Crime comes to Carlisle

Posted: 8th September 2014 by Lucy Cameron in Uncategorized

On Saturday 6th September I attended Borderlines Book Festival in Carlisle. A book festival run over the weekend in various venues including The Crown and Mitre, Tullie House and Carlisle Cathedral.


It was a wonderfully sunny day, a brass band was playing, the streets were buzzing with happy people both shopping and visiting events. Following a rather fraught drive and dash round Carlisle for change (I’d forgotten most parking is pay and display) I arrived at my first event.

William Ryan – Crime-writing Workshop.

This workshop was billed as ‘constructing characters and perfecting plots’. It did all that and more.

I REALLY enjoyed this session. I would highly recommend a William Ryan workshop. If you have no writing experience you will pick up so many hints and tips you’ll be busy for weeks, make that months. If you’re a more seasoned writer you’ll consolidate ideas, add to your writing tools and be desperate to get that next book written.

I’ve written a book. I’m ready to start my second book so I was worried that the workshop could be a little basic. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I now have many different ways to look at and think about when constructing both characters and plot.

There were twelve of us in the class which was a great number for discussion and group work. The class was lively and William gave interesting examples to illustrate the points he was making. We worked through exercises to develop characters and key plot points.  The sessions were hands on, thinking, developing and interacting as opposed to listening to him talk through slides for the whole session.

In this three hour period we plotted a three act story and created seven key characters – Phew!

I left the event enthused and inspired to get home at get planning for my next book.

William Ryan has written three superb books. Crime (writing) set in 1930’s Soviet Union has never been as good!

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‘Thumbs Up’ to this course. (William Ryan and I)


Clash of the Genres: Historical Novelists versus Crime Novelists.

In the afternoon I headed to Clash of the Genres, a panel discussion being held in the Crown and Mitre Hotel. Here William Ryan chaired a panel of Ben KaneMatt HiltonSheila Quigley . They fought it out. Who would be victorious between the genres in the ultimate battle? Okay, so there was no actual fighting (Although Ben Kane did bring along a couple of swords just in case) but a lot of insight into the writers. They talked about what lead them to write, their processes and inspirations.



Afterwards the authors were signing books. Those of you that have been at writing festivals with me know I love getting books signed!

It was also an opportunity to ask the authors questions about their books. Ben Kane had some great advice around editing. I am inspired to read one of his historical fiction books – not a genre I would have considered before hearing him talk so interestingly about the genre and his work.

I had a great chat with Matt Hilton about his book ‘Preternatural’, a psychological tale looking into demons and madness – Or is it?!? Sounds like it will be right up my street.

Following all the excitement I retired to the cafe to drink tea.

A fab day at the book festival. Well done and thank you to all involved.





  1. Helen Phifer says:

    Sounds like a great day Lucy, I didn’t find out about it until the day before. Will definitely give it a go next year :)

    Helen xx

  2. Bernd says:

    Hey! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous room mate!
    He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him.
    Fairly certan he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Lucy Cameron says:

    Hi Bernd – Thank you for your comment – The whole thing was fab. There was recently a Crime Writing Weekend at Carlisle I’m hoping to do a post on soon