Wednesday evening added another bookish event to my calendar as Waterstones Leeds held An Evening of Wine and Crime with Lesley Kara and Fiona Barton. So I persuade the lovely Sarah Hardy of By The Letter Book Reviews and Book on the Bright Side Publicity to join me and off we went.
The Waterstones bookseller (I apologise for not getting her name) gave the impression of a crime fan and made a great compère for the evening. She started off asking Lesley and Fiona about the inspiration behind their books.
Lesley Kara told us all that The Rumour was inspired on a real life rumour she heard at school gates. It made her wonder about what she’d been told and question people and houses who she passed.
Fiona Barton wanted to turn the tables on Kate and sparked by the media, how people became the story in the media. She also used her own fear of her son being in Vietnam on his gap year.
Lesley discussed her journey to publication from being a runner up in a Penguin Random House competition and despite not winning the top prize, one of the judges who was an agent wanted to sign her. The agent sold her novel, which incidentally wasn’t The Rumour (it was Who Did You Tell which is out later this year).
Fiona was a reporter by trade, so was always writing. She had the voice of The Widow in her head and entered a competition held by Richard and Judy who were looking for the next bestseller. She was shortlisted and had six months to finish the novel; also a runner up but The Widow went to auction which went to Transworld. She said the whole thing was a surreal but wonderful experience!!
A question from the audience asked if either of the ladies had advice for wanna-be crime writers.
Lesley recommended reading lots of crime novels, find out trends and what you like. She also said get into a writing group, consider a Fabre Academy course, don’t be precious about your writing, be brave to let someone read it!
Fiona stated you should write everyday, the problem with starting is the blank page – it doesn’t matter whether it’s a sentence, a paragraph or a chapter, write! She also advised not to concentrate on the genre, focus on the story and let it find the genre.
It was an interesting evening and the compère hoped it would be the first of many 🤞🤞
The Rumour – The Blurb
When single mum Joanna hears a rumour at the school gates, she never intends to pass it on. But one casual comment leads to another and now there’s no going back . . .
Rumour has it that a notorious child killer is living under a new identity, in their sleepy little town of Flinstead-on-Sea.
Sally McGowan was just ten years old when she stabbed little Robbie Harris to death forty-eight years ago – no photos of her exist since her release as a young woman.
So who is the supposedly reformed killer who now lives among them? How dangerous can one rumour become? And how far will Joanna go to protect her loved ones from harm, when she realizes what it is she’s unleashed?
Who Is Lesley Kara?
Lesley Kara is an alumna of the Faber Academy ‘Writing a Novel’ course. She lives on the North Essex coast. Her first novel is The Rumour. Who Did You Tell? is her second novel.
The Suspect – The Blurb
‘The police belonged to another world – the world they saw on the television or in the papers. Not theirs.’
When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing on their gap year in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft and frantic with worry.
Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth – and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, who she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling. This time it’s personal.
And as the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think…
Who Is Fiona Barton?
Fiona Barton’s debut, The Widow, was a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller and has been published in thirty-five countries and optioned for television. Her second novel, The Child, was a Sunday Timesbestseller. Born in Cambridge, Fiona currently lives in south-west France.
Previously, she was a senior writer at the Daily Mail, news editor at the Daily Telegraph, and chief reporter at the Mail on Sunday, where she won Reporter of the Year at the British Press Awards.
While working as a journalist, Fiona reported on many high-profile criminal cases and she developed a fascination with watching those involved, their body language and verbal tics. Fiona interviewed people at the heart of these crimes, from the guilty to their families, as well as those on the periphery, and found it was those just outside the spotlight who interested her most . . .