March Crime Squad Comments

How the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival set me on the road to publication.

A few years ago I attended the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival for the first time after learning of the festival via Lee Child’s newsletter. I travelled by myself and didn’t know a single person. After attending a few panels I plucked up the (Dutch) courage to start talking to one or two of the authors.

Realising how friendly they were, I relaxed and talked to more and more until I had a chance encounter with someone from the website, knowing how courageous I was by this time, I sent myself a reminder text and kept talking. As the conversation progressed I cheekily asked ‘Any jobs going’. I was told to write a synopsis and review of a book I’d recently finished and submit it to the editor.

Between the panels I scribbled something out on a sheet of paper and then sweet-talked the receptionist at the Crown to type it up for me. My review of ‘Pig Island’ by Mo Hayder was accepted and I became a reviewer.

The next year I attended Harrogate as a reviewer and got to meet and interview many of my writing heroes. More importantly to my writing ambitions, I also attended Creative Thursday where I learned a massive amount from Stuart MacBride, Allan Guthrie and Joseph Finder. Their teachings and encouragement gave me the tools and confidence to keep writing.

Two years ago, I found myself in possession of a completed manuscript and an opportunity to pitch it. Connections established at Harrogate and through, gave me the knowledge of who to approach and that year’s festival saw me pitching for all I was worth. Caffeine Nights were the first to offer a contract, so when I attended the next year I was able to break the news to all my Harrogate buddies.

This year I shall be going as a published author and I can’t wait. If you haven’t booked your tickets – then get a wriggle on! The Theakston’s Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate has to be on the ‘must not be missed’ list of any serious crime fiction fan. The Harrogate Festival gave me the confidence to step up to the plate and deliver my first crime novel. It is only a matter of time before other ardent fans of this festival will follow in my footsteps. And that is what makes this festival such a joy, everyone is there to share their knowledge and enthusiasm for this genre. I can’t wait for the 16th July when the festival officially opens. It will be a blast!

P.S. If you read ‘Snatched from Home’ and don’t like it, blame Lee Child as his newsletter started me on this road!

Graham Smith – ‘Snatched from Home’ is available now. Published by Caffeine Nights £8.99