As I write this, I am 15 minutes away from catching the tube to Kings Cross station where I will hop on an overland to Harrogate. It's hard to believe a year has gone by but its that time again - time for the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival.
When The Jingo and I went to the festival last year, we didn't know what to expect. What we got was two full days of seminars, interviews and discussions with some of the UK's leading crime writers including Ian Rankin, Mark Billingham and John Harvey. This year, we are going for the full festival and there are just as many, if not more, big names to entertain us.
I am travelling there today in preparation for tomorrow's Creative Thursday - a full day of tutorials covering such topics as Plot, Setting, Inventing People, Writing and Selling - a kind of prelude to the actual festival. The tutorials are presented by big names in the industry including Simon Kernick, Natasha Cooper and Greg Mosse. I am really looking forward to this day, especially given I have started my novel and any extra help is well received. I think the highlight will be listening to real publishers and editors speak about how to sell your work.
The Jingo arrives on Thursday evening, just in time for the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year presentation and the Festival's Opening Party. A few beverages will be consumed, no doubt.
The next three days after that are filled with interviews and discussions covering all aspects of crime writing, held and participated by the big names in the industry, including Stuart MacBride, Val McDermid, Lee Child, Frederick Forsyth, Harlan Coben and lots, lots more. The ever approachable Mark Billingham will be there, as well as the Festival Programming Chair, the lovely Natasha Cooper. Many, many stories to be told and talked about over four magnificent days.
During the hectic schedule, I will also be having my 20 minute one-on-one session with Greg Mosse, discussing my treatment and my novel. Something I am really looking forward to.
Harrogate also has lots to offer in terms of food - The Jingo and I will definitely be partaking of the local delicacies - especially tea at Betty's!
I will be offline over the Festival, but look out for my day by day summaries that I will prepare on location and post retrospectively here.
For those who will be there, I look forward to meeting you "off-line" for the first time, knocking back a few beers and talking about all things criminal.
This is the highlight of my year and I can't wait to get there!