Happy New Year!
I'm never very sure about Christmas and new year. Great for the kids of course, but (and this is going to sound seriously sad) I love working. I get a bit twitchy if I'm distracted for too long from writing. Usually at this point in the year I'm finishing a novel, but my editor asked if I could get the new Shetland in a bit early to come out in 2014 and I haven't had the edits back. And Christmas is a hard time to be dreaming up new ideas. So I'm a bit bereft. I'll be glad when the decorations are packed away and I can concentrate on work again.
2013 flashed past in a moment. There was lots of travelling - Shetland of course, but the islands of Skokholm and Orkney featured too. Then further afield there were trips to festivals in the US, Australia and Iceland. A chance to meet other writers and to confirm my prejudice that crime writers and readers are the kindest people out. I missed out on St Hilda's in 2013, but got to CrimeFest, Harrogate and Edinburgh. The highlight was the VERA panel at Harrogate, when Brenda Blethyn had the audience in fits and executive producer Elaine Collins and scriptwriter Paul Rutman explained the process of transferring a book to the screen.
2014 is already gearing up to be just as exciting. I'll have two novels out - HARBOUR STREET in January and THIN AIR in September. And both VERA and SHETLAND will be on our screens again this year. I'm already looking forward to Left Coast Crime in Monterey and to meeting old friends there. My husband's coming with me this time, but he'll spend his time looking for wildlife instead of attending the panels. We have put together a joint presentation about the stories and natural history of Shetland though, so you might catch up with us as a couple during our tour of the west coast...
As I begin a brilliant new chapter I can't forget the people who've supported me throughout the year: my agent Sara, with all her co-agents overseas and the team at Pan Macmillan: Catherine, Jeremy, Sophie and Becky. Then there's Andy Belshaw and his colleagues, who are out in the field, spreading the word about new titles to the hugely important network of independent booksellers. And I don't forget how lucky I've been. There are dozens of authors who write fantastic novels and who don't get the recognition or sales that they deserve. It's a tough business, so here's a challenge to readers for 2014. Take a chance on a writer new to you, a young author, or a mid-lister who's fallen out of favour. Borrow a copy from the library if you can't afford to buy it. You might be rewarded by a lifetime's reading pleasure.