First, the town. We arrived by train on Thursday afternoon, and walked from the station to the hotel. It’s a cute little town. So cute, in fact that there were times when I felt like I was on a movie set or in a theme park. I certainly felt like I was visiting another planet when I went to Betty’s for a Yorkshire Cream Tea.
Of course, I had coffee with my Fat Rascals. Because I’m American, godammit!
Funny thing about genre conventions, is that they’re kinda like a traveling carnival. No matter where you set up the tent, it’s always the same freaks inside. So it was great to see many of my friends from Bouchercon, like Donna Moore, Russel McLean, Mark Billingham, Ali Karim, Ayo Onatade and Val McDermid. I even ran into fellow American CJ Box. Of course I met a lot of new friends too.
First and foremost among them is the ferociously talented Cathi Unsworth. I don’t even know how to begin to describe how smart and funny and fucking brilliant she is without sounding like a gushing fangirl. But seriously kids, you NEED to be reading her books. It’s that simple.
But why the hell didn’t I (or anyone else around me, apparently) get a photo of the two of us together?!? We were like an op-art installation, dressed all in black and white, her with her platinum hair with the black streak and me with my dark hair with the platinum streak. Missed the bus on that one, big time.
She and I did the Saturday readers group together, an event hosted by Martyn. Basically a bunch of people read her BAD PENNY BLUES and my MONEY SHOT and then got together to discuss them.
The discussion started off with a bang when an older lady came up to me before we even got in the door to tell me how much she hated my book. She thought it was “a bad Chandler rip-off” (Madam, I’ll have you know that I ripped off SPILLANE, not Chandler!) and that she couldn’t believe “a pretty girl like me could write something so dreadful.” (Funny, I said the same thing about Tania Carver…)
I guess I have a very thick skin, or maybe I’m just an egomaniac, but I’ve never been seriously bothered by negative reviews or comments. In this case, saying I’m ripping off Chandler is like saying I’m too tall, or too shy. As for the “pretty girls shouldn’t write nasty stuff” argument, it’s not worth the oxygen it would require to respond to that one. The bottom line is that you don’t have to like to my book. It ain’t for everyone, and I’m okay with that.
Other than the one adamant thumbs down, the readers group went really well and the bookstore sold out of all but one copy of my book. I must be doing something right…
More Harrogate adventures still to come…