Which sort of gives you a clue that I didn’t really, doesn’t it?

I’m just back from Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime  Writing festival in Harrogate, and trying to work out why I came home feeling I hadn’t really got as much from the experience as I’d expected.

It was my first visit, and a bit of a last-minute decision, but the line-up of speakers looked fantastic, so I booked as many sessions as I could … and that, I think, was my first mistake. I knew the festival was huge, but I hadn’t realised just how huge. By the end of the Friday, I was shattered! So if you’re planning a trip next year, pace yourself – the venue is small, and there are queues for everything, even the loos. Particularly the loos …

Also, if you’re a newbie writer like me, you’re in a slightly weird position, particularly if your book isn’t out yet. Should you be putting yourself about, lurking in the bar and steeling yourself to talk to those established writers you’ve always been in awe of?

Well yes, frankly. But if you’re not a party animal or blessed with masses of self-confidence, you’re going to find it really difficult. If you tell them how much you love their books, will you come over like a crazed fan-girl/potential stalker person? Or, hopelessly star-struck, say the first inane thing that comes into your head?  Or you could always bottle out and hide behind the potted plant … but that’s really not going to make it much of a fun evening for anyone, is it?

So maybe all you need to do is remember why you’re there. And that’s to enjoy the experience –  in whatever way works best for you.

Like I said, this was my first Harrogate. But I have a feeling it won’t be my last.

See you there next year?