I'm not really a party person, but when Visit Shetland offered to bring a flavour of the islands to London to celebrate the launch of WHITE NIGHTS, I was delighted. The Pan Macmillan team - Geoff Duffield, Helen Guthrie and Julie Crisp - worked closely with Andy Steven from Visit Shetland and Gwilym and Donald from Shetlands Arts to put together a fabulous evening. I'm not sure this would have been possible without email and conference calls, but still it must have been a logical nightmare and I'm grateful to everyone who made it seem so effortless.
WHITE NIGHTS starts at an exhibition in a gallery on Shetland's west coast and Helen found a great venue for the party - October Gallery in Bloomsbury. It has the same sense of space and light as Bonhoga, the gallery in Whiteness that provided the inspiration for the Herring House in the book. We had fiddle music from Kevin Henderson. a reading by actress Marnie Baxter and brilliant food. This certainly wasn't the usual polite publishers' launch do. There was a lovely mix of guests - friends from Shetland on their way south for a wedding, people from school and university who, because they live in the south, I seldom meet, independent booksellers, reviewers and other writers - it was a great honour to have Colin Dexter there and to meet Jessica Mann, whose books I've always enjoyed. Murder Squaddie Margaret Murphy travelled down from the north west.
I hope Visit Shetland felt this was a useful way to promote the islands. Certainly at least one person has already booked a holiday as a result of seeing the images displayed on the night. The Front Row review on Radio 4 this week featured the setting as much as the characters (though I think characters very much grow out of place). The Perez series seems to have an international affect too - I've just heard that a businessman from Tronso took his wife on the first direct flight from Bergen to Sumburgh because she'd read RAVEN BLACK in Norwegian and wanted to see where the book was set!