I am staring at a pile of clothes alongside a suitcase, worrying that I am a fraud.
I wonder if this ever stops as a writer; this feeling that you are going to be found out. That the book deals and the foreign rights and all the lovely things readers say about your writing are suddenly going to disappear and you will wake up to find Bobby Ewing in the shower…
Repeat after me, Teresa. You are a writer of psychological suspense. A fab two-book deal with Thomas and Mercer says that you are. A lovely Greek publisher has just bought the first foreign rights (before the debut’s even out!) so they clearly think you are, too.
So – why the wobble?
Part of the issue here is I write in two genres. I’ve already published two literary women’s books – sold in six languages – but my debut psychological suspense I AM WATCHING YOU is out on Oct 1.
I am packing to attend the Harrogate Crime Festival for the first time, so I am suddenly suffering newbie paranoia - panicking that I won't fit in; that I don't know many people and (don't laugh) that I don’t read enough crime…
But hang on. A quick check on my kindle and my bookshelves. OK, I do read a lot of psychological crime, actually. Stacks, come to think of it. ( Gawd….you don’t want to know how much I spend on books!!) But the point is I don’t read crime exclusively which I hope won't make me a Harrogate lightweight. And I love all sorts of crime and thrillers, commercial and literary – from the popular big names to the edgy. On my shelves The Girl on the Train, The Widow, Appletree Yard and I let you Go sit very happily alongside The Dinner (Herman Koch…do read it) and Engleby (favourite book) and This is How and His Bloody Project (wonderful!) etc etc…
I gave a talk recently about my new book at a literary event – explaining that I have found it entirely natural and not at all odd to write in two genres as an author, just as I did as a TV news presenter and journalist for decades.
Bad things happening to good people….sometimes natural disaster. Sometimes crime.
Across both genres - both as a writer and a reader - I am always mostly interested in the people. The ripples. The impact. Never knowing quite how people will react; who will be strong and courageous and who will surprise you.
So deep breath, Teresa, and back to the packing. It may rain which is now worrying me. I was banking on pretty T shirts. Now? Not so sure…
The truth is I am as nervous as I am super excited – so if you are a Harrogate Crime Festival regular and you spy me wandering about, spotting celebrities and wondering if I dare ask for a selfie, please say hello. (Val McDermid, Clare Mackintosh and Ian Rankin, be warned...I may stalk.)
I’m new. I’m buzzing and in awe and feeling very, very lucky to be here…
Bobby Ewing, be damned.
Turns out I am a crime writer. A bit nervous, sure, but loud and proud and absolutely loving it so far!
Teresa Driscoll - journalist, author, mother of two and lover of great coffee.