A flying start
For the last three weeks we've been away on our travels. Through my publisher, my husband and I got a gig lecturing on a cruise ship that was making its way round the world. We were asked to do the fortnight between Sydney and Singapore. We took a few extra days in Sydney and that gave me the chance to meet some of the lovely people who work there for Pan Macmillan and to hear some of the problems of selling books across the vast distances of the continent. There was a huge appetite for book related sessions on the ship - the reading group was a bit tricky to manage because so many people turned up! We were discussing Tim Winton's CLOUDSTREET, a fabulous novel set in Perth, one of our ports of call. My husband got a large and enthusiastic audience for his talk on Australian birds and was happy to wander around Adelaide's Botanic Gardens showing birds to interested passengers. After a very hectic February it was great to take some time out and we had some lovely moments, but have decided, I think, that cruising really isn't for us.
Back home, there wasn't much time for jet-lag. I had to get the revised manuscript of the new Shetland book back to my editors and a few days after our return there was the preview screening of SILENT VOICES,episode 2 of the new series of VERA, in the Queen's Hall, Hexham. In the last diary entry I explained how impressed I was by Gaby Chiappe's script and the finished film more than lived up to my expectations. It holds the spirit of the book, has more clarity and cohesion than the episodes in the first series, and looks stunningly beautiful. The preview was sponsored by Northumberland County Council and local councillors explained the value of VERA to tourism to the area. More and more production companies are choosing locations in the north east. It was good to meet up with David Leon, the actor who plays Joe Ashworth, too. We haven't been given a precise date for the broadcast of VERA 2 yet, but have been told that'll be 'towards the end of April.' Look out for it!
The day after the preview I was in York, chatting to readers in Waterstone's. I love meeting readers and sharing their enthusiasms. Thanks to Kirstie and the rest of the staff for setting up the event. Now I have a couple of weeks to catch my breath before the Scarborough Book Festival, London Book Fair and a mini-tour of Balloch, Milngavie and Glasgow. I'll report back on all that in the next diary entry.