© Ayo Onatade (L-R) Ann Zouroudi. Jeffrey Siger, Thomas Mogford, Mari Hannah &; Steven Dunne
After making sure that I ate enough to carry me through the next couple of hours I disappeared back up to my room to finish off my first blog post. The result of this meant that I missed the first panels which were Debut Authors: An Infusion of Fresh Blood and It’s not Real Life, you Know: Are our Characters Us, which was a shame as I bumped into Leigh Russell at breakfast who intimated that she would have an exclusive to share during the panel. I think it is something to do with a television series but if anyone can say anymore then please do share.
The first panel that I managed to attend was Murder knows no Boundaries, which was an interesting, panel featuring Mari Hannah, Steven Dunne, Thomas Mogford, Jeffrey Siger and participating moderator Anne Zouroudi. Panel members brought an artefact with them to explain their boundary. Thomas Mogford brought a dictionary, which set him off on his writing and also introduced him to the Gibraltarian dialect. He also explained later that it was a chance visit that sent him to Gibraltar as a friend wanted to learn Spanish so that he could go to Brazil but he ended up joining him on a road trip around Spain instead and they made it to Gibraltar. Thomas also pointed out that there were more lawyers per capita in Gibraltar than anywhere else. Jeffrey Siger did not bring an artefact but brought an anecdote instead. His books look at contemporary issues in Greece. He explained that the beauty of Greece is that you do not know what you are going to get.
Mari Hannah pointed out that crimes committed in the north were no different than crimes committed elsewhere. She also stated that you had a responsibility to paint a picture of where your book is set.
Steven Dunne when asked if his protagonist would go home he said that he did not think that he would do so as he was an unwilling exile.
One of the questions that the authors were asked was what were they not willing to see or put in their books. Mari Hannah explained that she would not put any real life cases in her books. She would however put in her experiences and that in her latest book she had woven in her experience of working in a prison. Thomas Mogford explained that he tried to write about graphic violence but his family could not get past the first 20 pages due to the violence. Jeffrey Siger on the other hand felt that there was no subject you could not write about and that it depended on how you wrote it especially if it was off stage. Steven Dunne explained that for him the people of Derby reacted very positively to him writing dark things about them.
Mari Hannah also explained that she changes names and faces and that in one of her books she put in a fictitious road in between two real ones. It was also felt that you had to be credible for the story to work well. Thomas Mogford explained that the Royal Gibraltar Police Force were proud of the low crime rate.
It was a really good panel and interesting to listen to authors who all set their books in different places.
Well, I am now off to another panel which I will blog about later!