What? There are events for fans of crime fiction? And you can meet crime writers? Impossible! How come all this fun was going on while I was tapping the days away in my writer's cave?
After booking tickets for Bristol's Crime fest, I was counting down the days till that weekend in May. It was fantastic.
Dissecting crime stories and characters, exploring narratives and asking intriguing questions, a crime quiz and visiting a forensic crime scene were extremely insightful. Who'd know it's fingermarks, not fingerprints that criminals leave behind. And don't get me started on ear prints!
I came back home equipped with some great advice on writing crime & thriller, not to mention a suitcase full of new books, signed by their authors. Turns out crime writers are very witty people.
And yes, there were selfies. How can you not?
My second one was Bloody Scotland, a bit smaller, less international, yet definitely worth visiting. If you consider going, bring a big suitcase - every panel comes with a free book.
There's more - once you start looking for crime writing festivals, they pop up everywhere: Harrogate International Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Noirwich Crime writing festival and Killer weekend, organised by Killer Women.
The only trouble is, once you start going, it's easy to get hooked. If you're thinking of visiting your first crime writing festival, check out these tips.