I am writing this live from Crimefest, in the lobby of the Royal Marriott Hotel in Bristol - or at least trying to, as my laptop decided to fall out with Blogger, and refused to put up the contents of my original post, which then appear to have got lost in the ether. I'm now in the 'business centre' ( aka a computer, a fax and a photocopier in a cubbyhole) This continues a rather traumatic 24 hours for me. Yesterday I arrived at the hotel to discover that I wasn't booked in for last night, a result of my incompetence rather than the hotel's I must add. I had left three children at home, one a wakeful infant. To say I was looking forward to an undisturbed night sleep in a plush hotel bed would be an understatement. This was not welcome news.
Thanfully I have friends in the city, who were willing to put me up...in the house they share with three children, one a wakeful infant. The plush bed became a sofa. I can't say my sleep was undisturbed becasue I'm not actually sure I fell asleep. Let no one say I don't suffer for my art.
The upside was that I didn't end up haunting the hotel bar until the wee small hours, so as a result I was, sleep-deprivation aside, fresher than I might have anticipated for my 9am panel this morning, with none of the dry mouth, sweats and vague sense of unease that accompanies a public hangover. I chewed the fat with Frances Brody, Alison Bruce, Diane Janes and Martin Edwards in front of an audience that was far better attended than a 9am panel deserved to be. The subject was ostensibly about the differences between writing fact and fiction, but as always it took on a life of its own and we covered a heap of ground, in hopefully an entertaining way and without too many lame gags.
Crimefest is smaller than some conventions but particularly enjoyable. Like Bouchercon, though nothing like it in terms of size, there are no hierarchies or cliques, just lots of writers and readers mingling, chatting and drinking. Writing is a solitary existence, so the chance to have a whinge and a moan with other writers about agents and publishers, and meet face to face the most important people in the business, the readers, is a genuine pleasure. No one is trying to relentlessy promote themselves or their books, and if they do they are given pretty short shrift. I come because I enjoy it and to meet people. To be honest, I can think of ten better ways to flog copies of my book than this, but I don't see that as the point.
Before I endure another technological catastrophe, I'm going to sign off and do some of that chatting and mingling. The drinking I will save for this evening when I have dinner with my fellow MiE-ers Yrsa, Michael and Stanley, Cara and guests. Then I hope to sleep in a bed.
Five quid says the fire alarms goes off at 3am...
p.s no pics due to the techie problems, but I hope to snap some and upload when I get back to familiar PC.
Tana French, Los Angeles Review of Books
7 hours ago