One of the pleasures of Crimefest – surely one of the friendliest conventions on the circuit and almost certainly the best organised – is making new friends. This was the first time I had met the writers on the panel that I moderated. They are from left to right: Amanda Jennings, me, Stav Sherez, Linda Regan, and David Mark. If it looks as if we were having fun, it’s because we were. Thanks to Amanda for the photo.
Our topic was ‘Playing God with Your Characters.’ There was a lively debate between Stav and Linda, about whether their characters take on a life of their own. Stav felt that he was always firmly in control, Linda that her characters did have a life beyond the page. We wondered if justice always has to be done. Amanda felt that there should be justice of some kind, but it need not always be justice according to the law: the criminal in her latest novel had already been punished enough. We pondered the ethics of basing characters on real people. David has come across plenty of criminals and police officers in his time as a crime reporter for the Yorkshire Post, but none of them are to be found between the pages of his novels.
The discussion never flagged and there were interesting questions from the floor. Thank you, Amanda, Stav, Linda, and David, for being a great panel. See you next year!