It’s not very often that you get listen to and meet best selling authors so you have to grab these opportunities when you can – especially when you don’t live in a big city! Peter James is an international best selling author of predominantly crime fiction, his most well known character being Detective Superintendent Roy Grace who appears in 8 James novels.
Hosted by The Friends of Bridgnorth Library, An Evening with Peter James was was held at the Bridgnorth Leisure Centre, Shropshire on Wednesday 30th January. I think it’s very admirable that big name authors do take the time to do these tours. Yes, I appreciate that they’re very likely promoting a new book so they want to sell more copies but it’s also such a great opportunity for fans and readers to meet and interact with their favourite authors.
James opened with a few anecdotes, discussed books that he read as a child such as Enid Blyton and questioned why don’t the children ever go to the toilet in these books? Agatha Christie and his favourite book being Graham Green’s Brighton Rock, which he advised us all to read if we hadn’t already.
He also referred to the significance of an opening line and made us all chuckle with examples of an award for the worst opening lines. One of his favourite’s being “As his small boat scudded before a brisk breeze under a sapphire sky dappled with cerulean clouds with indigo bases, through cobalt seas that deepened to navy nearer the boat and faded to azure at the horizon, Ian was at a loss as to why he felt blue.”
He offered a great insight into his writing such as the need to have characters we can empathise with, the plot and the research for a sense of reality and in particular, the inspiration behind his latest book Not Dead Yet and he went into some detail of his own stalker experiences.
For those die hard James fans you’ll already know that his first three novels were spy novels and are out of print – his advice if you find one somewhere in a second-hand book shop – leave it there or put it on ebay!
The strong relationships built with police forces in UK and around the world enables him to conduct the amount of research needed and accompany various units on raids etc and made reference to the ‘coppers chair’ – that police officers will always sit with their back to the wall, scanning the room and exits. In fact, James revealed that his character Grace is based on a real life Sussex detective.
One of the questions that came from the audience was about the first Roy Grace novel Dead Simple. Apparently the movie rights have been sold and the question was over the characters and who will play them and does James have any say? Well it seems he does and hasn’t signed away his rights completely in that respect.
Overall, this was a really interesting evening, a great way to support your local library and encourage these events for the future.