Saturday, 28 May 2011


Cut Short, Road Closed and Dead End at Waterstones in Guildford where I signed 76 books today. Who says we don't love our bookshops?

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

I love a good review!

Review of Dead End in Saga Magazine:

"Sometimes nothing else will do but a good, old-fashioned, heart-hammering police thriller. This is it - a no-frills delivery of pure excitement. Abigail Kirby's husband and kids assume she's at work, but then her corpse is found, with the tongue cut out. It’s another case for DI Geraldine Steel, and before the twists and turns (involving Abigail’s teenage daughter and a dodgy online friend) are done with, Geraldine will be fighting for her own life. A classic teckie that grips from the start."

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Visiting Bristol

I've just come back from a fabulous weekend in Bristol, packed with friends and events. Before catching the train from London to Bristol I found Dead End at number 70 on the WH Smith's chart at Paddington station. On the left I'm signing a copy of Dead End in one of the stores at Paddington, and on the right is a photo with a customer for whom I signed a copy in the other branch of WH Smith's at the station.

Meeting Ruth Dudley Edwards, Ailene Templeton and Linda Regan before our panel (left). Pauline Rowson hadn't arrived yet but we're all there at the event (right and below).

After the panel I went for a live interview on BBC Radio Bristol with Graham Torrington.

After my interview, we took a short detour to take a look at the amazing Clifton suspension bridge before returning to CrimeFest to catch a panel with Chris Carter, Tim Weaver, Howard Linskey and NJ Cooper talking about the thrills of crime writing.
By then it was time for the CWA reception where some of the 2011 Dagger shortlists were announced, we met up up with writing friends old and new, and shared a glass or two, courtesy of the CWA.

I spent Saturday at Waterstones Bristol Galleries where the staff were friendly and helpful, as always in Waterstones. I met lots of local readers who bought 65 copies of my books. Dead End sold really well, as expected, with its great cover.
Then it was back to CrimeFest to get changed for the Mulholland Reception (and more wine).
On the left you can see a few happy faces (photo courtesy of the unflagging Ali Karim) Matt Hilton, Ali's beautiful daughter Sophia, and a little person who forgot to pack any heels at the Mulholland Reception. Then it was on to the Gala Dinner where we heard Christopher Brookmyre, Lindsey Davies, Deon Meyer and Peter James. At least I'd remembered to pack my best frock to announce the winners of the Mystery Woman short story competition for 2011.
Returning home after such an exciting weekend, the programme for Harrogate Festival had arrived in the post. It was a thrill to see my name in it!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Creative Writing

Can Creative Writing be taught? What do you think? The question has been knocking around in the public arena ever since the University of East Anglia set up its course, with such brilliant alumni as Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro, and no doubt the question was debated in a quieter way long before that.
It does sound like a contradiction. Creativity is personal; it can be inspired (think Mozart, Shakespeare) a connection with the subconscious on a deep level, an outpouring of... of... I'm struggling to define 'creativity'. Yet I’ve agreed to teach Creative Writing for a whole week in France.
Before I put anyone off joining us for a week in France at a wonderful venue with fantastic food and local wines, I should add that this won't be my first venture into teaching Creative Writing. I run successful workshops for the Society of Authors, at Get Writing hosted by the University of Herts, and for a few smaller outfits. So far the experience has proved challenging and great fun.
The name 'Creative Writing' is useful as a label because everyone has a clear idea of what Creative Writing is. But at the same time the title is misleading because creativity isn't a skill that can be acquired through training or learning of formulae, although it can be nurtured and facilitated.
What then is the value of Creative Writing classes? The answer is that for most of us it takes more than creativity to turn ideas into a book. Character building, plot development, structure, pace, tension - all the essential elements that make up an engaging narrative, all these are skills that can be acquired and honed, and this craft of writing can be taught.
Perhaps ‘Creative Writing Classes’ is a bit of a misnomer. But ‘Crafty Writing Classes’ doesn’t have quite the same ring, does it?

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Dead End has arrived

I just received a copy of Dead End - the final version that has now arrived in bookshops. It looks fantastic (in my opinion!) and has already had some great reviews. sold out as soon as the book arrived thanks to preorders, but have now restocked. So it's available on amazon as well as in Waterstones around the UK. Here's a link to the latest review, from Helen Hunt on Bookersatz and there are more below and on the No Exit site:

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Treat Yourself to a Week of Writing in France

I'm thrilled to be running a week long creative writing workshop in the South of France this October and hope you can join us in a beautiful location for a week of writing, talking about writing, more writing, fabulous food and local wines... and more writing.... I can't wait! Please check the link soon if you're interested as places are very limited.

To get you in the mood, I've posted a few photos taken at some of my recent workshops.