Event Alert: Get Writing! conference – Saturday 29th March 2014

Get Writing

If you’re writing a crime novel (or any genre of novel, in fact) then the annual Get Writing! conference organised by Verulam Writers Circle is well worth a visit. Taking place this year on Saturday 29th March at the University of Hertfordshire at their de Havilland Campus, there’s a jam-packed schedule aimed at everyone with an interest in writing.

The day is packed with talks, panels and practical workshops on all aspects of the creative process from idea to publication.

There’s also the chance to fast-pitch to agents and editors, or have a longer facetime session with them to discuss your work.

Workshops of special interest to aspiring crime writers are:

M R Hall (best selling crime thriller writer of many books including The Coroner, The Flight) and William Ryan (critically acclaimed author of the Captain Korolev crime series including The Holy Thief, and most recently The Twelfth Department) will be running a workshop on Constructing Character and Plot. [I attended a workshop run by them at Goldsboro Books last year – it was fantastic: practical, thought-provoking and lots of fun!]

Screenwriter and thriller writer Max Kinnings (author of fast-paced thrillers Baptism and, in 2014, Sacrifice) is running a workshop on How Studying Screenwriting can make you a Better Novelist, showing how he uses the script development model to shape a novel.

Also, there’s The Crime Panel with M R Hall, William Ryan, Max Kinnings, and fabulous thriller writer Emlyn Rees (author of action packed thrillers including Hunted, and dark psychological thrillers including That Summer He Died). And the Get Writing organisers are going to let me chair the panel!

To find out more about what promises to be a fantastic event hop on over to the Get Writing website …

Website: http://getwritingday.verulamwriterscircle.org.uk/

That Summer he Died by Emlyn Rees

cover image

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What the blurb says: On the surface, James Sawday’s got it all. An investigative journalist for a glossy men’s magazine, he gets to travel the world following adventure. And when he gets home, there’s Lucy waiting for him. Smart, funny and in love. She could even be the one. 

But when James’ editor sends him to the seaside town of Grancombe, he couldn’t have imagined what was in store. A serial killer has filled the shore with terror – the killer’s personal trophy: the victim’s hand. The third attack draws James into a world he’s spent all of his adult life trying to forget. 

Ten years before, during a hazy, drug-fuelled summer, James was one of a group of teenagers who stumbled on the mutilated corpse of local artist Jack Dawes. And then the second killing happened – the one that still gives James nightmares.

Now James has got to dig up everything he’s worked so hard to bury. And what he’s going to find out could cost him his sanity. And his life.”

This book looks beyond the traditional sea and sand getaways offered to holidaymakers, delving instead into the darker aspects of Rees’ Grancombe. The narrative alternates between James Sawday’s present – the life that he’s made for himself in London: he’s a successful journalist, has a good circle of friends and a beautiful girlfriend – and the summer he spent with his uncle ten years previously as he teetered between school and university, a summer that he’s done his best to forget.

When his editor sends James back to the place that still haunts him in his nightmares, James is determined to spend as little time as possible and speak to as few people there as he can. At first this works out well, and the article he has to write about the serial killings in the area shapes up quickly, but when he starts to connect with people from the past he finds himself sucked back into the secrets and crimes that remain unresolved and the life he has carefully built for himself begins to unravel.

Emotive and powerful, for me the question at the heart of this story is ‘what happens when a good person does bad things?’

Rees masterfully teases and hints at the horrors of the past, revealing the truth piece by piece and the tension mounts as James’ paranoia and fear escalates. High suspense and high stakes, this story reminds you that no matter how picturesque the setting, bad things can and do happen.

Rapid paced and chillingly mysterious, this is a must-read for fans of psychological thrillers.

[Thank you to C&R Crime for my kindle copy of That Summer He Died]