It's a prize for the best debut novel by a British author, and is judged by the people of Waverton, a village just outside Chester. Previous recipients of the award include Mark Haddon and Tom Rob Smith, and this year I'm up against 25 other new authors, whittled down from around 80 nominations.
You can find out more about Waverton Good Read at their website, and view the full list of nominations here.
I was also really pleased to be asked to come and speak at the announcement of the long list on Monday night.
After meeting some of the organisers for a very welcoming dinner, we headed over to the meeting and I spoke to about 60 of the participants in the Good Read about how I got started writing and my long journey to publication. As always, my favourite part was stopping talking, and letting people ask questions. Some really good ones, as you'd expect from a roomful of fiction experts. We talked about the differences between British and American thrillers, violence in crime fiction, how I find time to write (beats me, I just do) and many other subjects. Here's me doing the moody author pose:
The morning after, Gwen from the WGRA committee was kind enough to take me on a whistlestop tour of Chester, which is a very cool medieval town that I'm keen to return to soon.
We saw the Cathedral, took a walk along the city walls (allegedly it's still legal to use a bow and arrow to shoot a Welshman within the walls after dark), and saw one of Chester's most distinctive medieval features: a system of galleries running down the main streets at the heart of town known as the Rows.
You can read more about the Rows here, if you're a history buff. Gwen pointed out that there was one row that was difficult to let to businesses because it was constantly dark. That combined with the fact everything is built on Roman-era human remains and there are rumours of hauntings, made for an evocative surrounding. Surely someone should write a spooky Chester-set mystery called The Dark Row. Maybe I'll give it a go someday.
And just to complete my literary excursion, when changing trains on my journey back home I saw this paperback on a charity stand, and was powerless to resist. I mean come on: It was the modern miracle... or a sinister force of destruction. I have a ton of things to read, but SKYSHIP is now way higher on the list than it ought to be.