Last night I had the pleasure of being able to go along to the second Bookmarked Literary Salon. Hosted once a month at Waterstone’s Deansgate in the centre of Manchester by Simon of Savidge Reads and Adam Lowe, Bookmarked has already seen the likes of successful debut authors S.J. Watson (writer of the fantastic Before I Go To Sleep) and Sarah Winman (When God Was a Rabbit) aptly, at it’s er… debut event in August.
I was very happy to have been able to co-ordinate my trip up North for work with a stop-in to September’s event featuring two crime-writers (readers of Novel Insights will know that I love a good crime novel). Val McDermid, now amazingly on her 25th book, was a writer I had heard such good things about so I swotted up before the event by reading The Mermaid’s Singing, which is one of her very early novels. A review will be on it’s way but I will say now that I’ve been completely gripped by my first Val, and would definitely recommend to other lovers of crime fiction. She’s not for the faint hearted though! Val was also an excellent guest with a refreshingly open and down to earth way of speaking about writing. I really enjoyed hearing about her approach to crime-writing and in particular an entertaining discussion between the hosts and authors about changes in modern technology and the dangers of making the latest trend too central to a story.
M.J. McGrath is a journalist-turned author who first book is a murder mystery in the unusual setting of the Canadian Arctic. I have to admit that I hadn’t heard of her before the event, (for a book-blogger I’m unfortunately not always on the cutting-edge of things!) however sitting and listening to her reading of White Heat and her subsequent fascinating stories of her own experiences travelling and meeting people in icy landscapes, I was compelled to buy a copy of her novel. Simon’s review here, makes me glad that I did. I also picked up a copy of Val McDermid’s Wire in the Blood and was given the latest in her Tony Hill series – a signed copy of Retribution, by my dear bookish friend and host.
At the end of the night Simon and I even got caught up in our own little mystery helping Val hunt for her car, although I’m not sure how helpful we were trying to turn it into a sleuthing moment :).
I had an absolutely brilliant time and am hoping I can make it to future Bookmarked events. If you’re in the area and fancy popping along, keep an eye out on the site for the next date and line-up here.