That was the year that was... And look out 2016!
2015 was busy, professionally and personally. In effect I wrote three books - the Shetland non-fiction, which has some fantastic photos and captures, I think, my passion for those bleak and beautiful northern islands, the Galaxy Quick Read Too Good To Be True and a new Shetland novel. Personally things got pretty tough when my daughter, now a single parent with 4 kids, had severe mental health issues and we moved into her house to look after her children for a while when she was in hospital. At that point I'd have given up everything that had previously seemed important to have her well again. Now she's doing brilliantly and I can look back with a degree of detachment. I think most writers have a sliver of ice in the heart that turns them into observers even when times are dark; perhaps much of our best writing grows from the most difficult episodes in our lives.
There were some amazing moments in 2015 and many of them came about because of events which brought me into contact with readers. Malice Domestic, the US convention that celebrates traditional crime fiction, was as friendly and as well-organized as it always is. This year I was programming chair at Harrogate and that gave me the chance to call in favours, twist arms and pull in some of my favourite writers. It was a joy to meet Sara Paretsky again - she's been a heroine for years - and I was so pleased that Arnaldur Indridason agreed to join us too. Brenda Blethyn and Letitia Knight, the star and producer of VERA, were my guests at the Pan Mac dinner. But it was the readers that I remember most and the whole weekend was full of relaxed and bookish conversation. November brought Shetland Noir and Scottish Book Week. Storm Abigail couldn't dampen our spirits in Shetland and I loved the mad dash round Scottish bookshops and libraries during Book Week.
Now we're all looking forward to 2016. There'll be a new series of SHETLAND. It starts on Friday January 15th and I hope everyone who loves the books will be watching. I can't wait! Then the following month series 6 of VERA comes to our screens. The adaptation of The Moth Catcher, the most recent of my novels, will be episode 3. Later in the Spring I'll be travelling again - back to Scotland for an event in Islay with pathologist Professor James Grieve, to Phoenix in the US for Left Coast Crime and to Dubai for the Emirates Book Festival.
The spring also marks the launch of the Quick Read list. I'm honoured to be a part of the project this year. Quick Reads are short books that have been written to be accessible to adults who are new to reading for pleasure in English. Too Good To Be True has been chosen as one of the World Book Night giveaways so I'll be a part of that celebration too. Look out for events in the run up to this - I'll be posting details on the events page of my website early in the New Year.
I'm hoping to keep the summer free to work on a new Vera novel, but in the autumn I'll be on the road again to celebrate Earth To Earth, my new Jimmy Perez novel. I expect to launch it in Shetland as usual, but I'll be at library and bookshop events throughout the country too.
I wish you all an exciting New Year full of books that help you escape, challenge your preconceptions, and introduce you to thrilling places and engaging people.