I've enjoyed an eventful year in 2018. It's also been event-full, as I've found myself in all sorts of interesting places talking about crime fiction. Tallinn, Iceland, Washington DC, St Petersburg, Florida, and New York City, for instance. To say nothing of Guernsey, Jersey, Woking, a fascinating church in Soho, a gorgeous library in Highgate, and places closer to home such as Hawarden, Kirby Lonsdale, and Lancaster. And on Saturday the curtain came down on the year's calendar of speaking events, at the Blue Cap Hotel in Sandiway in Cheshire.
It's a long time since I was last at the Blue Cap, a historic pub and restaurant dating back to the early eighteenth century. In particular, I remember a poignant lunch there with my mother, when I was twenty-two, and my father was desperately ill; thankfully, he recovered and lived another fourteen years. I couldn't help thinking back to that occasion when I turned up to deliver a crime writing workshop organised by Vale Royal Writers' Group. And I was glad that my return to the Blue Cap proved to be convivial and enjoyable.
It's the third writing workshop I've presented this year, although the others were less than half a day long, and so this time we were able to cover more ground. It's always enjoyable to talk to and spend time with fellow writers, and this is true whether or not they are already published - in fact, as at previous workshops, some of those attending had already published or self-published novels. The range of different ideas that come up in response to some of the writing exercises is always fascinating.
In the 1980s, years before I published my first novel, I was a member of a writers' group on the Wirral, and I also attended some meetings and seminars run by Southport Writers. I found all this experience rewarding, and I'd encourage any of you who are interested in writing to check out your local groups. As for conducting workshops, I didn't have much experience of them before this year, and thus I'm still learning, but I have been greatly heartened by the feedback. A few days ago I received an email from someone who attended my Guernsey writing workshop in spring whose first novel is now out, and to get this sort of happy news is truly delightful. So when time permits, I hope to conduct more workshops in the future, and if this is of interest to you or your local group, do let me know.