Time seems to have rushed by so fast since I last sat down to write this diary. What with a trip down to London, a reunion with my fellow Murder Squad members and nursing a sick computer while trying to finish the first draft of a novel, it’s been hectic. Now Christmas is looming with cards to be written and presents to be bought and every time I hear Slade’s Merry Christmas Everybody blaring from the speakers in a supermarket, it sounds like the bell of doom! How am I going to get it all done, especially when there’s 9 for Christmas dinner this year? And now I’ve come down with a terrible flu bug – but to a writer that’s no excuse for not going into work...you can still write in bed in your dressing gown while supping industrial strength lemsip.
So what have I been up to since we last met? Well, the most exciting thing (and it was exciting!) was being initiated into the Detection Club. I wrote about it in March but for those of you who missed it, here’s a taste of the ceremony http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01gw1f3
The dinner was held in the Dorchester in Mayfair (never thought I’d end up anywhere quite so posh) and the highlight of the evening came when the lights were doused, the candles lit and the initiates processed in behind Eric the Skull. Then the time comes for the initiates to swear the oath with their hand on Eric. It was quite an experience and I’m so honoured to have become a member. I must confess it’s the history of the Club that I find so thrilling – the fact that I’m following in the illustrious footsteps of so many distinguished writers, past and present.
The following week I met up with all my fellow Murder Squad members for a lovely evening at Lingham’s Bookshop in Heswall on the Wirral. As each of us writes a series (some of us more than one) we decided to speak about the pleasures and problems of bringing the same characters back for a new case every year or so. It was a lively discussion, of course, and it was lovely to see everyone again...and retire to the pub afterwards for a well-earned drink.
However, don’t think a writer’s life is all glamour and excitement. Ninety eight per cent of the time it’s far from glamorous – you sit on your own in scruffy jeans, staring at a laptop while a story forms in your head...then the thing you write isn’t good enough so you delete it and write it again, probably about ten times before it’s fit for human consumption. Then there are the usual household chores to fit in. I once mentioned during a library talk that I had an idea when I was cleaning the toilet – one lady was amazed that a writer would clean her own toilet...I soon put her right. Maybe it’s because the majority of our time is spent doing such mundane and solitary work that when we crime writers get together, we tend to make the most of it.
Anyway, all that remains is for me to wish everybody a very happy Christmas and all the best for 2015. The year kicks off with the publication (on New Year’s Day itself) of THE DEATH SEASON – hope it’s an auspicious start to the year!