On the road
Last night Helen and I were in Morpeth at a library gig. It was only as I walked through the door that I remembered I'd set a scene in HIDDEN DEPTHS in the building. It was a weird sensation - like walking into a book. I almost expected Samuel Parr, one of the characters, to be sitting behind the desk. It was a good evening - a full house, well organised and Borders were there selling books.
Tomorrow I'm off to South Wales, to another library event, in Port Talbot. Hours on the train. I like long train journeys as long as there are no screaming children or screaming businessmen. Sometimes I can write, but even when I can't it's a chance to brood about a book. Once I've done the re-writes on the second Shetland novel it'll be time to start the third. I won't really be thinking about plot or character while the train goes south through Derby and Chesterfield and Birmingham New Street. It's more about capturing an atmosphere or a theme. A process it's hard to pin down.
Next week it's another long train journey to North Devon. I grew up in Barnstaple and returning there will be strange too - almost the same sensation as walking into Morpeth Library last night. I'm doing the Waterstone's Supper Club with Stu and Margaret, but on Thursday morning I'll have a chance to catch up with my old school friend, Sue. I'm looking forward to that. It makes the hours in the train worthwhile.
While I'm travelling around this country Tim, my husband, is preparing to go to the South Atlantic. He leads natural history trips for Wildwings Tours. It's chaos. Piles of thermal underwear and optical equipment and bird books all over the house. Any spare time is spent mugging up on penguins and petrels. Part of me envies him the adventure. But at least you don't get sea sick on the train to Tiverton.
Exposed in Sweden
The publication of HIDDEN DEPTHS was officially last Friday, though the launch party was a week ago, to avoid the annual Pan Macmillan sales conference. It's always nerve wracking waiting to get a reaction to a book. This time, because RAVEN BLACK was so successful, it was even worse. The launch was fine, but that was easy because the Lit and Phil was full of family and friends. What I liked best was bringing together Andy Belshaw the Pan Mac reading partners rep and all the brilliant librarians in the room. The start of a great new project I think.
I started to relax about HIDDEN DEPTHS when Val McDermid emailed to say she'd liked it and then there were a couple of kind reviews. Most valued were the positive comments from the staff in the library in Huddersfield where I used to live. If they'd hated it, they'd have said so. No question.
It's been much easier to interest the media in the new book. Seems a cruel reality that you get the promotion when you don't need it so desperately. Woman's Hour wanted to speak to me and to Helen, my CSI friend. I went down to London on Sunday night and stayed in a lovely hotel. Couldn't sleep despite the luxury. Too nervous and anyway I felt I shouldn't be there. What I think they call the impostor syndrome. Helen travelled down that morning, got stuck in her train in Peterborough and had to be taxied to the Radio Peterbrough studio. You never have been able to tell though. She sounded dead calm.
RAVEN BLACK has just come out in Sweden. I did an interview for Swedish Glamour magazine - almost ditched the interview request as spam. A Swedish friend said the book had been reviewed on early evening television and was 'greatly exposed' in a big bookstore in her home town. I like being exposed in Sweden - much easier than talking about it at home.