greenhousesWell things have been incredibly busy since I returned from the CWA Conference.  The garden is blooming and all the vegetables we planted seem to be flourishing.  We’ve acquired a greenhouse and the tomatoes, courgettes, lettuces etc are growing well.  It’s very satisfying to eat what you’ve grown from seed.  However, as a crime writer I promise there’ll be no poisonous plants amongst the harvest.

But time in the garden has been limited.  The deadline for my next novel has been moved forward so I’ve been rising at unearthly hours to try and get the final draft finished.  My crime fiction loving friend really loved the book when she read it, which came as a great relief, and now I’ve just sent it off to my publisher and I’m awaiting the verdict with trepidation.  The new novel is called THE SHROUD MAKER.  My fellow Murder Squad member, Martin Edwards, has called his latest book The Frozen Shroud – seems shrouds are all the fashion at the moment!       

crimefest132One particularly welcome distraction was a weekend at CRIMEFEST in Bristol.  It was a great convention with loads of authors and fans from all over the world.  My panel was called Ask a Policeman and my fellow panellists were Kerry Wilkinson, Pauline Rowson and J.C. Martin, ably moderated by Ann Cleeves.  We discussed our detectives and why we chose to use a police officer as our main character rather than a private eye or similar.  I said that I chose a police detective because the chances of anyone in any other occupation (including private eyes these days) dealing with murder after murder were relatively slim and to sustain a crime series with a non-police character might be stretching credibility.  But there are some who might disagree with me and great crime writers in the past have built many a successful series on the deeds of amateur sleuths. 

crimefest13I attended a lot of panels at CRIMEFEST and was really interested to hear Robert Goddard talk about his work as I’ve enjoyed his page-turning books a great deal over the years.  It was really good to meet old friends again at CRIMEFEST and make new ones.  And it was particularly lovely to meet and chat to so many readers.  After all, they’re the people we write for…the people who make everything worthwhile.

I’ll soon be out and about to celebrate the CWA’s CRIME FICTION MONTH with events in Wilmslow and Blackpool and I’ll be arranging book signings to coincide with the paperback publication of THE SHADOW COLLECTOR on 6th August.  Check my events page for details.