Monday, July 23, 2007

Harrogate Crime Writing Festival - Day 1 - Wednesday : Chorizos and Melted Cheese

When I walked into the lobby of The Crown Hotel this afternoon, I was struck with a sense of anticipation. The place was quiet: one or two drinkers at the bar, a white haired old couple pulling luggage up a corridor, a smiling lady behind the reception counter. But in less than 24 hours, the place would be swarming with authors, agents, publishers and fans of the crime writing genre.

As I made my way up to the counter, struggling with a large backpack and my computer bag, a few guests passed by, looking at me with restrained curiosity. I thought to myself, hmmm, maybe they think I am an author, arriving for the Theakston’s Crime Writing Festival. It felt pretty good and I milked it for what it was worth (stopping short of soliciting requests for autographs).

My fa├žade dropped, however, as I searched, with similar excitement, the faces of other patrons of the hotel, hoping to recognise a genuine crime writer. Alas, there were none; but I was patient: tomorrow would bring forth a plethora of authors for me to see and chat with.

It’s hard not to have dreams of discovery when attending the Harrogate festival. It's a major crime writing festival, the best going around, and it attracts everyone from the industry. As a budding writer working on his first novel, I would be lying if I didn’t fantasise about wooing authors and agents alike with my witty banter, charming personality and ultimately, excellent, heart stopping, ground breaking prose. But I made a pact with myself – this Festival was about learning from those in the industry, through panels, interviews and the occasional chat at the bar. But it was also about making new friends and having fun.

The Jingo is arriving tomorrow so I went Han Solo for dinner to a nice Mexican restaurant at the end of Station street; had a nachos with chorizo. Probably a bad move as the stomach feels a bit unsettled. Probably just nerves (and the diarrhoea is probably just due to my healthy fruit rich diet). I walked around town afterwards, admiring the city of Harrogate. The buildings look amazing here and the gardens are beautiful – a nice relaxing place with loads of restaurants and nightlife too. I checked out the restaurants in the area, picking out a few for when Jingo arrives. Betty’s tea room is one we will definitely not miss.

The sunny afternoon moved on into a cool evening and I decided to retire to my room. The room is nice, nothing too flash but has all the necessary amenities. The bed is pretty small for two people and the floorboards creak, but otherwise, it’s suitable. I set up the computer but instead of writing, I decided to watch a couple of DVDs – Homicide: Life on the Street, just to get me in the mood for tomorrow.

Not that I need any help with that.


James Twining said...

Daryl - next step you should jump in before hotel security so you can claim all the glory. Sorry not to have met you over the weekend (or have been to drunk to now remember it!). Hope you had a good time. Lokking forward to seeing the rest of your posts

Steve Pinches said...

Hey big man,

This festival sounds awesome. Can't wait to read a first draft of your novel...will it have Jamie Lee Curtis in it. I still fancy her, even though, apparently, she's a chap or some such. Make some time for a stroll across the Stray, and if you get time take a trip out to Fountains Abbey: as crime novel locations go, I don't think you'll get much better than that. Lynda la plante would go bananas over that place.

Daryl said...

James - we'll see what we can arrange for our furry Swedish friend next year - I am sure he will be back in true form.

Pinches - JLC may make an appearance, probably as a sexy she-man from the less salubrious streets of Harrogate. I was thinking that a country townhouse holding an 80s revival concert would also be quite a nice setting for a crime novel.