annie dillardSo this weekend I recharged my writerly batteries at my local writers festival – which is awesome by the way and  you should all come here next year – the Big Sky Readers and Writers Festival which had a plethora of fabulous authors visiting sharing pearls and choc chips of wisdom.

On Saturday I listened to Michael Robotham and Michael White talk about crime writing. Both have sold in the millions so they must know something right? They were SAS_Cover_Art_2.indderudite, entertaining and charming in turns. The two Michaels are quite different in the way they approach the writing process – Robotham is more of a pantser, White a plotter – but both surprised the audience by saying they usually don’t know who committed the crimes in their books until they reached the end. For one book Robotham had eight characters vying to be the murderer and he was on the edge of his seat wondering who did it. So for all those aspiring crime/thriller writers – don’t worry too much if you don’t know who did it until you reach the end, after all Robotham’s sold somewhere in the vicinity of million books so……..

grannyIn the afternoon I was captivated by the eloquent trio of Ian Reid, Toni Jordan and Diane Wolfer all talking about the inspiration of history in their work. All three of their recent books are set in the early twentieth century in Australia and were inspired by actual events and people.

And following that was The Great Debate – essentially a fun match of wit and slang between the visiting robothamauthors and our ‘Bogan Pride’ local team. The locals won. Well we can’t let the blow ins take that crown.

And today – Sunday – I ‘made it to the panel on what best selling authors Robotham, Katheryn Heyman and Toni Jordan wish they’d known before they were successful. The stand out moment from that was Michael Robotham’s story of his correspondence with the late, great Ray Bradbury as a nine year old. Bradbury was his great inspiration, his reason for wanting to become a writer and the story was touching and brought a tear to more than one eye. It’s not one I can retell here, but if you have a chance to see Robotham at a Festival, ask him to tell you.

Books I’ve added to my Everest sized reading stack: This Writing Life by Annie Dillard, Granny Grommet and Me by Dianne Wolfer & Karen Blair, Sinning Across Spain by Ailsa Piper and Watching You by Michael Robotham.