East Coast has teamed up with crime author Julia Crouch to become the UK’s first writer-in-residence on-board a train. The train operator worked with Julia to create a short story, Strangeness On A Train, written on-board its train service between London and Harrogate, which will be published as a free e-book available to download from Apple or Amazon.co.uk on Thursday 19 July.
The launch of Strangeness On A Train coincides with the start of the 10th Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate, which runs from 19 to 20 July, and is sponsored by East Coast.
Strangeness On A Train, published by Headline Publishing Group, is a dark compelling story, which reveals what happens when one passenger pushes a fellow female traveller beyond her limits. As well as the journey itself, Julia was heavily influenced by the rich heritage of crime fiction set on trains including Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train, Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, and 4.50 From Paddington.
East Coast Writer-In-Residence Julia Crouch said: “When I was offered the opportunity of being the first writer in residence on an East Coast Train, I jumped at it. There’s something wonderful about writing on trains, in that I was able to fully immerse myself in my work, which I can rarely do at home.
“Working on-board the train seemed like being in a bubble of concentration as I moved through time and space, only being distracted when eavesdropping on the dramas of my fellow passengers as swathes of the countryside flashed past the windows, which were useful distractions.
“Thanks to the spacious First Cass accommodation, the words flowed, and my story quickly took shape.
“Some of it was inspired by things I saw and heard on the journey, other parts by the effect a train carriage has on the twisted mind of a crime writer. Over the journey from London to Harrogate, I wrote the entire first draft, whilst also managing quite a bit of window-gazing, tea-drinking, and even the odd complimentary glass of wine or two.”
East Coast Media and Communications Manager Paul Williams said: “We’re really excited to work with Julia to publish our first e-book, Strangeness On A Train, which was written on board our services between London and Harrogate.
“Having Julia travel with us as the UK’s first writer-in-residence on board a train is something that we are really proud of, and, once published, we hope that the story will capture both passengers and the public’s imagination with its gripping tale.
“Travelling to Harrogate has never been easier thanks to our direct return London to Harrogate services, which operates seven days as week. These were introduced for the first time on this route in more than 20 years, as part of our major timetable change last May, at the same time as we introduced our new First Class complimentary food and drink service.”
Julia, will appear at this year’s Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival on Sunday 21 July as part of a panel discussion entitled Deadlier Than The Male. This will consider whether women in crime fiction are more graphically violent. Julia will publish her second novel Every Vow You Break on 2 August.