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Ann's diary » Archives » November 2007 » Celebrations

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Tuesday, November 20th 2007 : "Celebrations"

I heard last week that RAVEN BLACK has been short listed for the Martin Beck award: the Swedish equivalent of the Duncan Lawrie translation dagger. Of course Iím delighted. I love Scandinavian crime fiction Ė just finished Jo Nesboís REDBREAST, a moody, gripping mainstream thriller with the sort of emotional depth you donít expect in a book that pacy. Itís brilliantly translated too. For the Martin Beck Iím up against two of my heroes, Leif Davidsen and Arlandur Indridason. Itís great just to be in the same list as them.

Iím celebrating the end of the first draft of the Shetland spring book too. Because I donít plan a book in advance, the first draft is nowhere near the completed novel. Itís a framework on which I can hang the details that will bring the place and the people alive. I donít do much advance research either; Iím more interested in the story than in the facts when I start writing. Now I know where the gaps are. I need to get more info on what itís like to have a difficult labour (that should be easy because my daughter is a student midwife), on killing a pig (I hope Jon whoís agriculture officer for Shetland can help with that, or my friend Ingirid who told me what a horrible job it is) and I need to know what itís like to take part in an archaeological dig.

Archaeology plays an important role in Shetland and in the third Perez book, but Iíve picked up everything I know about it from occasional episodes of TIME TEAM on the telly. Val Turner, Shetlandís archaeologist has been very helpful, but as sheís based in Lerwick and I live in the North of England, a regular chat is a bit tricky. So a serendipitous meeting at a drinks reception a few weeks ago is another cause for celebration. The party was at the Forensic Soil Conference in Edinburgh. It was mostly for scientists, but some crime writers had been invited along to the dinner too. I was there with my good friend Margaret Murphy, a scientist by training, who does proper research for her fine novels. As soon as we walked into the venue we met two young and scarily bright delegates.

One of the women, Anna Williams, is a forensic anthropologist and before weíd even sat down to eat sheíd answered a few of my questions about old bones. Since then sheís been even more helpful Ė I bet she regrets handing over her card!

Iím meeting Margaret Murphy tomorrow. Iím going to be guest speaker on the crime writing course sheís running at the Hurst Arvon Centre in Shropshire Ė another gig she set up for me. I definitely owe her a drinkÖ

Posted by Ann at 12:14 PM GMT

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