#AyeWrite Opening Night 2019 “A Central Belt in the Mouth” James Oswald, Neil Broadfoot & M.R Mackenzie @AyeWrite @SirBenfro @NlBro @landofwhimsy @CaroRamsayBooks

James Oswald, Neil Broadfoot & M.R Mackenzie

It’s that time of year again folks! #AyeWrite has started!

Aye Write! is Glasgow’s Book Festival, founded in 2005 and since 2007 has been an annual fixture on Glasgow’s culture calendar. The festival takes place in the beautiful Mitchell Library, one of Europe’s largest public libraries from 14-31 March 2019.

The first event for me was James Oswald, Neil Broadfoot and M.R MacKenzie in a panel, intriguingly named “A Central Belt in the Mouth” (and when I found out fellow Scottish Crime Writer, Caro Ramsay was chairing the event then my pique was definitely piqued!) With a title like that and the irrepressible Caro hosting this was an event NOT to be missed!

With crime novels set in Glasgow, Stirling and Edinburgh, these three writers are packing a punch with their latest work.

James Oswald’s Cold as the Grave is the ninth book in the Inspector McLean series which opens with a mummified body hidden in a basement room. 

Neil Broadfoot’s No Man’s Land introduces the rough and ready Connor Fraser as he deals with a mutilated body dumped in the heart of historic Stirling. 

Glasgow librarian M.R Mackenzie’s debut, In the Silence, follows Anna, a criminology lecturer who finds herself as the star witness at the centre of a murder investigation.

 Chaired by Caro Ramsay.

Caro opened up declaring that Brexit was banned although in the style of a criminal kind of Eurovision we had representation from Glasgow, Stirling and Edinburgh to guide us through an hour of fascinating probing from Caro and the most intriguing responses from the panel!

Michael MacKenzie’s “In the Silence” sounds like a gruesome kind of read and after listening to him talk about it, it’s definitely on my TBR pile! Caro described this debut author as extremely accomplished! He has a PhD in Film Studies and originally wrote his novel as a script in two weeks before spending the next few years tweaking and reshaping it into his debut novel!

James Oswald  likes to mix his crime up with a little bit of the supernatural. He’s had demons and dragons and decided to go with a genie for his latest Tony McLean book, “Cold As The Grave”. His research into the mythology around genies led him to the refugee crisis, people trafficking and far right movement leading to his latest storyline. He spoke of his character driven approach to writing and how the characters in each of his series lend themselves to the plots he creates.

Neil Broadfoot’s latest novel, “No Man’s Land” introduces a new character and series for him. Connor Fraser, is the complete opposite from Doug McGregor. His inspiration for the latest series came from the annual Bloody Scotland, Scotland V England football game where he had a vision of a severed head floating in front of him! (I really must check the alcohol in the Golden Lion this year!) Caro did praise him for his skill in writing authentic fight scenes and queried his talent in writing sex scenes – apparently we have to read the next book and see!

The panel discussed the merits of each of their cities and what they brought to their writing: Edinburgh lends itself to James’ love of ghosts; Glaswegians have their own unique voice and of course Stirling is steeped in bloody history!

 A serious discussion took place around the issue of books being created from the society in which they are based and the issue of sexual violence in crime fiction was addressed; it was agreed as long as it was driven by the story and not simply a woman being reduced to a victim and that writers used their characters to give a voice to the victim and to challenge the stereotypes and gratuitous violence, then it was important to address these very serious and topical issues.

Accessibility to books via audible etc. was discussed along with the age old debate plotters V pantsers! Michael is a self confessed plotter while James and Neil reassured me with their definite “fly by the seat of their pants” approach!

It was an hour that was over much too soon, fascinating and fun…and Caro Ramsay did not need to use her racket of reason once!

To find out what else is happening at Aye Write over the next two weeks and to book your tickets, click the link below:

Aye Write 2019

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