Alongside the announcement of a new Oxford Crime Evening being hosted at Cherwell Boathouse this Thursday, came news of the impressive list of famous crime writers attending.
Cara Hunter, JP Delaney & Mick Herron will all be there at the exciting literary evening chaired by Peter Guttridge. And you can be part of it.
Famous author Cara Hunter is looking forward to meeting her fans at the event and told us what to expect.
“Everything you’ve always wanted to ask a crime writer but were afraid to ask,” she laughs!
“Where we get our ideas, how long does writing a book take, what sort of research do we do, how do you get published, do we scare our friends…. I’ve been asked all those in the past. Basically, anything goes – within reason!”
I’m such a big fan of the cherwell boathouse they’ve started teasing me that they’re going to get me a room so I don’t have to bother going home! Once last week I ended up being there for lunch and dinner. Not that I’m complaining, of course – it was their champagne tasting evening….
Cara is the author of In the Dark, published by Penguin Books this year and Close to Home, and lives and works in Oxford, having studied for a degree and PhD in English literature at Oxford University.
So does she like being interviewed? “I do! It takes a bit of getting used to, but a really good interviewer (and Peter Guttridge is a great one) will turn it into more of a conversation.
“If you can get that conversation going across the whole panel then that’s even better. After all, all writers face very similar challenges, and if you’re working in broadly the same genre then that’s even more obviously the case. A good interviewer will also manage to ask you something that makes you think – a new angle or something quirky that has you stumped for a moment – that’s always fun for the audience too!”
What stands out right now is the volume and quality of the crime that’s being written. And so much of that is by women too, which is fantastic
As they are all local, presumably she knows the other writers well?
“I know JP well – we’ve done quite a few of these evenings together now, so we’ve started to tease each other that we know all each other’s jokes! I don’t know Mick quite so well, but I have met him a few times. A lot of my friends rave about his books so I was really pleased he could make it to the Boathouse.”
I’ve heard that Cara is a big fan of the Cherwell Boathouse too? “I love the place. I’m such a big fan they’ve started teasing me that they’re going to get me a room so I don’t have to bother going home! Once last week I ended up being there for lunch and dinner. Not that I’m complaining, of course – it was their champagne tasting evening….”
Hosted in association with Penguin Books and Blackwell’s, the evening begins with canapés and drinks from 7pm to 7.30pm, in this time books from all the authors will be available to purchase, followed by a panel discussion chaired by Peter Guttridge from 7.30pm to 8.30pm.
Afterwards there will be a book signing for guests by all the authors in attendance.
So why does Cara think these evenings work so well?
“Crime and wine – what’s not to like? Seriously though, it’s a nice relaxed atmosphere, people get to ask questions of authors they know, and discover one or two they might not. And, of course, most writers just love talking about their books.”
“I’ll probably talk most about No Way Out as that’s the most recent. It’s the third Adam Fawley novel and starts with a serious house fire in North Oxford. In fact, it’s set only a few streets away from the Boathouse, so I guess it doesn’t get much more local than that. And the first book, dear old Close to Home, is still doing really well – it just passed the half million mark, which just blows my mind.”
Has crime always been this popular or is it having a renaissance at the moment?
“I think Agatha Christie started a trend we’re all still benefiting from, both as writers and readers. What stands out right now is the volume and quality of the crime that’s being written. And so much of that is by women too, which is fantastic.
“I get sent literally heaps of crime books these days (one of the best perks of the job) and I’m constantly amazed at how good most of them are. It’s a second Golden Age of crime.
Reading and writing aside, is it nice to get away from the writing for a bit and go and meet fellow authors and of course her fan? “There’s no better tonic. I love talking to readers – both in person and online. If the work-in-progress is playing up, there’s no better way to recharge your batteries than to talk to people who’ve enjoyed something you’ve written. It’s both exhilarating and humbling at the same time.
As for being a local, does living in a literary city like Oxford help the creative juices flow?
“Oxford is a great city to write in for all sorts of reasons. From a purely technical point of view, it’s hugely helpful to live in the city you write about, not least because you can literally ‘walk the crime’ and check all those vital details like how long it takes to get from one place to another, and whether you can do it by bus – I kid you not – I had to do that for my new book All The Rage which is coming out in January.
“But one of the main reasons Oxford is such a good place for writers is the sheer number of them you find here! You run into each other all the time, you go to each other’s events and become friends, and if there was ever any danger of your ego getting out of hand, there’s always someone in the room more famous than you!”
“We hope to see as many of those familiar faces as possible and new faces alike!”
Tickets – £15(includes glass of bubbly on arrival & canapés)