After what seems like far too long, Val McDermid returned to the book festival yesterday thereby fulfilling the needs of crime fans and writers alike. Dressed in trademark Bermuda shirt and shorts, her presence in the RBS Main Tent was palpable, as one of Scotland’s best-loved authors returned into the fold.
Val kicked off by revealing that although it had been advertised she would be talking about her last book, that wasn’t what was going to happen. Instead, copies of her fresh-off-the-press novel, The Retribution, which isn’t available anywhere yet, WOULD be on sale after the event for her to sign. A clever PR move that had her fans drooling at the prospect.
Val was as great as she always is: forthright, funny and overflowing with great sound-bites. On Oxbridge she urged people to “look past the image portrayed of it, because in her experience it wasn’t your background, your school or who your daddy was that mattered, it was your mind,” and when asked by Peter Guttridge if she fancied slowing it down and taking a couple of years to write her next novel: “I’d only end up farting around for a year.”
But perhaps her most compelling comment came when she talked about the books she read when she was a child, that helped shape and form her into the acclaimed novelist she is today, she said: “the books we read as kids shape our lives in ways we can’t imagine at the time.”