I'm just home after more than a week in the west country. It started with a wonderful library event in Yate, near Bristol. Brilliant organisation from the staff, a sell out crowd and a responsive audience.
Then on to Bristol for Left Coast Crime. Murder Squad appeared on Thursday afternoon, while people were still trying to check in, but we all felt the gig worked well. John Baker couldn't be there, but still managed to steal the show - Cath's partner is a puppeteer and had made a puppet John for us.
I'm never sure what to make of the big conventions. It's lovely to catch up with old friends, but somehow they're very daunting. I feel as if I shouldn't really be there. Like some stranger who's walked in from the street.
Then it was out on the road with Margaret Murphy, meeting readers and promoting our books. Highlights for me were workshops in Weston-super-Mare and Stab in the Dark 2 in the Theatre Royal Plymouth.
Now I'm home. And there's no excuse at all for not starting the new Shetland novel.
Games for Winter
Five years ago Left Coast Crime was held in Anchorage and I went, more to see Alaska than to attend the convention. They don't get many writers visiting Alaska and we were all given the chance to go out into the community to run workshops in schools and libraries. I was sent to a beautiful place called Gustavus in the Glacier National Park, and then ran a writers' workshop in a prison near Juneau. I don't send postcards or take photos, but do write short stories to remind me of places. GAMES FOR WINTER came out of the Gustavus experience and was published in the CWA anthology.
A couple of years later a young producer read the story and took out an option for a feature film. Nothing happened. That's the way of film and TV options. A flurry of activity and a little bit of money, then disappointment. But now it seems things are starting to happen to GAMES FOR WINTER. The option's been renewed and there's a director and an experienced script writer on the project. I'm trying not to get too excited...
Soon it'll be Left Coast Crime again - held for the first time in the UK, in Bristol.
A new entry at last
I've been prompted to write this because Maz, one of the librarians in Huddersfield, said it was a month since the last entry. It made me realise someone might be reading it.
Since coming back from Shetland things have been frantic. There was the Ottakar's evening with Lesley Horton and John Connor. Ottakar's staff in Huddersfield are always really welcoming and although it had snowed earlier in the day there was a good turn out. Three Opening the Book training sessions. Meeting up with the rest of Murder Squad in Ilkley to work on the Left Coast Crime presentation. And real work - preparations for our World Book Day event in Huddersfield Library. This was a chance to talk about books I've enjoyed as part of the InterCrime project.
The event was called DARK DAYS, DARK DEEDS and was a celebration of crime fiction from Scadinavia, Russia and Iceland. We found two young actors to read from the books, there were refreshments with a Nordic theme. The audience of around 40 seemed to enjoy it. More importantly there was a queue at the end of people wanting to borrow and reserve the books, and that was what it was all about...