I'm just back from a couple of days in Shetland, showing the islands to some friends from the US and chatting through plans for Shetland Noir. Before that (and the reason my friends were in the UK) was the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime-writing Festival. I'd expected the weekend to be something of an ordeal. I was programme chair and although the planning was done by a fabulous committee and the staff and volunteers do all the real work and cope with glitches in accommodation, I felt responsible for making sure everyone had a good time. It's hard to really enjoy a party if you're the person hosting it.
In the end though I felt pretty relaxed throughout. The readers were brilliant, the panels seemed to be both informative and entertaining and I was surrounded by very good friends. Brenda Blethyn turned out to add a bit of glamour to the event - and to join me when Vera won best detective, voted on by Dead Good Books readers. Neither of us expected Vera to win so it was lovely when Lee Child announced the result. Thanks so much to everyone who voted. Steph McGovern was there from BBC Breakfast to interview Paul Abbott of Shameless fame and she and her partner were great company in the bar afterwards. Pathologist James Grieve and forensic soil scientist Lorna Dawson took part in the forensics panel. And my old friend Stewart Bain was there from Orkney Library. So although I did feel like a cross between a mother hen and a wedding planner continually asking people if they were having a good time, it wasn't nearly as stressful as I'd expected.
I'm looking forward to having the summer to work on the novel before The Moth Catcher is published in September. Then I'll be touring for much of the month, travelling around the country from Stirling and Bloody Scotland to South Wales, with lots of stops in between. I hope to catch up with some of you then.