The Crime Time event at the Vancouver International Writers Festival was fantastic. I sat onstage with four great crime writers: Ian Rankin, Peter Robinson, Stuart MacBride and Denise Mina. Ian, Stuart and Denise are all from Scotland and since my family is partly comes from the Shetland Islands, I wondered out loud in the green room before the event, if I could be considered Scottish. Nope, said the three Scots firmly. "Just a bunch of marauding Vikings," said world-wide bestseller, Ian Rankin.
Onstage, the banter continued as the four of us talked about writing, crime fiction, etc. There were 450 or more people in the audience, and as we were introduced, I felt a bit nervous. As per usual for this size of crowd, we could only see the first three rows. The rest were in darkness but you could feel their presence. So for a moment, I worried I would mess up. But as soon as my turn came to speak first, I slipped into my onstage ex-punk rock drummer, now bigtime writer mode and had fun. Peter Robinson did a fantastic job as the moderator, keeping us on track and asking some fantastic questions. Denise was brilliant and hilarious poking fun at Ian for not reading Tolstoy while also jabbing Stuart for living in Aberdeen. Stuart was also quite funny and erudite jabbing back. Ian was a little more deadpan, but still had a lot to say about the place of crime fiction in the world of the novel. It seems that if Ian Rankin wants to learn about a culture, I mean really learn about a culture, he reads its crime fiction first. Excellent point. Lots of stuff was also said and though I was initially concerned about my place on the panel, I held my own and made a lot of new fans, even including those who shared the stage with me.
Here's a photo of me, Peter and Stuart after the event. No picture of me with Denise or with Ian but they were very busy signing books and talking to fans.