Greetings! Suddenly, the writing life got busy. My new book The Dead Ground (set during a snowy and blood-stained Irish December) came out in April, with launches in both Belfast and London. The Belfast one in No Alibis bookshop was very special as it was the last time I saw my granddad, who died a month later. I’m so glad he was able to be there as he always loved books and was proud of my writing. At his funeral he was described as ‘a lifelong teacher and student’, which I think is lovely.
I’ve done lots of events since. There was Stranger than Fiction, which involved reading a bit of a new thing I’m working on, a pub quiz, and winning a PacMan lamp which now has pride of place on my desk. There was good old Crimefest, and the resulting hangover/sunburn. I also did events in Halifax and Rubgy, and a packed bookshop event near where I live in Crystal Palace, and an event at the Belfast book festival (managed not to cause people actual physical distress with my reading, unlike last year). People sometimes ask if I get nervous doing events like this, and the truth is I don’t – but I do worry that no one will come! So I’d like to thank everyone who makes it out to a library or bookshop or festival, and listens to us spout about our books – we couldn’t do it without you. (But message to the Rugby book club ladies – Colin Farrell will play Aidan over my dead body, OK?? It’s all about Jim Burgess in my head!)
Stranger than Fiction.
Launch in No Alibis, with lovely David the owner.
Teaching it what takes up the rest of my time. I taught a workshop for Chalk the Sun on tension and suspense, which was lots of fun. I’m also doing an Arvon course at the end of July, in Ted Hughes’s old cottage – but before that there’s Harrogate (maybe I should move to Yorkshire?) I’ve also been very busy with admissions for my MA in Crime Thriller Novels at City University. We are almost full for next year, which is fantastic.
Below clockwise: Chalk the Sun workshop, Halifax with Kate Rhodes and Ali Knight, at Bookseller Crow with Oli Harris, Rugby library with Julia Crouch and Colette McBeth.
When the summer comes, I have a restless urge for new projects and new shores. So I’ve set myself some ridiculous writing goals, as there’s nothing like being harried by yourself to get the words down. Tomorrow I’m off to Berlin to see my friend Kerry Hudson, whose brilliant new book Thirst comes out next week (you should read it….I got to read a proof copy on a train in Europe while the author was passed out across from me!)
Reading from The Dead Ground at the Belfast Book festival (truly harrowing parts redacted!)
There’s been a lot of talk again this week about how little money there is in writing, but I refuse to be afraid or to let it chase me away. It’s such a privilege to live like this – even right now, wearing tracksuit bottoms and a holey jumper, looking out as the driving rain falls on my garden. This is exactly how I hoped it would be.
And of course there’s always time for this….if the rain stops….