One thing about this job, it's never boring. I've been meaning to update this news page for ages but I seem to have been constantly on the move since July, working, travelling and travelling for work. I'm certainly not complaining. After nine months in my study alone, writing Book Four (as yet untitled), I was ready for a break-out and a few adventures. I didn't quite count on a dog bite in Kentucky, tornado warnings and being driven fast along a motorway in Amsterdam by a taxi driver watching the World Cup on A CAR TV?? - but it has left me with a notebook of ideas for characters and plots, new contacts in the crime (writing!) world and a healthy new respect for poodles.

So before I return to Book Four, which I have missed dreadfully - I have a mental image of us running towards each other across a field, arms out - here are the highlights.

First, my summer started with a murder - not a real one, but the brilliant creation of crime writer Ann Cleeves, who rolled out her new mystery-story library initiative, Murder In The Ravenswick Hotel, at the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate. I was one of 20 crime authors who hosted a table of crime readers, each of us with the task of working out WHO DID IT. Actors from Ann's Shetland TV series added suspense to the night, and it was jolly good fun – even if our table came nowhere close to the answer. I realised as a crime author I'm probably expected to have more insight into solving a crime, but nope - not a clue. 

I'd already fitted in some early summer research trips for Book Four to  Edinburgh and Amsterdam (which I survived despite the football-mad taxi driver) - then it was off to Canada and America with my family for a 3000-mile roadtrip. As a writer, I think it's too easy to become permanently attached to your laptop, so I made a big effort to leave mine at home and just enjoy the summer. (That's me canoeing down the Green River with my good pal, American writer Wes Berry.) Having said that my other big love apart from fiction is travel writing and photography, so I wrote a family holiday piece for The Times (out next year) and took a few hours to have lunch with my lovely US editor Emily Bestler in New York. I say that casually, but in my head I was, of course, shouting 'I'M HAVING LUNCH WITH MY AMERICAN EDITOR IN NEW YORK!!!' because even now, it still doesn't feel real. 

Then it was home to start promotional events for the paperback launch of The Hidden Girl. My new publicist Sam has set up some great events for me, and sent me off on my first ever Blog Tour (which I'll post here soon). I also had the thrill of seeing my first poster at Euston Station. It was a special moment, which I shared with the platform staff who took lots of photos for me. The guard then wound me up rather brilliantly that I'd have to buy a ticket to back off the platform - took me about five minutes.

So now I'm back at my desk, ready to get going. I'm especially excited this autumn to have made contact with experts in the field of crime detection and forensics, who are helping me with the forensic and procedural aspects of crimes in Book Four. Although one unscheduled phonecall did lead to strange looks in the doctor's waiting room this week. 'So, if we do do that to him, how long do you think it would be before the police find his body...'

Later in the week I'll post some photos of my launch party for The Hidden Girl. For now, back to work...