So, days after moving house I spent the weekend volunteering and attending events at Bloody Scotland in Stirling.
The weekend kicked off in style with the announcing of the winner of the McIlvanney prize (Denise Mina) and then with a torchlight procession from Stirling castle to the Albert Halls.
As a volunteer I was positioned about halfway down the route so was able to get an amazing view of the procession as it came down the street. All the volunteers were also offered the opportunity, as we made up the rear of the procession, to carry a torch of our own (something we never expected). This made an already impressive experience even more amazing and was the perfect way to start the weekend. I headed home after this as I had an early start the next morning.
On Saturday I had the pleasure of working two events. One was with C.L. Taylor, Sarah Pinborough and Clare Mackintosh who were a joy to listen to and were an excellent panel. The conversation flowed well and I couldn’t believe all 3 of them had only met the night before!
The second panel was Catriona McPherson, C.F. Peterson and Michael Ridpath. This was a fascinating hour in which all three authors discussed detting their writing in villages and remote places rather than the cities of Scotland such as Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Shift over I whizzed off to one of the other venues to catch Peter May in discussion with Lin Anderson.
I’ve seen Peter May talk before but it was a pleasure to hear him again. This time he discussed his Enzo series, the fact that all of the publishers in the country turned down The Blackhouse when it was sent to them and becoming a French citizen amongst other topics. All in all a fascinating and entertaining hour.
After that it was time for a quick lunch before more of Lin Anderson, this time with Ragnar Jonasson and Thomas Enger. (And the news that Scotland won the Bloody Scotland football match 6-3!!)
During this hour we heard a lullaby that Thomas Enger’s Henning Juul character composed for his unborn son and a lot of discussion about setting novels in countries which get little, if any, daylight in the winter months. It was another excellent panel and I ended up leaving with a copy of Lin Anderson’s new book simply for asking Ragnar where his inspiration for the character of Ari Thor came from.
A shorter day today. First I went to the Denise Mina and Liz Nugent event.
I missed the beginning of this due to watching Mo Farah win the Great North Run but it was still interesting nonetheless. It was fascinating to hear Denise Mina talking about the people in her latest book, The Long Drop, and her concerns about the book itself. Hearing about the inspiration for Liz Nugent’s, Lying in Wait (a stunning novel), was equally fascinating and added a little more depth to the novel itself.
After that it was back to work where I had a surreal few minutes in a minibus-taxi with the panelists on the next panel and the lovely Karen Sullivan. Bloody Scotland allows some authors to pitch their novels to publishers in the hope of getting a deal or, at least, a bit more exposure. This next panel was some of the results of that pitch opportunity from the past few years.
Steph Broadribb, Jospeh Knox and Matt Wesolowski have all had books published as a result of taking part in pitch perfect. I was already aware of them having read Deep Down Dead and had the pleasure of meeting Jospeh Knox at my book group a few months ago but it was fascinating to hear their stories of what happened after they had pitched their novels and how they got from that to being the published authors they are now.
My last and final event of the day was working on the Chris Brookmyre event.
Chris spoke for the whole hour (apart from audience questions). There was an extract from his new book, out in November called Places in the Darkness which sounds like a mix of science fiction and crime and is set on a space station orbiting Earth. While quite different from his usual books this one does sound intriguing and may possibly bring him a host of new fans.
That was the end of my weekend and what an ending it was. Bloody Scotland is back slightly later next year on 21st September and I, for one, can’t wait. See you then!!