The great news is that my fifth Joe Plantagenet novel WALKING BY NIGHT was published on 31st March and it’s had some lovely reviews. I really enjoyed getting back into Joe’s world and, hopefully, there’ll be more mysteries in the series in the future.
I’ve also finished THE HOUSE OF EYES, Wesley Peterson’s twentieth mystery with a Sicilian twist. I sent it off to my publisher a few days ago and I’m now awaiting my editor’s verdict. This waiting time is always a little ‘nail-biting’ and all you can do is keep your fingers crossed and hope it meets with the editor’s approval.
It’s been a busy month. I enjoyed a lovely visit to Alsager Library where I spoke to a large and enthusiastic audience. It’s great to meet readers and I’m looking forward to quite a few library visits this year. The next one will be at Wrexham on April 22nd in the company of two of my friends from the Murder Squad (see Events for more details).
March also saw one of the highlights of the crime writer’s year – the Crime Writers’ Association’s annual conference. This year it was held in the lovely city of Lincoln and included some fantastic talks on police and legal work as well as a book signing at Waterstones and a talk on new developments in Forensic Science at Lincoln University. Our hotel was in a fantastic position overlooking the stunning cathedral (pictured below) and it was wonderful to get together with friends and colleagues again.
At present I’m preparing for CrimeFest in Bristol. I’m taking part in a panel about Writing the Other (now I understand that as a discussion about how an author can get into the head of a main character who is quite unlike themselves – hope I’ve got that right). I’m also moderating a panel on Secrets and Lies and I’m currently reading the books of my fellow panellists, which is something I’m enjoying very much. I sometimes find it strange that being an author these days doesn’t just involve writing books. You also have to speak and do events and other bits and pieces of publicity. It’s all really interesting but occasionally it’s a little frustrating when you all you want to do is write your book.
And another exciting event is happening in this coming month. The new CWA Anthology TRULY CRIMINAL is published. It is my first venture into writing about ‘true crime’ and my contribution is a chapter about the notorious Maybrick case. In 1889 Florence Maybrick, the American wife of a wealthy Liverpool merchant, was accused of poisoning her husband. The couple lived in Battlecrease House in Aigburth, a leafy Liverpool suburb, and the case has always interested me because the murder was said to have occurred a short distance from where my father grew up (and from where I went to school). I found the research particularly fascinating, especially when I delved into the attitudes and prejudices of the day. But I’d better not say any more. One of the best parts about being in the anthology is the fact that I’m in such distinguished company - many famous crime writers have contributed to the book (including Peter Lovesey, Catherine Aird, Andrew Taylor and even Margery Allingham). It’s all very exciting!