I was about 8 when I first read the word 'wanderlust.' I lived in a small village and had never travelled anywhere very interesting, but I understood what it meant immediately and knew that I had it. Even then I wanted to wander, to see new places and meet new people. And I still have wanderlust. I even love the process of travelling, the passing landscape as I sit in a train, the excitement of landing in a different country by plane, the movement of the ship when I'm on my way to Shetland.
That's just as well, because since coming back from the US in May, I've hardly stopped moving. I was in London for Brit Noir and a meeting with my publisher in the middle of the month and a couple of days later I was back in Northumberland to take the VERA scriptwriters on a whistle-stop tour of the county. I wanted to give them a real sense of the place before series 4 starts filming. Two days later I was on my way to Shetland with another set of scriptwriters and Elaine Collins, the executive producer on both shows, to introduce them to the islands. We had a brilliant time, meeting a bunch of teenagers in the High School, the police inspector, an ornithologist and the skipper and crew of the Fair Isle mail boat.
I was home for a couple of days before I was on the road again. There was a great library event in Walsall before I landed up in Bristol for CrimeFest. I missed CrimeFest last year and it was lovely to be there for 2013. If you've never been it's very friendly, more like a US convention than a traditional book festival. My favourite event was with my Swedish publisher and a Dutch translator, organised by Danny Hahn, head of the Centre for Literary Translation. We discussed the process of translation from English and the problems of having to translate popular books very quickly and it was refreshing to hear a different European perspective on the publishing industry.
After CrimeFest there was another library event - this time in Yate in Gloucestershire - and another pleasant and interesting evening. Then a short hop to Cheltenham for the science festival, to talk in the panel 'Inside the Criminal Mind' and to be interviewed on the fact and fiction of forensics by Quentin Cooper for radio's Material World. I felt a total intruder in a science festival and was pleased to be with my old friend, pathologist James Grieve, especially as we had a sell-out crowd.
And now? Now I'm back in Shetland to meet the winners of a Waterstone's Bookshop competition. Then there's Nordicana in London... And North Uist to research a short story for BBC Radio 4 and Bloody Scotland... And then perhaps a couple of weeks at home.