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 façade 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.