DON’T MISS: Bestselling Crime Writers auctioned in CLIC Sargent Charity Auction!

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Over sixty authors are taking part in this year’s Get in Character eBay auction, an annual fundraiser organised by CLIC Sargent, which provides support for children and young people affected by cancer.

The auction started on Thursday 25th February and runs for ten days ending at 8pm on Sunday 6th March (so there’s still time to bid!) and lots of fab crime writers are taking part by donating meet-and-greet experiences, signed book bundles and the chance to have a character named after you (or a loved one) in their upcoming books.

Crime Writer Simon Kernick

Simon Kernick

You can bid to have afternoon tea with Mark Billingham, Amanda Jennings and Clare Mackintosh; or to have lunch at ROKA with Simon Kernick and Belinda Bauer.

Or, if you’d like to have a character named after you (or a loved one) you can bid to be part of upcoming books from the following authors: Alex Shaw, Ali McNamara, Anthony McGowan & Jo Nadin, Anouska Knight, Catherine Alliott, Clare Donoghue, Denise Mina, Elly Griffiths, Emma Donoghue, Emma Hannigan, Holly Martin, Jane Fallon, Jodi Taylor, Julie Cohen, Kate Ellis, Katie Fforde, Katy Regan, Lisa Jewell, Luca Veste, Lucy Clarke, Paula Hawkins, Renee Knight, Roger Ellory, Santa Montefiore, Sara Gruen, Sarah Hilary, Sarah Morgan, Simon Kernick, Stephen Edgar, Steve Robinson, Tim Weaver, Tammy Cohen.

Since it was launched in 2014 the auction has raised more than £18,000 for CLIC Sargent – the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people, and their families, who provide financial, practical, emotional and clinical support to help them cope with cancer and get the most out of life. For more information visit www.clicsargent.org.uk

And to find out more about all the great things you can bid on, check out the auction at www.clicsargent.org.uk/getincharacter

Confessions from CrimeFest: Part Three

Mark Billingham interviewed by Martyn Waites

Mark Billingham interviewed by Martyn Waites

And so onto Saturday!

First up, I headed to the 9am panel Name Your Price: The Hired Gun. Moderated by Meg Gardiner, with panellists Mason Cross, Hanna Jameson, John Gordon Sinclair, and Mark Allen Smith, the panel discussed the attraction of the ‘hired gun’ as protagonist, the mystery surrounding the character that rides into town, sorts out the problem, then disappears again, and the joys (and challenges) of writing them.

Next, I headed to the lounge to interview Mason Cross, author of The Killing Season and creator of the rather mysterious Carter Blake. It was a fun interview to do – watch this blog for the write-up coming soon.

After a leisurely lunch with friends, I headed to one of the main events of the weekend – Featured Guest of Honour: Mark Billingham interviewed by Martyn Waites. Both wearing fabulous western shirts that I’m sure Mark Billingham’s series character, Tom Thorne, would have been proud of, they took to the stage for a lively and entertaining interview covering everything from Mark’s books, the future of police procedurals, Thorne’s taste in music (it changed quite dramatically between the first book and the second) and even dachshund detectives!

Then it was on to the Arcadia Books Reception complete with tasty wine in beautiful Bristol Blue Glass glasses, followed by the Gala Awards Dinner. It was a fabulous evening with the merriment continuing way into the early hours of Sunday morning.

On Sunday I had a hangover, and it was a big one, which meant I didn’t get up very early! But I did make it along to the last event of the festival, Criminal Mastermind with Quiz Master Maxim Jakubowski interrogating contestants: Mason Cross (specialist subject Lee Child), Kate Ellis (specialist subject Josephine Tey), Paul Johnston (specialist subject Dashiell Hammett) and Susan Moody (specialist subject Raymond Chandler). It was great fun playing along in the audience, but the general crime fiction questions in the second round were seriously hard! In the end Paul Johnston was victorious.

And then the weekend was over.

As ever I was determined to resist the festival book shop – my ever multiplying ‘to be read’ pile already stretches across several rooms of the house! But, as usual, I was unable to resist the papery lure of the all those fabulous looking books, and over the weekend bought several bags full.

Authors whose books I’ve added to my mountainous ‘to be read’ pile are: Simon Kernick, Helen Giltrow, Nev Fountain, Tom Wood, Kevin Wignall, Tanya Carver, and Kate Griffin. Along with the latest books of a few of my favourite authors including Mark Billingham (The Bones Beneath), Meg Gardiner (The Shadow Tracer), and a signed copy of The Killing Season by Mason Cross.

All in all, it was a fabulously fun weekend.

Now I’m off to book my ticket for next year!