There are moments in life when everything takes on a dream-like quality, where you feel like you are floating in a bubble buoyed by unseen hands, and where everyone you meet is delightful and welcoming. Hobeck Books' debut at the Morecambe and Vice festival (29th and 30th September 2019), was one such moment.
My partner Rebecca and I had made the decision to attend to the very last minute, which is pretty typical of us both. We were drawn by three things:
1) The hunt for new writers and authors for Hobeck Books.
2) A chance to enjoy the glories of that Art Deco masterpiece, the Midland Hotel on Morecambe seafront.
3) An opportunity to spend more time with one of my audiobook clients, Adam Croft and his lovely family.
What I wasn't expecting. was that Adam would ask me to stand in at last minute as co-host of episode 74 of the Partners in Crime podcast, in place of the superb Robert Daws. Over a couple of pints, Adam explained that Rob was unable to attend due to a family emergency, and could I jump in for the show on the following afternoon? Oh, and just to add to the jeopardy, this edition would be recorded in front of a live audience of crime fiction fans and fellow authors as part of the Morecambe and Vice festival.
No pressure then.
Truthfully, I jumped at the chance. It's some time since I last presented in front of an audience like that, but with many years in broadcasting as well as tour-guiding around Cambridge, it was an opportunity that really appealed to me. The fact is that this is what I want to do.
A few weeks ago, I took the plunge; I resigned from my job of 23 years in broadcasting to pursue a career as a writer, audiobook narrator, and publisher.
It's all fraught with danger of course, and there are no guarantees of success, but that appearance on stage in Morecambe convinced me that Rebecca and I are taking the right path, such was the enthusiasm of the audience and the wider publishing community we met at the festival.
To the show itself. Of course, I was nervous, but I love that feeling - so many things could go wrong, but when you have a wonderful and warm-hearted audience, a superb co-host who is both gifted and knowledgeable, there really is very little that could go wrong. As Adam announced that Rob was unable to be there, I heard a murmur of disappointment from the audience - he is a star afterall. But Adam's gracious introduction and the warm applause I received settled things quickly.
I've worked with many broadcasters, many of them extremely famous, but rarely has a 45 minute show flown by with such ease. Adam and I developed an instant rapport and sense of timing - which felt remarkable given we'd only met each other twice before. We covered a myriad of subjects: crime fiction, audiobook narration, the rules of the genre, and even, dare I say it Leprechaun Erotica. (Listen to the show and you'll understand how we got there!)
It flew by, the audience kindly at our jokes, and took part in our audience engagement section with gusto. It was one of those moments when you sense anything is possible - if you open your heart and mind to the opportunities that arise.
So, did we succeed in achieving what we set out to do? Absolutely. We met potential authors, we enjoyed making contacts with the wider crime publishing world, and we enjoyed copious Espresso Martinis with the Crofts. Rebecca and I left Morecambe reluctantly, but convinced that we are on the right path. Hobeck will take time to grow and establish itself, but we now know that there is an audience for us and our future authors, as well as a world of friendships to make in the crime fiction world.
Here's to our future Partners in Crime.