Sunday 5 August 2018

What I've been doing lately

I wonder how many blog posts in the year 2018 being with "Sorry I haven't blogged in a while..."? Well, this is another.

Anyway, I thought it would be good to post an update of what I've been up to over the last while. First up, the annual Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Festival in Harrogate.

As usual, this was a great opportunity to chat to other writers, catch up with my editor Francesca and generally mingle with book people.

Following on from last year's success, Orion did another great job with the Incident Room - a suite in the Swan Hotel they booked out for the weekend and decked out with some gruesome props, and a bunch of great events.

I arrived at the festival fashionably late on the Friday, in time to be one of the jurors grilled by Steve Cavanagh for Thirteen Live, along with Neil White, Stuart Neville and Martyn Waites.

Saturday started with The Hungover Gameshow, hosted by the Two Crime Writers (aka Luca Veste and Steve Cavanagh) and for legal reasons, bearing absolutely no similarity to Pointless.

I had a pretty good teammate...

We didn't quite manage to win, making it to the final round before being defeated by Val McDermid and Mark Billingham's superior crime fiction knowledge. The whole thing was recorded, and it will be available to listen to sometime soon on the Two Crime Writers website.

My last event of the weekend was a panel on series fiction, hosted by the excellent Marnie Riches. It was me, Rob Sinclair, Emma Kavanagh and Daniel Cole. We got to discuss the challenges of writing a series character, our inspirations, how much research we do, and how we plot the books. 75% of us used spreadsheets to keep things straight. I felt at home.

Sunday and the long train journey home, during which I was able to catch up on my edits for book 6 (which isn't a Carter Blake book).

...and then I was straight into the next thing, which was filming an episode of the brilliant CBS Reality series Written in Blood with my fellow author Simon Toyne.

If you haven't seen it, the series involves Simon talking to a crime writer about a case that has inspired something in their work, or that they have a local connection to. I ended up discovering a serial killer almost literally in my back yard...

The episode will air in the UK as part of the new series in the autumn, and I'll be sure to let you know as soon as I have a date. The whole experience was fascinating, and Simon was a terrific host.

I rounded off a busy couple of weeks with a talk to the Waterstones Durham reading group, followed by a signing. It was nice to actually stop in Durham for once, rather than just seeing it from a train window. A cool city and a great store.

I even got to fix the mistake on p288 of Don't Look For Me.

Next up on the festival front, I'm going to be making the trip to St Pete's, Florida for my first Bouchercon in a few weeks, at which I'll be on a panel with Meg Gardiner, Jennifer Hillier, Elizabeth Little and Neil S. Plakcy, moderated by Kristopher Zgorski. Can't wait to hit my first US festival.

And before that, I'm going to be making a short research trip to the Scottish Highlands for that non-Carter Blake book I mentioned earlier.

I'll have a lot more to say about that one soon. Watch this space...