This is only my second visit to Theakstons Crime Festival, luckily last year I had learnt to only do a few panels... and even then when I went off, I knew I was missing out on the socialising. This year, I didn't book panels, but the last twelve months has been a whirlwind of changes.
Last year I sat and explained, I am only a reader, I don't even blog, however I am going to change that and start my blog. This year, I am there as a reader, blogger, book enthusiast, met so many authors since at local, national and international conferences/book events that saying hi and having a catch-up chat was even more fabulous.
AND, just in case you missed it I work for BLOODHOUND BOOKS helping them decided on the books we sign.
I was asked "Is coming here this year different to last, due to it being work related?"
My answer, NO, we were invited to dinner with the Bloodhoud Author's apart from that the weekend was ours to be had, for everyone involved with Bloodhound, okay apart from the official photo shoot for the Meet the Team on the Website, now Crime Fest is known to be the selfie station of events, so you can be formal, goofy or even snapchat pics with authors, but going to the official shoot was not what I was looking forward to.
However, I spent so much time with fellow authors, bloggers linked with Bloodhound and other Publishers, and meeting Kim finally from Bookouture was great.
It is so surreal to look around and see Author's who are the International/National stars.
A quick re cap for the whole event from my experience :-
Arrived, settled in, went to the bar to meet the Blog Squad and other bloggers and anyone who walked past that we knew. It was a great start to the weekend, and this was my quiet night, take it easy... okay, it didn't quite go to plan, but I didn't go to Harrogate with one.
a few cocktails later and we headed back to The Swan, where the main event of Crimefest was being held...
Home/B and B 1.15 am...
While I remember :- I stayed at the Geminian B and B on Franklin Road and I couldn't have wished for a better welcome, room or breakfast. If you are going to stay somewhere in Harrogate I highly recommend here.
Friday was kicked off with going to see Malcolm Hollingdrake, who has a series of crime books set in Harrogate, and I was excited to go along and help promote the launch of his new book Dying Art, which I had read and wanted a signed copy to add to my collection.
It was lovely to meet him and see his books in a row, I received my signed copy and a trickle of fans were soon milling around for signings too....
Then it was time to head off for the dreaded photo shoot, I tell you...you will have to wait for those though! IT actually wasn't that bad, it was the thought of posing and being serious while having your team mates awaiting there turn, the photographer was very patient....
After photo's back to the Swan, the only official duty was done...but, the Bloodhound gang are from far across the globe and we had an informal meeting at the tent, okay we were milling around all weekend, but this was a way to meet and greet if you wanted to.
It was amazing, to put names to books I had read, to meet our Author Dylan Jones, who came from America to be there!!! To chat and just mill around together, this wasn't exclusive to Bloodhound, any bloggers, readers, could come along too.
On Thursday Night, I was introduced to Heather, and we hit it off so well, we were chatting, linked up with Rob Ashman, and the whole afternoon was spent talking on and off, catching an author's eye, going asking for photo's, and a general garden party feel to the event.
We stayed around The Swan for a good while, then Timi, Rob, Heather and I went off for dinner, we found an amazing curry house, unfortunately I don't know the name, but it is well rated on trip advisor, and I shall come back and amend. I ordered a delicious dinner, that was so hot my face was turning red the more I ate...much to the amusement of the others. We did have ideas of clubbing, that soon got knocked on the head and we went back to our respective places to sleep off the curry and drinks.
I actually can't believe we gelled so well and I know Timi and I know each other, but anyone looking on would have thought we had been friends for years, so thank you so much for an amazing sedate, but fun dinner.
Woke up to torrential rain that looked like it was set up for the day... I am sure the whole crowd of Crime fest goers looked in aghast, wondering how to get from A to B - B = the beer tent!!! luckily, it eased off by 11 am and we had glorious sunshine the rest of the day.
I do think the weather played a part on a different feel to Harrogate Crime fest, it wasn't as chilled out, mooching on the grass, eyes closed, but it did mean while you were standing and milling around you were more inclined to interact with others! So how amazing is that...
I really had a great day on Saturday, chilling out and meeting up with author's I had met before and just well after watching Timi finallyI get the Selfie bug and snap away! as you can see...
Then on to Bloodhound Dinner, when invited and the stipulation, if you have something else to do you don't have to come along was given, I hadn't by the way, but it wouldn't have been a contest. The restaurant was ideal, for food choices, drinks, service and we couldn't have gone to a better place.
So a bit thank you to Betsy and Fred for organising, and to the lovely author's that put up with my snapchat filter photo's... Rob Sinclair, not added, but not burned!
As you can see I hadn't had enough of snapchat so we headed back to The Swan where I found some more victims.
I had a great time yet again milling around the Beer Tent and chatting to Amanda Jennings, Tammy Cohen, et al...there was a group of them and they welcomed me to sit and chat for a while.
As much as it is lovely to have the pictures with Lee Child's, Rowan Coleman. I love spending my time with great authors that are happy to be there to talk to there readers in more in depth and having met them before it is always an honour to be invited to catch up with them.
I will admit to flagging a bit, and wanting to go, but Tara Lyon's new book was being published, so I stayed, and celebrated with her, she has come a long way in a year too and it really was a pleasure to be able to be there for her.
The night did last until 2.30! it was all drawing to an end, we were shattered, but we weren't quite ready to leave the fabulous atmosphere.
My friend Timi had a long drive back to Manchester at 5.30 am, to then catch a flight out to Hungary, so we finally, gave in gracefully...or not, headed to the kebab shop, as Rob really needed a curry!!! and there wasn't one open.
I woke up, tired, and packed up my weekend of books, fun, and headed up to The Swan, just to see who was about and say goodbye to the remaining few...there were still events going on.
It was with a sad heart to leave, but very, very tired....and the sign of a great weekend is not wanting to leave, but really knowing real life is calling and you know what, you really do want to go back. I just didn't want to leave the people, the atmosphere and the fun...
Come to Harrogate Crime Festival and you take away so much, but you do have to put in to it.
If you are a quieter soul, if you are shy, you can be, if you are loud and want a drink and meet everyone, you can do your best to do so.... me, I am friendly, bubbly, but also quiet...so it was a great balance of meeting up with bloggers, authors, and cementing another layer of friendship. it meant the people that I talk to online become my "real normal friends", eh...Heather!
Sunday, was worth going to just chill, have a coffee and say bye....
next year I am investing in sunglasses regardless of weather!!! regardless if I can focus!
was this year better than last? Yes, different, but yes for so many different reasons... was spending time with BHB work, no....I would have gone to Harrogate Crime Fest to meet author's and talking about their books/work so no.
Did I get to talk to other author's? yes, I got to as said chat to author's I had met previously or had connections with friends.... what have I come away with? Tiredness, omg, so tired, but smiling, smiling at the memories, and friends... I made new real life friends and I can't wait to go back and see them and hoping to see some before next July...roll on Harrogate 2018!