Renowned authors from around New Zealand are heading our way with the Hamilton Book Month set to start on Saturday next week – with workshops, seminars, talks, panels, exhibitions and more being organised throughout the city for the month of August.
One Cambridge writer described it as a “big deal” for Kiwis, with no literary equivalent of New Zealand Music Month the event fits a similar purpose of celebrating New Zealand writers and their work.
“We often tend to forget about our New Zealand authors, and that’s the good thing about Hamilton Book Month,” said Nikki Crutchley. “It’s all Kiwi authors, across all different genres.
“If people coming to Hamilton Book Month give these awesome Kiwi authors a go, they will not be disappointed.”
A lifelong bookworm, Nikki went from reader to writer in the past few years with the release of her book Nothing Bad Happens Here in 2017 and No One Can Hear You in 2018. This year she was invited to speak on a crime writing panel at the Hamilton Book Month alongside a well-known Cambridge crime writer Julie Thomas.
“I’ve spoken at a few similar events over the years but nothing quite like this. Usually I’d be going as a reader, but to be asked to be on the panel is a really big deal for me,” she said, excited to be working alongside the author of The Keeper of Secrets, Rachel’s Legacy, Levi’s War, and Blood, Wine and Chocolate – Julie Thomas.
“People who love books should love new writers, and these kind of events are the way you find new writers,” Julie said.
“Ans it’s really interesting as a reader to get that insight from writers,” Nikki added.
The pair will be joined by fellow crime writer and former detective Ian Austin in an open conversation about writing in the genre.
“It won’t be so much about our books – we will be talking about them – but it’s really about the writing process and the way we write,” said Nikki, Julie adding:
“It’s more, where we get our inspiration from, how we research and get writing done.
“And the people that come along ask really interesting questions.”
The pair described the art of writing as a skill in the making – continually improving, shaping and growing. Some things come naturally, they said, while others have to be hashed out logically. Eventually each person finds their own niche, or groove, even though sometimes it may take a bit to get there.
“I think most writers at some point in their lives feel like they are a square peg in a round hole, trying to process the world and think creatively about things, and nobody really cares,” Julie explained. “But when you find the opportunity, the motivation and the ability to write, all of a sudden you become a round peg in a round hole.”
The crime writing panel starring Julia Thomas and Nikki Crutchley takes place 1.30pm – 3pm on August 24 at Trust Waikato, 4 Little London Lane. Cambridge writer Nicky Webber will also speak at a local authors event on August 10, running 11.30am – 1pm at the same venue. To view the full list of events visit www.hamiltonbookmonth.com.
The Cambridge authors had a few tips to share for budding writers or anyone who has an interest in the craft.
- Read a lot – in your chosen genre and others. Write a lot, too.
- Watch good quality television and movies in your genre, it helps stir ideas.
- Always carry a notebook with you, to jot down any ideas, musings or observations.
- Listen to people and observe the way they talk, how they say things, to help develop natural dialogue.
- Watch people in every day life – notice the small details about them, and how they do things, it could help with character development.
- Ask questions about things you observe or think about. It can get the creative juices flowing.
- Play scenes out physically, not just in your head, to make sure it makes sense logically.
- Try to use words that aren’t cliché.
- Don’t’ use repetitive sentence structure. Think: what is a different way I could say this?
- Write with all your senses. Take your shoes off and feel the grass and think, how does it feel. Walk past a bakery and think about the smell.