Nash, Susie Lynes, Patricia Gibney, and Emma Tallon


THE Book Club on Facebook founder Tracy Fenton


Dinner at Luigi’s with uber-talented authors Emma Tallon and Susie Lynes, and my friend Julieanne (check out the acknowledgments in THE PERFECT FRIEND to discover how my latest psychological thriller wouldn’t have happened with her)


Cheers! Time for a drink with Sumaira Wilson, Susie Lynes and Shell Baker

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