On the road
September was a crazy month and my first real book tour. We started in north east England and ended up in London for the Radio Times Festival, via Bloody Scotland in Stirling, Largs, Elgin, Shetland, South Wales, Nottingham, Newbury and Norwich! Bloody Scotland was as friendly as ever and I had a wonderful session chatting with Alex Gray. THIN AIR had been shortlisted for the Scottish Crime Book of the Year award, and though it didn't win, I enjoyed the awards dinner, which provided a chance to chat to other writers, agents and publicists. (Please note other awards organisers: it's MUCH kinder to announce the winner before the meal). The following day we took a small group from Bloody Scotland to Shetland. James Tait, a local tour guide led us to some of the locations in the books and the BBC drama and it was fun to talk about the background to the stories.
Then the focus turned to Vera. The Moth Catcher had already received some nice reviews so I felt confident in talking about the inspiration behind the book. They were all great events but some stand out: there was a great welcome from the folk of Elgin, especially from librarian Sheila and her husband, and the atmospheric Water Mill Theatre in Newbury shared its space with ducks ambling past in the sunshine. I'll always remember the community spirit of the little hall in Mumbles and the magnificent church in Penarth. I'd like to make a special mention of Noirwich, a new crime writing festival. There I was talking all things Vera with scriptwriter Martha Hillier and special advisor CSI Helen Pepper and I'd love to go back if they run it next year.
We ended up with The Radio Times Festival at Hampton Court. Again this was a new venture and a way of introducing people involved in TV and radio to the magazine's readers. It was rather grand with marquees and stands spread over the grass. I was there to talk about the transition from page to screen with Elaine Collins the executive producer, Gaby Chiappe the screen writer and Dougie Henshall who plays Jimmy Perez in Shetland. After the session there was a rush to Paddington and the train to the west country and a holiday on the lovely island of Lundy.
Later this month my non-fiction book about Shetland will be published. It's full of stunning photographs and I take readers through a year on the islands, looking at their history, natural history and traditions. It's my very personal take on the place but I hope everyone who likes wild and interesting places will enjoy it.