Mama Always Said Crimefest Was Like A Box Of Chocolates

Added on 19 May 2011

Crimefest starts today in Bristol. I'm up for two panels tomorrow morning. One of those rare occasions when I get let out in public and everyone nods sagely and understands why I don't do it more often. I'll have that internal monologue going that says, 'Now remember, when someone asks you a question, don't just say, 'I dunno'...'

I don't think I've been released into the wild since my appearance before an audience of over a hundred Serbs in Kraljevo in 2004. The town is situated not too far from Kosovo in an area that saw a fair amount of military activity from NATO in 1999. I was introduced as having worked for NATO in the 90's, which was true. While working at NATO HQ in Brussels I didn't press any buttons or make any decisions or anything - indeed I made tea and did the photocopying - but that was just nuance. It was an uncomfortable experience. First question asked from the crowd: Can you justify Britain's bombing of Belgrade in 1944 and 1999? That was beyond my pay grade. I haven't been seen in public since.

First panel tomorrow is at 9am:

Father Goose: Unusual Job For A Sleuth with Suzette Hill, Roz Southey, Rebecca Tope and Christine Poulson. I'm a late addition to this panel, covering for a withdrawal, brought off the subs bench on the basis that the hero of my crime novels isn't a detective of any sort. Barney's not really a sleuth, more of a Bloke Who Has Bad Shit Happen Wherever He Goes. Still, there aren't too many barbershop death junky crime series out there, so I should at least have novelty on my side.

Second panel is at 11:20am:

I Was A Male War Bride: Confessions of a Crime Fiction Author with Steve Mosby, Helen Fitzgerald, Chris Ewan and Donna Moore. This sounds a bit more abstract, with lots of winging it and making shit up. Oh, I'm good at that...Each of the authors for this one had to write the opening paragraph of a story involving animals. I'll put mine up here tomorrow after the event.

When that's all done I'll be coming home and crawling back into my Anti Public-Appearance Coffin.