Midsummer Update

With Jeanette and Jane at Crime in the Court

The summer so far has been a bit of a whirlwind, what with moving house as well as trying to get on with writing book 2 (which after many frustrating false starts, is coming along nicely, at last!)

I kicked off my events schedule with an appearance at Newcastle Noir, followed by Crimefest (where I almost missed my first panel after accidentally ending up in Wales), then on to my first solo events at Hammersmith and Ealing Libraries. I was the Crime Readers Association (part of the Crime Writers’ Association) featured author of the month in May (you can find my posts here). I worked on two Flashflood Journals, and had a brand new flash fiction story included in the National Flash Fiction Day anthology, ‘Landmarks‘. I had a great time at Crime in the Court, then a crazy double header last Saturday with Beaconlit in the morning with Dave Sivers, Eve Ainsworth and Jules Wake, followed by a 3h drive across to Felixstowe to appear on a panel there with Jane Isaac, Jeanette Hewitt and Andrew Whittaker. I also ran the Felixstowe Book Festival adult short story competition, and recently attended launches for Anya Lipska’s ‘A Devil Under the Skin‘ and Sarah Ward’s debut ‘In Bitter Chill‘, and met up with loads of great crime writers, bloggers and readers.

Meanwhile, in the background, there has been much going on in the run up to the first BritCrime Festival, which is organised by author Helen Smith. I’m very pleased to be doing a panel there on Sunday with Colette McBeth, Jenny Blackhurst and Clare Mackintosh. Helen and several others have worked non-stop to get this festival up and running – it’s all online and there will be lots of author/reader interaction, not to mention giveaways and a virtual pub and cafe. I’ll actually be doing my panel from a hotel room, probably still in bed, as I will be New York…

…taking part in the Debut Authors’ Breakfast panel at Thrillerfest, the annual festival organised by ITW (International Thriller Writers), who are another volunteer led organisation for authors who have been very supportive of me via their Debut Authors’ Programme. This is particularly exciting as it’s my first US based festival and I imagine it’s going to be bigger than anything I’ve been to so far. I’ll report back, with photos, of course. I actually planned the NYC trip as a surprise for Mr H, and managed to do all the organising behind the scenes and keep it all a secret until… Friday, when he guessed where we were going… damn it! On the plus side, it means he can pack his own suitcase now 😉

In other news, Black Wood is doing really well, with 200+ 4 and 5 stars reviews on Amazon. Thank you so much to everyone who has read it and enjoyed it and kindly left a review. It will be popping up on the tube as part of Books on the Underground on 14-15th July, the audio book is due out in August, and I sold my first foreign rights, to the Czech Republic and it will be out there late next year, which is very exciting… and I’m delighted to be featured in this month’s Writing Magazine.

The rest of my summer will be taken up with finishing book 2 (news on that to follow soon) and of course, the annual trip to Harrogate to drink Pimms on the lawn at The Old Swan. Then there’s my event with Fergus McNeill at Marylebone Library, and the biggest launch of the year for James Law’s brilliant ‘Tenacity‘ at the submarine museum in Hampshire. It’s a hard life, being an author…

Hope you’re all having a great summer and reading lots of books in the sunshine!

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You can see a full list of events HERE.

BLACK WOOD can be purchased HERE (free shipping worldwide).

Now the dust has settled…

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. I can’t even remember how many guest posts and Q&As I wrote to help promote Black Wood. I had telephone interviews with newspapers. I had almost daily discussions with my publisher about launches and publicity plans and all sorts of other things that have already become a blur. I had daily obsessive checking of my rankings on Amazon, and I had my first exposure to reviews that weren’t always favourable. On top of all this, I’ve been ridiculously busy in my day job and have had loads of other real life things to deal with too.

I haven’t stopped!

But I’ll tell you what – it’s been exciting 🙂 I had two (colour co-ordinated) book launches in Waterstones, both of which went brilliantly, despite my initial nerves. We had mini chocolates with book cover wrappers, and we had tote bags made by my brilliant husband. In Chiswick, I was interviewed by Martyn Waites in front of an audience of 72 people, and in Edinburgh I was interviewed by Craig Robertson in front of 47. I signed and sold loads of books (some were almost stolen… accidentally of course). There was a good mixture of friends, family and enthusiastic strangers, and from the audience feedback, it appears that I am a natural at public speaking… not sure about that, but a small alcoholic beverage beforehand certainly helped steady my nerves! I still can’t believe I had two bestselling authors there to support me and cheer me on. Not only that, the amazing Karen Sullivan from Orenda Books made me a cake!

Launching my book could not have gone better. Black Wood has been in the kindle top 100 for 35 days. It has been a #1 bestseller in Scottish Crime, Vigilante Justice and Psychological Thrillers and reached a peak position of #14 overall. People have been sending me photos of my book in bookshops. Fantastic reviews have been flooding in, and everyone has been so excited and supportive that I still feel like I have to pinch myself on a daily basis. Yep… I’m a published author now, and it feels wonderful.

I can’t wait to do it all again… 🙂

Click here to see all the photos from London

Click here to see all the photos from Edinburgh