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Ann's diary » Archives » May 2011 » Trains and boats and planes

[Previous entry: "VERA, the moment of truth"] [Next entry: "North of the Border - just"]

Tuesday, May 31st 2011 : "Trains and boats and planes"

Since the last diary entry I'm amazed at how much has happened. First there was the Read Regional announcement as part of the Hexham Book Festival. Read Regional is a scheme that celebrates writing in the North East and I was proud to be one of the chosen authors along with seven other novelists, poets and short story writers. It was fun to get the first reaction to VERA at a Read Regional event in a delightful Hexham art gallery - and to meet a reader with the same name as one of my suspects...

Then it was off to Shetland on the overnight ferry. I was heading to the islands to research the new Perez book and to introduce Andy Belshaw, the Pan Macmillan sales manager, to some of my favourite librarians and to the organizers of Wordplay, the Shetland Book Festival. We're hoping to bring more authors to the islands and I thought Andy needed to see for himself the passion Shetlanders have for reading and writing.

In Shetland I stayed with my great friends Ingirid and Jim in Brae and had my first trip out on Jim's boat. He's retired as harbour master at Sullom Voe and has recently set up a charter business. He's a great seaman. If you're heading north and you fancy a day's fishing or would like to see Shetland wildlife from the water, then get in touch with him at Shetland Marine Charters. The trip even includes some of Ingirid's homemade bannocks - and she's the best cook I know.

I flew south because I only had one night at home before getting the train to CrimeFest in Bristol. CrimeFest is a very relaxed and friendly festival, I think. Not as intimidating as the big US conventions or as adrenaline-fuelled as Harrogate, it's a chance to catch up with old friends. Paul Rutman was there to talk about the adaptation of VERA and again I had the opportunity to discuss the art of translation - this year with agent Isobel Dixon, editor Nick Sayers, the Independent's Boyd Tonkin and thriller writer Deon Meyer. On Friday night I was honoured to announce the shortlist of the International Dagger at the CWA reception. This is my last year as chair of judges and I'd like to thank Karen Meek, Ruth Morse and John Murray-Browne for their conscientious and detailed consideration of the submitted titles. And for making my role so easy.

After Bristol, there were a couple of free days at home to catch up with my family, then I was on the road again - this time just in the north east of England for a series of informal signings in W H Smith's. I'm grateful to Peter Day for acting as chauffeur in Northumberland and to his managers and staff who made me feel so welcome. And to the readers who came out to chat.

Now I have a two weeks to catch my breath (and write a few thousand words) before I'm away again. Next stop Nantwich and Oswestry. I look forward to seeing you there.

Posted by Ann at 04:17 PM GMT

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