Monday, 16 October 2017

A Tribute part 2 - Helen Cadbury - Crime Panel

Hi guys

In a follow up to the previous post which was a tribute to author Helen Cadbury I thought I would re-use a post which I wrote for the 2015 Cleckheaton Literature Festival.

Both festivals had Helen who not only chaired the panels but also answered the questions.
Both panels featured fellow authors Leigh Russell and Alison Taft.
So without further ado these are their thoughts on writing.

L-R  Helen Cadbury,  Alison Taft, Leigh Russell 

Helen both asked and answered the following:
How did your writing journey begin?
Alison Taft –   Always inspired to write from an early age. Harriet the Spy was one of her favourite books.  She remembers one of her English teachers who everyone feared bringing her own story to read and everyone wanted her to finish the story.  Always kept a journal on her and after leaving a few jobs in her twenties wanted to be a writer.   This was put back as in her thirties needed life saving operation and her child’s life was saved.  Then decided to stop messing about and started first novel.
Leigh Russell –  Never intended to be a writer but loved books.  When young walked into a library and thought it was fantastic. Is worried about our children as they go for tablets and Kindles and they not as good as physical books.                                      Went to University got Masters Degree in University and became an English teacher although started writing late in life.  Got the idea for a novel when she saw a man on a path acting suspicious and imagination took hold wondering “what if she saw a body? ”
The idea of a man killing women took hold and wanted to know what makes people kill.  Wrote the story in six weeks, printed out and posted to Agents and Publishers.  Two weeks later had a call from publishers and signed a three book deal with No Exit Press.  Although she has recently released her tenth book with the publisher and signed a new three book deal.
Helen Cadbury – Also started writing quite late as started her career in acting.  Between acting jobs went on a Poetry course.  In 2004/5 was working freelance in Theatre.  In her free time went to an Adult Education Fair and went to pick up a leaflet on a chainsaw course. She saw a Creative writing course held by York poet Carol Bromley.
Helen went on to complete an MA at Sheffield Hallam University.   Wrote first draft of her debut novel in York.  Was fascinated about people going missing.
Is it natural for women to write Crime? What is appeal? 
LR – When started writing wrote for herself. The Detective character was originally male although changed character to a woman as women more interested in people and relationships.  Also when writing the killers character tends not to analyse being in a killers mind.  Leigh admits she can’t go a day without writing.   Also is not sure whether she would write another genre other than crime.  Admits Literary writers look down on crime writers.  Shakespeare is the best crime writer of all time.
AT – Thinks we read as we are looking for answers and crime has more questions about life.  Alisons first book is about looking for a missing father – she didn’t expect there to be a series.  We need to know why people go missing.
LR – Leigh thinks however disturbing crime is in a book  there is a resolution yet sometimes in real life there isn’t.
HC – Red Riding Hood is one of the earliest crime novels.  On a panel in York for Writers in Motherhood they wrote good suspense thrillers as they had daily anxiety with babies.
Reading – The Panel read extracts from their novels. 
LR – Read from her novel Cut Short. Her debut Geraldine Steel novel.  The section read was where the serial killer was known to the reader and main character.   Leigh trys to make her books believable.   As a crime writer need to play with readers expectations.
AT – Read from her manuscript her unpublished forth novel in the Lily Appleyard series where the main character opens a Missing Persons Bureau.  Admits the first time she read out to audience was at Otley literaturefestival.
HC – Read from her laptop a snippet if her second novel Bones in the Nest which is out in July. She has opened with the novel in first person instead of third to try get into someone else’s head.
Myself and the audience enjoyed and relished the pages read and all hope to read the rest later.
How did you get published? What’s your writing process?
LR – Wrote first book for herself.  When first novel was sent out had to do alot of editing.  Had to take out a lot of material.  Editor advised to take out anything not needed. She got a third through the book and wondered how she was going to finish it. Leigh wasn’t taking it seriously when she sent it off had no idea it would get published.  Admits didn’t plan series enough at the beginning and would have had a younger DS Steel.  Has written eight in DS Steel series so far plus two DI Ian Peterson novel spin offs.  Thinking of writing twenty in DS Steel series.
Now writes two books a year and loves writing.  If she ever lost the excitement of writing and reading would stop as wouldn’t be fun.
HC – Like LR wrote too much for first book had to take alot out and depressing as had to take what written out.  Main character in twenties so if keep writing character will out live her.
Wasn’t sure how to finish first novel.  “To Catch a Rabbit” won the Northern Crime Panel award where winner got published.  Publishers wanted to know more about book and characters so made synopsis up within thirty minutes.
The genre is widening at the moment.
LR – Has a rough idea of the end and how to get there. Got to trust yourself as a writer.  Crime fiction is plot driven have to put clues in but difficult keeping one step ahead of readers. Agatha Christie changed killer halfway through her books.
Do characters disturb you?
AT – No as not real.
LR – No not real.
HC – No saw more as taught in a prison.
Areas you wouldn’t go to in writing? 
LR – Wouldn’t kill a child in the books. Be too upsetting like in real crime.  Crime is moving towards horror as some crime books are too shocking plus too squeamish.  If writing about someone going missing would think of the family and their fears.
HC – Wouldn’t write about anyone in the prison or use a real story for a story.  Already written about some things she didn’t think she would.
Overall – A great evening for the audience,  fans of crime fiction,  the authors and the library.  Was a great insight into the minds of three crime authors at the top of their game and there was some great advice for would be authors (like myself).

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