Preview: Crime Writing Festival, Crown Hotel. Harrogate

Secrets from an international man of mystery
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The Independent Culture

For lovers of crime fiction, Peter Robinson – creator of the Inspector Banks mystery series – will be sharing the secrets of his craft at Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. Fans of the genre will also find Andy Macnab, Robert Crais, Jeffery Deaver and Tess Gerritsen at the event in Harrogate, Yorkshire, which is now in its sixth year.

Robinson, whose 19th Inspector Banks novel, All the Colours of Darkness, is out in August, wrote his first in the series, Gallows View, in 1987. "It wasn't until my 10th novel, In a Dry Season, that I became known," he says. Robinson, who is from Yorkshire originally, shares his time between his home there, and a second property in Toronto, Canada.

He started out writing poetry at the age of 16, but says it wasn't until his mid-thirties that he turned to crime-writing. "Like a lot of people I had that prejudice that it was just a genre thing – and I was a real literature student. I was becoming interested in structure in my poetry – and that's what led me to crime fiction."

Are crime writers a special breed? "I may have a more morbid imagination than some people. We tend to be categorised more by others as different. But we are just writers like any other writers."

What inspired the character of Inspector Banks? "He first came to me from reading Georges Simenon's Inspector Maigret books that my father used to read. When I started to think about an English police character, I probably had Maigret more in mind than any other English policeman. Since then he has just aged and developed."

Have inconsistencies emerged in his books over the years? "If you write 19 books then maybe there would be inconsistencies simply because you set off with certain ideas, but as you go along you might wish it was different. You can't change the big things, but maybe some of the smaller things. Sometimes I forget what I have written before. It is hard to remember the early books now."

17 to 20 July (