I don’t know about you, but it’s always a thrill to meet someone whose work you admire, whether it be a writer, artist, sculptor, archaeologist, explorer, whoever … the list of interesting people who have actually done something seems to be endless. Especially if it’s in a field you are involved in, or aspire to.
For me, one such occasion took place in our local library a couple of weeks ago when the Medieval Crime Writers arrived in town. Until then, I wasn’t aware that such a group existed, but apparently it was formed by a number of novelists way back in 2002, to act as a performance group and have since achieved a reputation for very entertaining sessions discussing history, mystery and various aspects of publishing.
I have to say, that the three writers who landed on our shore that morning more than lived up to the plaudits that preceded them, with their light-hearted approach to the business of writing and publishing. Not a dull moment as they told of their own experiences on becoming best-selling novelists, upside and downside, and quite a few home truths for those of us who hope to join them.
I know, I haven’t told you who they were!
Here they are:
Susanna Gregory, a former police officer in Leeds before taking up an academic career at Durham and Cambridge. She has written two series of historical mysteries: The Chronicles of Matthew Bartholomew and the Thomas Chaloner Mysteries.
Karen Maitland writes stories around the myth and magic of the Middle Ages, including Company of Liars, The Owl Killers, The Gallows Curse, and her most recent novel The Vanishing Witch.
Michael Jecks is the author of thirty-three novels; chairman of the Crime Writers’ Association; helped found the Historical Writers’ Association; has organised the CWA Debut Dagger, and amongst his many other credits, I was intrigued to learn that he was Grand Master of the first parade of the New Orleans Mardi Gras!
They were a very entertaining group and I can highly recommend them if the Medieval Murderers happen to turn up in your part of the world.
One thing that did impress me was that over forty would-be writers (mostly women, perhaps 90%) turned up at our event. Who knows what they were planning?