Friday, 17 December 2010

Help Needed - Support Bookshops!

December was a busy month - until the snow struck. So far I've had to cancel 5 author events this week, in different branches of Waterstones. I really hope readers in Chichester, Winchester, Guildford and Windsor support their local bookshops which have plenty of Cut Short and Road Closed in stock. Please feel free to contact me for a scanned signature, either for yourself or as a Christmas present, if you can get to Waterstones. They need your support. This week, which should have given them a boost, has been a disaster.
In more positive news, here I am earlier in the month awarding the trophy to John Ward, winner of Watford Writers short story competition, which I was invited to judge. The standard of all the entries was amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed reading them. I'm delighted to have been invited to judge the 2011 competition!

And here are a few more Watford writers - a very talented bunch.

And of course I've been out and about book signing at least once a week in December - here's a photo taken at Waterstones in Staines

and WH Smith's in Watford (photo courtesy of the Watford Observer)

We braved a blizzard to reach Waterstones in Hemel Hemstead. (If you enlarge the image you can see an unusual 3for2 offer...) We struggled to make it home again, ending up with the front of the car wedged against a kerb at the bottom of a hill. We managed to reverse away from the kerb by putting a pitta bread under each wheel - luckily we'd stopped off for some shopping on the way! While stuck, we met a girl who had abandonned her own car at the foot of the hill. As she as going our way, we were able to offer her a lift home! (We did holding her ransom note but she told us her family had no money to speak of. All they could offer was one small child. Having had two of our own, we reverted to our original offer and dropped her home.)

We made it to Waterstones in Harrow yesterday. Here's an old photo taken there in June 2010 (we forgot to take one today). Add a thick cardy and a fleece to my outfit, and a few more white hairs and wrinkles, and it could have been taken today!

WH Smith's in Harrow today, back to Waterstones tomorrow, and then I'm done!

Apologies to Waterstones in Chichester, Winchester, Guildford and Windsor for being unable to get to you this week. I hope to visit you all early in 2011.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

I'm done - what now?

I've delivered the MS for Dead End to my publisher and am back to polishing my next MS, which is virtually finished.
On paper (sorry!) I've achieved a heck of a lot in 2010 with Cut Short shortlisted for a major award, Road Closed well reviewed and selling as fast as Cut Short, and not one but two more books written.
So as the year draws to a close, I should be feeling pretty pleased with myself.
But (one of the most powerful words in the English language. Like an inconspicuous pivot, almost invisible, it turns everything around) I'm feeling deflated, low, dejected, fed up. (Love blogging where I can repeat, reiterate, witter on in horrendous prose, unlike my 'professional' prose or, as Katie Price allegedly calls it my "book words").
How do other writers react when they reach the end of the monumental (sometimes monstrous) creative effort that goes into writing a book?
Do you party? crawl away and hide? or indulge in rambling on a blog?
This isn't only a question for writers, of course. It applies equally at the conclusion of any task that has required effort. How do we enjoy achievement when the work is done? or do we only feel alive when we're facing challenge? What about the challenge of coping when the challenge is over? (OK, I'll stop now.)

Monday, 6 December 2010

A Serious Business

In unusual circumstances, books can be published within weeks. Michael Jackson’s biography was clearly prepared in advance and given regular updates, right up until his death at which point I seem to recall there was a race to be the first to have a book on the shelves.
For most authors, the process takes longer. There is a time lag between delivery of the final manuscript and publication. So the manuscript for Road Closed was delivered in December 2009 for publication in June 2010.
Addicted to writing, I started on Dead End as soon as Road Closed was finished. By writing I refer not only to the secretarial task of committing words to paper or screen, but also to the thinking, research and editing that go into producing a book.
A year has passed and YESTERDAY I sent Dead End to my publisher for the proofs. The story that has dominated my thoughts for the past year is now out of my hands. Finished. Handed over. Delivered. Submitted. Gone.
Am I pleased with what I have achieved? Am I excited about the publication of my next book?
As is so often the case, reality is proving very different to my expectations. I would have expected to feel deliriously happy at submitting my manuscript - but “terrified” might be a more apt way to describe how I’m feeling right now!
True to form, I’m already working on my next book, due with my agent in a month’s time. I’m currently working on final edits for the book that follows Dead End. I’ll have to wait more than a few weeks to see that one in print but, in the meantime, you can guess what I’ll be doing... yes, the killer in my fifth book is already clamouring to be written.
The last thing I want to do right now is think about Dead End, as it prepares to be launched into the public domain, to run the gauntlet of reviews.
While writing is fun, I am beginning to realise that being an author is a serious business.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

How to Write Bestselling Crime Fiction

Could you write bestselling crime thrillers? I'll be giving away some of my secrets - I've agreed to run a workshop 'In for the Thrill' about writing bestselling crime fiction, at the GET WRITING CONFERENCE in February 2011 at 10.45am. You can book a place here: