Thursday, November 18, 2010

Harrogate Crawls Onto the Web

I enjoyed seeing Sharon Canaver and Erica Morris, from the Theakstons Old Peculiar Harrogate Crime Writing Festival, at Bouchercon in San Francisco last month. I’ve been attending that wonderful English event ever since its inception in 2003, and have seen it blossom into a truly international affair. Now the Harrogate team has introduced a new Internet resource for mystery-fiction enthusiasts. Called You’re Booked, it welcomes visitors with this note:
A crime writers and readers Web site with a difference: it’s the online crime community with links to the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival--the ultimate celebration of crime fiction. Maybe it’s the symbiotic mix of great books and great beer, but let’s face it, one long weekend a year simply isn’t enough. You’re Booked aims to make the world’s best crime wave something you can experience every day, no matter where you are in the world.

You have the right to remain silent, but that would be exceedingly dull. Get involved. Contact us with your own book reviews, articles and blog posts, or tell us what else you’d like to see on the site.
You’re Booked has already posted interviews with Harrogate authors such as Lee Child, Tom Cain, Lee Weeks, Martin Edwards, and N.J. Cooper. You’ll also find there a writing blog to help aspiring crime novelists; tips from industry figures; a glimpse into what books appear on crime writers’ bookshelves; book reviews; and a section titled The Joy of Reading. In a surreal twist, You’re Booked put me at a microphone’s “furry end” for the first time, as I was quizzed about my obsessive fascination with the crime-fiction genre. Here’s an excerpt from that interview:
What has reading so much crime [fiction] and talking to so many authors taught you about the genre?

I love what I learn about life and the human condition, and yes, that sounds rather worthy I know, but books have enriched my life, made me understand some of the mad things that happen around me. They have also made me a tad paranoid, always reading about the worst excesses of human nature. Though from a positive angle, they have distracted me when life throws really difficult problems at me. They also put things in perspective. I recall having a very tough time around the time I discovered Dennis Lehane. When I put down
Darkness Take My Hand--a very dark and brutal novel, but wonderful in terms of murky morality-- ... I realized, my problems compared to what was thrown at Lehane’s private investigators, Patrick and Angie, where minuscule.
You can read that whole exchange here.

So, while you’re making plans to attend the Theakstons Harrogate Crime Writing Festival next summer (hint, hint), point your mouse over to the growing You’re Booked site to see what insights it might offer.

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