evseymour

Word on the Wire

Month: April, 2016

OBSESSION- MOI?

A couple of days ago, I finished the fourth novel for the panel on which I’m moderating for Crimefest. I’ll be honest, having never moderated anything other than rows between my five offspring, I was slightly concerned with – scrap that, obsessed with – doing the best job I could. Not for me simply cruising through websites or mugging up on reviews. I genuinely felt I needed to read the authors’ most recent work to get a handle on who they are, how they write and what they have to say if I were to stand any chance of asking interesting questions (rather than asking the obvious). Once I’d made that decision I do as most people do when confronted with something they have never done before: I phoned a friend. Who better person to turn to than highly experienced writer and moderator, Anne Zouroudi. Two of her tips immediately stuck in my brain: ‘When you read the novels make notes,’ and ‘Write more questions than you ever think you’ll need’. There was a whole lot of other stuff in Crimefest’s Moderators’ Manifesto, too, including the exhortation to ‘Relax’. Are they serious?! Anyway, the truth is, so far, it’s been a treat to do the spadework, which actually felt nothing more taxing than choosing which gorgeous plants to put in the garden, no expense spared.

With the title of the panel firmly in mind: ‘Obsession: A Thin Line Between Good and Bad,’ I steamed through ‘You’ by Caroline Kepnes, ‘What Remains’ by Tim Weaver, ‘Betty Boo’ by Claudia Pineiro and ‘Rebound’ by Aga Lesiewicz. Each book is quite distinct in style and approach and, if you haven’t already read one or all, I highly recommend you do so. And no, I’m not going to spill the shout lines other than to say obsession creeps in, in one form or another.

So all that remains is for me to craft a mighty list of questions and then ensure everyone gets a fair shout on the day. My intention is to make the experience for writers and audience as entertaining as humanly possible. It goes without saying that, if you can grab an opportunity to see us in action, we appear on Saturday 21st May at 11.20 a.m.

If this isn’t enough to whet your appetite, I’ll also be participating in ‘Morality, Justification, Excuses and Reasons – Shades of Grey in Crime Fiction’ with Hugh Fraser, Emma Kavanagh, Colin Winette and participating moderator, Kevin Wignall on Friday 20 May at 14.50 pm.

Crimefest is held at the Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel, and runs from 19-22 May. Don’t miss it!

 

 

 

 

 

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RADIO GAGA

Radio interviews are brilliant ways to promote books so it’s no surprise that when a book is released, authors flock to the airwaves. And I’m no exception even if it rates as the most hair-raising experience. Search me why this particular form of publicity holds so many terrors, but, for me, it does. I guess I worry that my brain will freeze, that I’ll become inarticulate, lose the thread, or be unable to field a question. Persuading myself that it was character building as well as good publicity for ‘Beautiful Losers’, it was in this steely frame of mind I entered BBC Radio Gloucestershire’s shiny and welcoming station last Friday.   (All kudos to Paula).

I’ve done a fair few interviews over the years. Once, I did six back to back in an afternoon, but I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I’ve never engaged in an interview with such a knowledgeable and interested presenter. Did we have fun?  Yes, we did.

Most show hosts simply don’t have the time to read more than the press release. No wonder with the volume of guests travelling in and out of the studio in an average week. Yet Nicky Price had actually read 155 pages in a matter of days, the magic words ‘page-turning’ and ‘chilling’ inserted into the introduction before I had time to draw breath. As nerve-settlers, this is as good as it gets.   And then, of course, it didn’t hurt that BBC Radio Gloucestershire has a ‘walk-on’ part in the novel when my main character, clinical psychologist, Kim Slade is involved in a radio phone-in programme to discuss eating disorders.

But what really worked for me was that I was able to discuss the themes that mattered with someone who understood what I was driving at. I had a forum in which to promote the idea that none of us are immune from crumbling under pressure given the right amount of stress and confrontation. One might expect an intelligent clinical psychologist to out-psyche a stalker. Except human beings are complex creatures and, in a tight corner, not of all of us behave in a way anticipated or even hoped for.   In this regard, Kim Slade, with all her experience and expertise, proves that terrified people will often behave in strange ways.

You can still catch the interview if you tune into ‘Listen Again’ on BBC Radio Gloucestershire with Nicky Price on April 1st. ‘Beautiful Losers’ is discussed at the very beginning of the show.