Writers on a train
- By Anila Babla
- 19th Jun 2012
Crime-writer Julia Crouch has just become the UK's first railway writer in residence, writing a short story on the tracks between London to Harrogate. Like any good detective, Loco2 hits the trail to find out more.
At Loco2 we’re no stranger to strange things on trains, but when we heard crime-writers Julia Crouch and Andrew Martin discussing writing books on trains on BBC Radio 4 yesterday it pricked our ears. Reading books on trains is nothing new, and many an intriguing plot has featured the railway in some way or other, but a writer in residence on a train? That’s news to us.
But that’s exactly Julia Crouch’s recent claim to fame. Having discovered that she did her best work on long train journeys, and thanks to a chance conversation with her publicist, she found herself on a train to Harrogate (home of Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival) tasked with writing a short story en route. Naturally, it was a tale of scandal on the train.
Three hours and 200 miles later, Julia had penned some 5000 words of “Strangeness on a train”, a sombre tale of one woman’s encounter with the passenger from hell. Like any crime novel worth its salt, the story promises to be tantalising. Julia kindly shared her experiences of writing on a train with Loco2, saying, “so long as I get a seat and my fellow passengers are base-line socialised, I find I can concentrate better on a long train journey than anywhere else. I don’t have to be anywhere else – can’t be anywhere else – and even the distractions – the changing landscape, the dramas unfolding in the carriage, my own reactions to what’s going on – are all useful. If there’s no wi-fi, the common writerly temptation to read the entire internet before you start work is thwarted as well!”
Julia insists that she wasn’t inspired by her own journey, but canvassed Twitter for others’ terrible rail run-ins. We hope there aren’t too many tales of murder on the Harrogate Express, but we look forward to reading the e-book when it’s released next month. East Coast trains will also be handing out samplers of the story on the London-Harrogate route during the week preceding the Crime Writing Festival. Yet another good reason to go by train.