All good things must come to an end. It all seemed to go so quick – indicative of the jam packed schedule and the whirlwind ride that is the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival (okay, its official title has Theakstons in there somewhere too).
There were two events left and The Jingo and I attended them with a mixture of excitement and dread. We did not want this weekend to end, yet we were very keen to see what the Festival could muster up on its final day.
First, we had the very entertaining panel discussion about “What Really Gets Me Going” with the brains trust of the festival – Mark Billingham, Val McDermid and Natasha Cooper. Joining them was the very funny Christopher Brookmyre. The panel bantered on about the aspects of writing and reading crime novels that cheeses them off. They also managed to throw in a few jabs at agents, publishers and readers; all tongue in cheek and all very amusing.
After the usual half hour break, where I had three more books signed by the authors, we were into the last session (awwwwww!): an interview with Harlan Coben held by Laura Lippman. It was very interesting and entertaining - Mr Coben is a very amusing guy. The session also gave me more encouragement to get on with writing my novel. The one consistent thing that every author has said during this Festival when giving advice to budding writers has been: get on with it. Take a leap of faith and go for it! Good advice indeed.
The Festival finished with a thank you from Natasha Cooper and a round of applause in her direction for her organisation of the event. Praise was also given to the Festival organisation team who had been toiling away in the lead up to and during this big weekend.
Harlan Coben shook my hand and signed my book and then I was off! We had a rendezvous with Betty's tea rooms. It was definitely worth the twenty minute wait: chicken club sandwich for me, marinated Yorkshire lamb for The Jingo, followed by scones and tea and a lovely brown bread sundae with crushed almond macaroons and pecans. Ooh yeah.
We returned to the Crown Hotel for our bags and said our goodbyes to all that remained. The hotel was eerily quiet, although there were a few people still wandering around, trying to delay the inevitable end of the Festival and the depressing return to reality.
We caught an overcrowded train back to London with Sarah. The trip back drained the life out of us and we all started to feel the effects of the weekend, the excitement of the Harrogate Festival no longer keeping us awake. We ended up having to share floor space near a toilet that wouldn’t flush. A teenager walked around the carriage with toilet paper stuck to his foot after hiding from the ticket inspector in the men's – this kept us amused for a good part of the journey.
Finally, the train pulled into London. The Jingo and I said our goodbyes to Sarah and then headed home, tired, weighed down by books, hungry and thirsty, but with the sights and sounds of the Festival still dancing around in our heads.
Once again, it was a memorable and inspiring event.
See you next year, Harrogate!