Crime Writers’ Day: The Real Killers with Paul Harrison


Truth is stranger than fiction – it has to be, since in fiction, everything has to make sense. Loose ends need to be tied up and usually, for a really satisfying read, the perpetrator of the crime is caught by the cleverness of our detective.

But real life crime? There isn’t always a nice, tidy ending and there are few authors who commit to the page the level of depravity to which some real criminals sink. Thus, this talk on notorious people who inspire fictional killers is not for the faint hearted!  

Paul Harrison has spent much of his professional life working within the UK’s criminal justice system, primarily as a police officer. Working closely with the now defunct FBI Behavioural Science Unit in Quantico, he gained a unique and remarkable insight into the minds of some of the world s most violent criminals.

His conversation portfolio reads like a Who’s Who of murderers. As an author, he’s penned thirty-three traditionally published books (mainly true crime) and completed his first novel last year. A seasoned event speaker, Paul is popular across the entire crime genre (fiction and non-fiction). He is in discussion with several TV production companies across the globe for future Crime related television series. Paul currently lives in Yorkshire.

Mind Games is leading profiler Paul Harrison’s unique experiences dealing with the worst offenders incarcerated in the global criminal justice system. It will shock, surprise and astound the reader. Paul Harrison has a unique set of skills and experiences based upon his life in the British police service and later as a crime writer.

Now, for the first time ever, you can read of his gripping experiences as a profiler dealing with the world’s most notorious serial killers and violent offenders.

Mind Games is a forensic examination of the psyche of the world’s most vicious and evil offenders in their own words, just as they related it. It’s an exploration into the darkest recesses of the criminal mind and possibly the most in-depth examination of the serial killer phenomenon ever published.

Chasing Monsters  The first book in the DI Will Scott series.

In a sleepy northern seaside resort, The Eastborough Police Force is shocked into action when a heavily mutilated body is found in a quiet suburb. Murder rarely happens in these parts. Within a short space of time, the body count begins to rise rapidly, as a serial killer runs amok.

DI Will Scott is tasked with finding the killer. In doing he treads paths he never expected to traverse and uncovers a web of deceit that leads to a world where no one can be trusted.

The killer relentlessly continues to strike terror across the community. Then without warning, the killing ground changes. Where will the killer strike next …?

Paul-BalconyTwitter: @pharrisonauthor

Facebook: paulharrisonauthor



Join us all day on October 6 for five panels of crime writers, with time after each one for signings. Tickets will available in due course and you can be the first to know when by signing up to our email newsletter.

The Crime Writers’ Day will take place between 11am-6pm at the Rochester Community Hub, Eastgate.


Crime Writers’ Day – Real Jobs, Fictional Worlds Panel: Lisa Cutts, Simon Michael and Anna Mazzola chaired by Alex Stevens

Real Jobs

How do authors get to the nitty gritty of criminal law procedure? Most will speak to the experts – those dealing with real crime day in, day out.

For this panel though, we bring together the experts themselves, whose non writing profession informs their fictional crime writing through first hand experience.

Our Patron, Lisa Cutts, has over 20 years experience as a serving detective constable with Kent Police and has investigated over 50 murders during 10 years with the serious crime directorate.

Her debut novel, Never Forget, the first in the DC Nina Foster series, won the 2014 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award for Best Thriller. Remember, Remember is the second book with a third in the series well under way.

Mercy Killing was published in 2016 by Simon and Schuster and is the first in a new series of East Rise Incident Room crime novels. It features some new characters together with a few more familiar ones and the second in the series, Buried Secrets, was released last year, with the third Lost Lives due for release later this year.

Lisa works in Kent and also lives there with her husband and scatty Labrador. She writes a monthly column for Writing Magazine answering police procedural questions from other writers.

Lisa Cutts, Patron, Rochester Literature FestivalTwitter @LisaCuttsAuthor

Facebook: Lisa Cutts Crime Writer



Simon Michael is the author of the best-selling London 1960s noir gangster series featuring his antihero barrister, Charles Holborne. Simon writes from personal experience: a barrister for 37 years, he worked in the Old Bailey and other criminal courts defending and prosecuting a wide selection of murderers, armed robbers, con artists and other assorted villainy.

The 1960s was the “Wild West” of British justice, a time when the Krays, Richardsons and other violent gangs fought for control of London’s organised crime, and the corrupt Metropolitan Police beat up suspects, twisted evidence and took a share of the criminal proceeds. Simon weaves into his thrillers genuine court documents from cases on which he worked on the big stories of the 1960s.

Simon was published here and in America in the 1980s and returned to writing when he retired from the law in 2016. The Charles Holborne series, The BriefAn Honest Man and The Lighterman, have all garnered strong reviews for their authenticity and excitement. Simon’s theme is alienation; Holborne, who dabbled in crime and in serious violence before becoming a barrister, is an outsider both in the East End where he grew up and in the Temples of the Law where he faces daily class and religious prejudice. He has been compared to Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe and Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade, honourable men surrounded by corruption and violence, trying to steer an honest course.

The fourth book in the series, Corrupted, takes actual political events from the 1960s to create a frighteningly topical crime thriller of sexual abuse by people in positions of power, and an Establishment cover-up.

simon michael

Twitter: @simonmichaeluk

Facebook: Simon Michael Author



Anna Mazzola is a writer of historical crime fiction and, probably due to some fault of her parents, is drawn to peculiar and dark historical subjects. Her debut novel, The Unseeing, was published to critical acclaim in 2016 and is based on the life of a real woman who was convicted of aiding a murder in London in 1837.

Her second novel, The Story Keeper, will be published this July. It’s about a collector of folklore and missing girls on 19th century Skye. Andrew Taylor describes it as ‘A chilling and refreshingly inventive Gothic novel that constantly subverts the reader’s expectations.’

Anna studied English at Pembroke College, Oxford, before accidentally becoming a human rights and criminal justice solicitor. She lives in South London, with two small children, two cats and one husband.

214B8480Twitter: @anna_mazz

Facebook: AnnaMazzolaWriter



Our Chair for this panel is Alex Stevens, Professor in Criminal Justice at the University of Kent’s Medway campus. He has been working on issues of drugs, prisons and crime prevention since 1991. He is the author of a book on Drugs, Crime and Public Health (Routledge, 2011) and many research articles on these topics. He is also President of the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy and a member of the UK Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. As for nearly all criminologists, he is a big fan of The Wire.

Alex Stevens


Twitter: @AlexStevensKent




Join us all day on October 6 for five panels of crime writers, with time after each one for signings. Tickets will available in due course and you can be the first to know when by signing up to our email newsletter.

The Crime Writers’ Day will take place between 11am-6pm at the Rochester Community Hub, Eastgate.

Crime Writers’ Day – Crime Seen Panel: Jane Lythell, Hugh Fraser and Julie Wassmer

Crime Seen_ Jane Lythell, Hugh Fraser, Julie Wassmer (1)

There’s a reason – several, actually – why crime drama is so popular on television. The thrill of a chase, the whodunnit factor, the edge of seat menace. Our Crime Seen panel at the festival consists of three authors infinitely qualified to discuss why taking crime and thriller books to screen is so successful, as well as give us an insight into the creation of their own work.

Jane Lythell is a former TV producer and commissioning editor with 15 years experience, and was both Deputy Director of the BFI and Chief Executive of BAFTA before turning to writing full time. At the launch of her fourth novel Behind Her Back this year, the exciting announcement was made that Jane’s debut novel, psychological thriller The Lie of You, has been adapted and will be released as a feature film, starring Tuppence Middleton, Rupert Graves, Lydia Wilson and Luke Roberts.

Jane’s second novel, After The Storm, has also been optioned by Great Point Media (Lady Macbeth, Doc Martin). Her latest two novels feature TV executive Liz Lyon, and is a timely response to the issues currently playing out across the film and television industry. Woman of the Hour introduced us to Liz, with Behind her Back continuing the insider’s story.

13 Oct 2014 Author pic

Twitter: @janelythell

Facebook: Jane Lythell Books



Hugh Fraser is best known for playing Captain Hastings in Agatha Christie’s ‘Poirot’ and the Duke of Wellington in ‘Sharpe’. His films include Patriot Games, 101 Dalmatians, The Draughtsman’s Contract and Clint Eastwood’s Firefox. In the theatre he has appeared in Teeth’n’Smiles at the Royal Court and Wyndhams and in several roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He has also narrated many of Agatha Christie’s novels as audio books. He has now written three books in the Rina Walker series – Harm, Threat and Malice. Stealth is due on October 4th  2018.

STEALTH  When a step out of line means a fight to the death…                            

London 1967                                                                                

A working girl is brutally murdered in a Soho club. Rina Walker takes out the killer and attracts the attention of a sinister line-up of gangland enforcers with a great deal to prove. When a member of British Military Intelligence becomes aware of her failure to fulfill a contract issued by an inmate of Broadmoor, he forces her into the deadly arena of the Cold War, with orders to kill an enemy agent. Rina needs to call upon all her dark skills, not simply to survive, but to protect the ones she loves.

023Hugh Fraser-23


Twitter: @realhughfraser

Facebook: realhughfraser


Julie Wassmer was born in the East End of London, studied at Kingston University and had a variety of different jobs before she settled down to become a television drama writer.

She worked on several TV series, including ITV’s London’s Burning, C5’s Family Affairs and the popular BBC soap, Eastenders, which she wrote for almost 20 years.

In 2010, her autobiography More Than Just Coincidence was published by Harper Collins, telling the story of how, twenty years before, she was reunited by an extraordinary quirk of fate with the baby daughter she had given up for adoption when she was a teenager. The book entered the Sunday Times Best Selling Non-Fiction Top Twenty and went on to become Mumsnet Book of the Year

In 2015, her debut crime novel, The Whitstable Pearl Mystery, was published by Little, Brown – followed by four more titles in a crime series featuring “seafood, murder and multi-tasking heroine, Pearl Nolan”. The books are set against a backdrop of captivating Kent locations, including Whitstable itself which has been Julie’s home for almost twenty years.

The TV rights to the series have been optioned by the production company, Buccaneer, and the Daily Mail writes: “While Oxford had Morse, Whitstable, famous for its oysters, has Pearl . . . True to the tradition of classic crime, Julie Wassmer weaves a strong story into a setting that has more to offer than murder and mayhem….A tried-and-tested crime recipe with Whitstable flavours that makes for a Michelin-starred read.”

Julie Wassmer

Twitter: @juliewassmer

Facebook: juliewassmerauthor



Join us all day on October 6 for five panels of crime writers, with time after each one for signings. Tickets will available in due course and you can be the first to know when by signing up to our email newsletter.

The Crime Writers’ Day will take place between 11am-6pm at the Rochester Community Hub, Eastgate.

Mark Billingham to headline our Crime Writers’ Day

Our first dedicated crime writing festival is shaping up to be a belter!

Mark Billingham photo

Top crime writer Mark Billingham will be headlining, topping off an exciting day of panels around all aspects of crime writing.

Mark will be in conversation with our Patron, author and serving detective, Lisa Cutts, whose latest book, Lost Lives, is being released later this year by Simon and Schuster.

The Killing Habit is Mark’s newest novel, and will be published next month. It continues the award winning series of stories featuring London based detective Tom Thorne, which includes The Dying Hours, Lifeless, Good As Dead, Time Of Death and Love Like Blood. Lazybones and Death Message both won the Theakston’s Old Peculier Award for Crime Novel Of The Year.

An acclaimed television series based on the Thorne novels was screened on Sky One in
Autumn 2010, starring David Morrissey as Tom Thorne, and a major six-part series, based on the standalone thriller In The Dark, was screened on BBC1 in 2017.

Mark became a bestseller with his debut novel, Sleepyhead, in 2001, which has since been acclaimed as one of the novels that shaped the decade. Since then, each of Mark’s novels has been a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller. His sales total more than 4.5million copies to date, and his books are published in over 25 countries.

Mark first began his career as an actor, with credits including small-screen greats such as Dempsey & Makepeace, Birds of a Feather, Juliet Bravo and four series of cult children’s classic Maid Marian And Her Merry Men. Whilst continuing his relationship with TV through writing for a variety of shows, he branched out into stand-up comedy and worked all over the world for more than twenty years, appearing regularly at The Comedy Store, as well as on screen with Spitting Image, The Mary Whitehouse Experience and Live At Jongleurs.

He has gone on to present widely on TV and radio, hosting shows including Going Live, TV’s Favourite Detective, Passport to Murder, Mark Billingham’s Rule Book of Crime and documentaries on everything from Patricia Highsmith to Columbo. He has also showcased his peculiar and largely useless ability to retain trivia on radio and TV shows such as Quote Unquote, The Write Stuff, Pointless Celebrities, Eggheads and Celebrity Mastermind, which he won, thanks to knowing far more than is healthy about Elvis Costello. Mr Costello has now rescinded the restraining order…

We’re delighted Mark will be joining us on Saturday, October 6. The panels will run from 11am-6pm in the Rochester Community Hub, with time after each panel for signings. Read more about Mark on his website here, or follow him on Twitter @MarkBillingham

When the author day is complete, you can join us for a brand new murder mystery evening devised by theatre group Alternate Shadows, which will take place in the glorious Eastgate House, just opposite the Hub.

We’ll be announcing all our authors over the next few weeks, so do sign up to our newsletter if you’d like to be among the first to know. Tickets will be available in due course.

The Dickens Festival Lowdown!

Christina casts her creative eye over our programme for the upcoming Dickens Festival weekend.

draft flyer for Dickens 2018

The RLF is back this summer’s Dickens Festival weekend with another fantastic programme with performances from some brilliant authors and performers. This year we will be based at the beautiful, newly refurbished Eastgate House (Dickens’ once referred to it as ‘The Nuns’ House’ in The Mystery of Edwin Drood) which now accommodates exhibitions dedicated to the history of the house.

Continue reading

The Turtle Moves Returns!

TM 2018

Crafty fun for all the family with a selection of activities inspired by Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series.

Make your own witches or wizard’s hat, decorate a Quantum Weather Butterfly or Maskerade Mask, mind your nose with the springy eggs, or get your hands clay-mucky with golems and trolls!

No need to book but we do ask a £1 donation per child in order to re-stock our craft store.

We look forward to seeing you 🙂

Dyslexia House Writing Competition


Do you have a story to tell but find it hard to get it down on paper?  

If it’s a struggle, why not contact Dyslexia House for help?  They can help get your words into print. So get in touch right now for writing help!

Or do you prefer to express yourself with images rather than words?  Then don’t hesitate…get sketching, drawing and painting right now!

This is the first time that Dyslexia House Association has combined forces with Medway Libraries, Medway Mermaids and Nucleus Arts to encourage writing and artwork.

Continue reading