Horsens Crime Fair
There are two kinds of book tour. The first is perfectly pleasant; you meet readers in libraries, shops or festivals, you stay in rather anonymous hotels and catch glimpses of the countryside through the window of your car or train. There's little engagement with the town where you're working. Of course you answer readers' questions and share fascinating conversations about books, but often there's a rush to move on to the next leg of the journey.
The second kind of tour is an adventure. You become part of a reading and writing community for a while and form friendships that can last forever. My US post-Malice Domestic Convention jaunts are like this. They feel more like a road trip with best mates than anything approaching work. I'm very much looking forward to heading out to North Carolina with Marcia Talley, Elaine Viets and Frances Brody in May, and to the convention itself. Malice is a time for catching up with old friends and making new ones. Bethesda with its small bars and restaurants lends itself to good conversation.
My recent time in Denmark at the crime fair at Horsens was just as friendly. It helps that Keith, my publisher there, has solid experience of the book trade, but has just set up his own business so he's full of enthusiasm and bright ideas. Our stand at the fair was cheerful and professional, the people manning it were passionate about books, and there were biscuits, cooked by Keith's mother-in-law Margareth to pull people in. Horsens is a small town in Jutland and the festival site is a disused prison that houses artists and crafts people in some of its building. The fair attracts publishers and writers from all over Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia - I bumped into editors and writers I'd met previously in Harrogate and Iceland! And it attracts readers, who come to buy books and talk to their favourite authors.
The festival is organised by librarians and I had great conversations with library staff about the different approach to book promotion and selection. It was good to hear that there's a waiting list for the Shetland books in Copenhagen City Library! I came away too with the sense that there's a tremendous affection for the TV show VERA which has been broadcast there, and especially for Brenda Blethyn's portrayal of the central character. I hope they take just as kindly to the novels - my publisher Forlaget Hetland publishes the first one there in the Autumn.