Bloody Scotland is a crime-writing festival, not a rude description of the country to the north of Northumberland. It's a new kid on the block and it took place over a weekend in early September. I knew before I got there that it would be wonderful. It was the brain child of authors Alex Gray and Lin Anderson and I could tell by every communication in the run-up to the event that it would be fantastically organised and promoted. And that's exactly how it turned out. From the lovely welcome (and the designer scarf in my author's goody bag) to the Sherlock Holmes dinner on the final night, I had a great time.
The festival is held in Stirling, and there was a chance to look at the castle and wander around the town besides sitting in on some great panels. All the great Scottish crimewriters were there - Ian Rankin joined Peter James to argue that crime fiction should be considered for the Man Booker Prize, Stuart MacBride joined a Detective Inspector and a forensic scientist to look at the fact and fiction of the crime scene, Val McDermid was in conversation with Norwegian novelist Karin Fossum, and there were the magnificent Scottish women Alanna Knight and Anne Perry, joining Lin and Alex to represent the range of contemporary crime-writing. I was on with Peter May, whose hugely popular novels are set on the island of Lewis. And more importantly the readers came in their hundreds, filling the auditorium of the Albert Halls and the Watertsones bookshops.
Plans are already underway for next year, so if you get a chance do come along. You'll find a great Scottish welcome.
And finally... Voting for the Crime and Thriller Awards is still open. I do rather feel that I'm with the other shortlisted authors under false pretences, but if you enjoy my books I'd be very grateful for your vote. Vote too for Brenda Blethyn and David Leon as TV's best crime-fighting duo. I do think that the relationship between Vera and Joe is at the heart of the novels and the ITV series and that they're natural winners! You can find the voting details on the home page of this website.