Tuesday was always going to be hard work. A 5.30 start, to leave the house just after six to get the train from Wakefield. I was training library staff in Lincoln for Opening the Book - a day called the reader friendly library. I love running this training. I've done it so many times before that I'm on top of the material. I like meeting staff from different authorities, stealing ideas that work, passing on ideas that have worked for me. But it's tiring. On the way home there was an hour's wait at Retford station, so all I wanted when I got in was a big glass of very cold white wine and some mindless television.
I didn't check my emails until just before I went to bed. Even when I saw the number of waiting emails I didn't think there was anything special. I'm on lots of mailing lists through work. Then I read the first one from Jean, who looks after my website. A forward of the press release announcing the shortlist of the Duncan Lawrie Dagger. RAVEN BLACK was one of the 6 nominated books. Completely unbelievable.
Since then it's been lovely. Messages of congratulations from lots of friends. An enormous bunch of flowers from my editor. Murder Squad has put together a news release to go out to our newsletter subscribers. There's a bit of a panic about what to wear to the awards dinner, but my daughter is scouring the charity shops in the posh bits of Bristol to look for a designer cast off which might do.
I've just started work on the new Shetland book - the next in the quartet. I feel under a bit of pressure because of the success of RAVEN BLACK. But I'm planning a trip to Shetland before the awards ceremony at the end of June. It'll be good to celebrate the nomination with friends there and give the book a kick start.
A new case for Vera Stanhope
I've just finished the re-writes on HIDDEN DEPTHS and sent the script back to my editor at Pan Macmillan. The first two chapters will go into the back of the paperback of RAVEN BLACK which will be published in September. But for a flavour of the new book - featuring Vera Stanhope - here's a first draft of the cover copy -
A hot summer on the Northumberland coast, and Julie Armstrong arrives home from a night out to find her son murdered. Luke had been strangled, laid out in a bath of water and covered with wild flowers.
This stylized murder scene has Inspector Vera Stanhope and her team intrigued. But then a second body - that of beautiful young teacher Lily Marsh - is discovered laid out in a rock pool, the water strewn with flowers. Now Vera must work quickly to find this dramatist, this killer who is making art out of death.
Clues are slow to emerge from those who had known Luke and Lily, but Vera soon finds herself drawn towards the curious group of friends who discovered Lily's body. What unites these four men and one woman? Are they really the close-knit, trustworthy unit they claim to be?
As local residents are forced to share their private lives and those of their loved ones, sinister secrets are slowly unearthed. And all the while the killer remains in their midst, waiting for an opportunity to prepare another beautiful, watery grave...
CSI on the common
Chorleywood had its first Literature Festival this weekend. Forget the big festivals put together by professionals who spend all year planning and raising funds and sponsorship. This was down to the passion and hard work of two women and their friends. Sheryl Shurville runs the bookshop and Morag Watkins is the library manager and between them they've put together an imaginative event which has brought the community together and attracted a range of authors.
Helen Pepper, my friend and real CSI, and I went south to start off the weekend. We set up a crime scene on Chorleywood Common. There was a tent, a body and lots of people - although the common is very big and some of them got lost. Helen talked them through the scene, answered questions, then I talked about fictional crime scenes and read from RAVEN BLACK.
It was a brilliant event. It stayed fine all evening and when it got dark there was hot chocolate and hurricane lamps (and midges). Good luck for the rest of the festival. And for next year...
We have a winner in the competition to find a title for the new Vera Stanhope book. Sarah, my editor at Pan Macmillan, has chosen HIDDEN DEPTHS from the many suggestions from library staff. We think it'll work very well with the jacket design. A bottle of bubbly has already gone to Dawn from the Kirklees Information Office in Huddersfield.