CrimeFest 2012 - Debut Author Panel (26-05-12)

It was a great honour to be asked to moderate the Debut Authors panel at this years’ CrimeFest in Bristol. There were plenty of compliments in how interest the panel was and how the authors kept the interest of the attendees throughout the time we were allocated. I felt the time flew by and we could have had even longer to discuss other points not covered. However, I had a great time and was pleased that the Debut Authors panel was populated with such a high calibre of writers new to the crime fiction field. Thankfully, I enjoyed all their books and would advise any crime fiction fan to climb on board now and enjoy the work from these fresh new crime writers.

The copy below can be found on Sarah Ward’s brilliant crime fiction website, Crimepieces.
Sarah also reviews for

Here is her take on the Debut Authors panel:

Above: (from L to R) Chris Simmons, Thomas Enger, Penny Hancock, Damien Seaman, Michael J. Malone and Claire McGowan.

From classic crime to newly published authors. The first panel of Saturday morning at CrimeFest featured five debut writers discussing their novels. Moderated by’s Chris Simmons, the eclectic panel provided a glimpse of some of the issues and themes featured in the latest crime books.

The first speaker was Thomas Enger whose first book 'Burned' was published in July last year. The novel features Henning Juul, a journalist back at work after a traumatic incident who becomes involved in investigating a murder. Burned is the first in a planned series of six books, most of which have already been plotted. Enger spoke about the importance of mapping out the structure of his books after his previous writing attempts which were more spontaneous, but in his eyes less successful.

Next to speak was Penny Hancock, whose book 'Tideline' is about a woman who abducts a teenage boy and keeps him prisoner in her home. The author explained that inspiration came partly from the guilt most mothers feel at failing their children in some way. The book focuses on the dangers that can emanate from within the home, usually considered to be a place of safety.

The third panelist was Damien Seamen whose book 'The Killing of Emma Gross' is available on Kindle. The book was inspired by the true story of a victim of Peter Kürten, the Dusseldorf Ripper in 1929. A number of serial murders took place during the Weimar Republic and the author explained his fascination with the period and the influence of the films of Fritz Lang.

Michael J Malone’s 'Blood Tears' will be released on the 6th June. His view was that the Catholic experience in Scotland hadn’t been properly addressed in crime fiction and his book, in part, addresses the abuses that took place in Catholic orphanages in the 1970s. Michael is a published poet but he explained that to maintain momentum in a crime book he needed to change the way he approached his writing.

'The Fall' by Claire McGowan is the story of three characters involved in the case of a man accused of a murder in a London nightclub. Claire explained that she had been influenced by the social divisions that exist in modern day London and wanted to reflect this in her book. Written with three narrative voices the book addresses, through the medium of a crime, the class and race divisions that polarise under pressure.

It was an excellent panel with the authors explaining the process that saw them reach publication. Most writers had written at least one manuscript that remained unpublished but the authors were divided on the extent to which the acquisition of a publishing contract had influenced their writing.

The uniting force between the books seemed to be the location of the novels, which for the most were essential elements of the narrative,
and in the case of Penny Hancock was almost a character in the book. I have both 'Blood Tears' and 'Burned' on my reading list after the panel and hope to read all of the books in the near future.

Photo supplied by Pam McIlroy of Pamreader


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