A lot of fun in Orkney this week with my fellow Killer Woman MJ McGrath doing a panel and writing workshops at Orkney Library for Book Week Scotland. I'm very jealous of their new Hurricane Book Club which gathers to discuss a crime novel each month at the library. Then we went for a drive to Skara Brae to see a Neolithic village - including a 3000-year-old stone home with beds and dresser, and firepit, with indoor plumbing and all! An incredible place that suddenly became uncovered during a storm in the 19th century, in a wild beautiful setting (below). We set off across the main island in for dinner in a restaurant, only to find on the way home that the boot of our hire car had come open while we were in the restaurant...! Not ideal, two crime writers with vivid imaginations spooking each other out in the middle of a long, pitch-dark Orkney road that there might be someone in the boot. Anyway, we made it back safe. Thanks to everyone who came along to our events this weekend, and to Stewart for hosting us, and sending us home from a fab weekend with a bag full of fudge, cheese and whisky!
Fantastic weekend at Shetlandnoir - thanks to the organisers for a great time. Thought we weren't going to make it due to Storm Abigail, so respect to the pilot who got us there through wind and rain on a turboprop! My Killer Women group did a great panel on 'A woman's place in crime', with thanks to moderator Jake Kerridge, then I had fun on a panel about translation with Swedish thriller writers Hakan Nesser and Viveca Sten, and Scottish writer Craig Robertson (pictured). Hakan Nesser told us he makes things up sometimes to see if the translators spot it. I reminded me that I'd made up the name of a road in Amsterdam for City Of Strangers, and hoped it didn't actually mean 'Stupid Head Road', or something similar. For me, this really is one of the best things about being an author, being allowed to travel to crime festivals all over the UK, and hang out with other authors and readers. Finished off with a trip to a craft fair and a night in The Lounge bar. Can't wait for Icelandnoir next year now.
My crime-writing group Killer Women were really honoured to host the first ever Sunday Times Crime Club reader event in Mayfair this week. The club is quite new, and offers a regular Crime Club newsletter for subscribers, with tons of interviews, reviews and news about crime fiction. At Killer Women we love doing events that explore crime fiction in a little more depth. On this occasion, my co-founder MJ McGrath and I spoke with two invited guests, Ann Cleeves and Lin Anderson, about gender in crime fiction. It my first time chairing a panel event so I didn't sleep much the night before, but my fellow writers kept the discussion lively and there were some great questions from the audience. Thanks to the Sunday Times Crime Club for having us, and to everyone who came and made it a great night.
It was very special returning to my home town of Glasgow to launch my fourth novel, City Of Strangers last week. Thanks to everyone who came along to support it. This novel is part set in Scotland, and I've been spending a lot of time in Stirling, Glasgow and Edinburgh recently on the first part of my mini Scottish tour. Next month, Orkney and Shetland! We had a great launch night at Waterstones Argyle Street, then a fascinating event at Waterstones Newton Mearn, where I discussed how to research a crime novel with a real-life forensics expert. The book is now out, with the Sunday Times calling it a 'clever novel about identity' and Red magazine 'a twisty heart-racing thriller'.