On short stories
I've been thinking about short stories recently. Writing a couple, but also looking at ways to bring short fiction to a wider audience. GAMES FOR WINTER, written originally for a CWA anthology has just had another outing in DECADE OF CRIME, an e-book produced in association with the Theakston's Crime-Writing Festival and Good Housekeeping Magazine. I'm in starry company here because the book includes stories by Harlen Coben, Val McDermid and P D James. One reader said that she was 'seriously creeped out' by my tale, which was just what I intended!
I was asked to read a ghost story at Phantoms at the Phil, an event that takes place twice a year at the Lit and Phil library in Newcastle. There are regular contributors - art historian Gail-Nina Anderson and poet and professor Sean O'Brien - but also an invited visitor. My ghost story was set on the tidal island of Hilbre in the Dee Estuary. My husband and I were the only residents there when we were first married and I was able to use a real and truly scary experience of being lost in the fog during an incoming tide, to create part of the plot. I'm planning to put STRANDED on-line as part of a collection of island stories in September, so look out for it.
I've worked on a number of projects with Prof Lorna Dawson of the Hutton Institute in Aberdeen. She's a forensic soil scientist and a member of the Murder, Mystery and Microscopes team, which works to bring science to a wider audience of fiction readers and school children. Lorna provided the forensic report for my Glass Room inter-active murder mystery, which has been performed in libraries all over the country (and at last year's dinner at the Harrogate Festival).
We thought we might develop the collaboration further and Lorna has worked with me from the beginning on a short story that will be read live at Bloody Scotland in September and then broadcast on Radio 4. It's set in North Uist, the home of Willow Reeves, a new character in the Shetland books, and we spent an eventful few days there last month. I'll turn that into another murder mystery and we hope to provide a pack for libraries, charities and independent bookshops. It'll contain a more detailed forensic report on the Machair, the very special soil found in the island, and even some botanical illustrations as extra clues! Look out for that later in the year too.