2017 - Bring it on!
A lot happened last year. Politically, it seems as though there's been a shift in the way many of us see the world. Suddenly, it's OK to be rude about people we dislike, to dismiss the views of experts, to be taken in by news stories so outrageous that they're unlikely to be true. There's always been a tendency to give moral value to our own prejudices, to choose to read the papers that make us feel comfortable rather than those that challenge our world view. But this is on a different scale, disagreeable and dangerous. I hope for a kinder, more reasoned, more open-minded new year. I know I rant about the importance of libraries, but these places house impartial information as well as stories that give us glimpses into lives very different from our own. In 2017 we will need them more than ever.
Personally, 2016 was so busy that it seems a bit of a blur. There was travel - to book festivals in Phoenix, Arizona, Dubai, Reykjavik and throughout the UK. To libraries and bookshops and prisons. There was the Big North Book Run, sponsored by Pan Macmillan, and bringing together libraries in the north east, writers, readers and the fabulous Forum Books, based in Corbridge. This collaborative model of reader development seems to be something that could be rolled out throughout the country. After all, we all need more readers! I celebrated my 30th year of being published and my 30th book. It was an honour to be Libraries Champion for World Book Day.
Now it's time to look forward. There will be more travel - a US tour starting in Seattle and leading up to Malice Domestic in Bethesda, Maryland, a Canadian tour after Toronto's Bouchercon and a visit to Estonia for the Tallinn Literature Festival. There will be a new novel - The Seagull, featuring Vera Stanhope and set in my home town of Whitley Bay. And I'll be writing my very last Shetland book. VERA will be on our screens again and a new series of SHETLAND will be filmed. Exciting times!
So a huge thank you to the readers, booksellers and library staff who have supported me throughout 2016, to the team at Pan Macmillan, to Sara my agent and Maura my publicist. There are unsung heroes, like the Pan Mac reps who chauffeur me about and Roger and Jean who look after my website. And my Murder Squad mates, who turn out for gigs and provide a bed, gossip and beer. I can't wait for 2017 and look forward to working with you all again.