Four years ago I saw a poster in my local library advertising a talk by John Harvey, a crime writer whose books are set in Nottingham. As a fan of crime novels, (Agatha Christie, PD James, John Patterson, and Sue Grafton had been my bed partners for many years), I was both intrigued and interested. Why had I not heard of this author before?
A Nottingham Crime Writer. I knew I had to go. Five minutes later I was leaving Angel Row library with my ticket safely stored in my purse. The date was 2nd March 2011, I know because I still have the ticket! Yes, I’m aware of how sad I am, but this was one of those epiphany moments.
On the day of the talk I left work at dinner time, and walked the short distance to the library. I had never been to an author talk before so I was not sure what to do. I sat near the back of the room, ready to make a swift exit if I didn’t like it. I needn’t have bothered I was transfixed. It was brilliant, I even asked a question, but I can’t remember what it was now. John spoke about places I knew, and made me laugh with his anecdotes. I was a little disappointed when I found out he wasn’t actually born in Nottingham, but, at least, his novels are based here. It was over far too soon.
I bought a copy of one of his books, and he very kindly signed it for me. We talked about writing. Many years ago I had written a novel. I never approached a publisher because it was more of a cathartic exercise after a really bad break up. I wrote short stories too, but had given up because of the number of rejections I’d received, (I didn’t realise that was a normal part of the process). I suddenly realised I missed writing.
When I went into work the next day I told my co-worker how great it had been to meet an crime writer. She told me about a festival she had attended at Harrogate. It sounded really good, so I looked it up on the website. I noticed that they also ran Creative Thursday, a creative writing day for aspiring writers. I went and it was fantastic. How many writers can say they were taught by Stuart MacBride, Alan Guthrie, and Dreda Say Mitchell. It was also at Creative Thursday that I met some very great friends, and we went on to form the Crime Warp blog, but more about that on another post.
Listening to John Harvey made me realise that I wanted to write again; I just didn’t realise how much it would change my life!
Have you had a life changing moment?