After a hectic schedule of signings, festivals and events since RED BONES was published in February, it was good in June to have some solid time to write. Whenever I can manage a block of a few days without other commitments, I realise that this is what I enjoy best. It feels like a treat, a holiday, to get up early, sit at the kitchen table still in my pyjamas, and lose myself in the story. Although this is how I earn my living now, it still has the wicked pleasure of an indulgence. Iím working on the first draft of a new Vera novel. The working title is CRUEL WOMEN Ė one unsympathetic male described this as a tautology, but itíll do for now. ..
There have still been distractions of course even in this time set apart for the book. Weíre in the run up to Harrogate and Iíve been pulling together the script of the Murder Mystery Dinner planned for the Saturday night. I sketched out a plot and asked the suspects to contribute to the text. I think the result is very, very funny. If youíre planning to come to Harrogate and you havenít booked for the dinner, then youíre missing a treat.
The Readersí Group has been a feature of the Festival since it started and this year Iíve been a bit more organised than on previous occasions. We wanted to feature new crime writers. Iíve asked publishers to nominate authors and provide me with proofs or finished copies, which Iíve sent out to local book groups. At the session in Harrogate weíll all come together to discuss them. Five of the six authors will be there too Ė itíll give them the chance to meet readers, perhaps for the first time. The number attending the Festival Book Group has grown every year and what started off as an intimate discussion between a dozen people has developed into something rather different. Each time we need a bigger room! But we still intend to keep our original informality and friendliness, so do come along, even if you havenít read the books. Youíll make friends and you might meet a new star.