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- Martin Edwards: Crimson Snow, my anthology of classic winter mysteries for the British Library, is out now, with The Golden Age of Murder due to appear in paperback in February.
- Cath Staincliffe: I’m very pleased to be joining the writing team for the next series of Danny Brocklehurst’s detective series Stone, on BBC Radio 4.
- Ann Cleeves: The highlight for me was catching up with the whole team of the BBC drama Shetland in the big tent at the Cheltenham Literature Festival.
- Kate Ellis I’m delighted to announce the launch of A High Mortality of Doves, my new historical mystery set in Derbyshire in the aftermath of the First World War.
- Chris Simms: Recently, I signed a contract to work as co-writer adapting my supernatural suspense novel, Sing Me To Sleep, for the screen. Work has already started on the script...
- Margaret Murphy: Meetings with TV producers, the publication of the third A.D. Garrett thriller, and sell-out events have created a heady mix – and there’s one last Christmas-themed murder scene to look forward to...
One of the highlights of the year was the New Orleans Bouchercon in September. A great time was had by all, and I was delighted to receive the Macavity Award for Best Non-Fiction Work from Mystery Readers’ International for The Golden Age of Murder. I’m looking forward to the publication of the book in paperback in February. And, later next year, to its translation into both Japanese and Chinese.
Two anthologies that I’ve edited have recently hit the bookshops: Crimson Snow, a collection of classic winter mysteries published by the British Library, and Motives for Murder, a collection of brand new stories in honour of Peter Lovesey’s 80th birthday published by Sphere. The latter volume features stories by fellow Squaddies Ann Cleeves and Kate Ellis; Ann and I enjoyed being interviewed by Mark Lawson at the British Library at the start of November.
The British Library’s Classic Crime Christmas shop is themed around Murder at Magenta Manor, a mystery I’ve written specially – visitors are challenged to solve the mystery and win a book prize. The shop is open until the new year. And on 21-22 January, I’m conducting a Classic Crime week-end course at the Library. Should be fun!
I’ve been delighted at the reception for The Silence Between Breaths (Eight strangers – One deadly secret). Thanks to all the readers who have been in touch to tell me what they think, to the bloggers who hosted the blog tour and carried features or reviews and those who have helped spread the word since. Thanks also to the press, here and abroad, who reviewed it. (If you want to see what they said there are some quotes with the book on my website.) I can’t wait for paperback publication in March.
In other news I’m really pleased to be joining the writing team for the next series of Danny Brocklehurst’s detective series Stone, on BBC Radio 4, and will be writing two episodes over the next few months. Alongside that I’ll be writing my next novel. It promises to be an exciting time.
As Christmas approaches, I’m enjoying the chance to catch my breath after a very hectic autumn. The Cold Earth tour took me from Shetland to Dorset, and because many of our events were afternoon teas, I ate an awful lot of cake over the three weeks that I was away from home! Perhaps the highlight of the tour was the Cheltenham Literature Festival, when we had a reunion of the team behind the recent series of the BBC drama Shetland. It was great to catch up with everyone, including actors Dougie Henshall and Alison O’Donnell, and although we had an audience of a thousand in the big tent, it felt as if we were chatting among friends. I was delighted when the show won two Scottish BAFTAs in Glasgow last month.
More recently I’ve been in Reykjavik for Iceland Noir, a wonderful crime-writing festival. The warmth of the Icelandic authors contrasted with the chilly weather and there were lots of British and Scandinavian writers there too. At the gala dinner on the last night I was astonished to be called onto the stage to be given a special award for services to crime fiction. A very wonderful ending to my 30th year of publication.
It’s been a busy autumn with talks and Murder Mysteries in Devon, the North East, Merseyside and Manchester. The highlight for me, however, was the launch of my new historical crime novel A High Mortality of Doves. On the 15th November over fifty people (including three of my fellow ‘Squaddies’) gathered at Simply Books, an award winning independent bookshop in Bramhall, Cheshire, to celebrate what I hope will be the first book in a powerful trilogy set in the aftermath of the First World War. It’s a book I felt I had to write and I found the necessary research fascinating and moving, particularly when I discovered a personal connection to the events I was describing.
Fans of Wesley Peterson needn’t despair, however, as the next book in the series, The Mermaid’s Scream, will be published in February. All I can say at the moment is that it features a reclusive author and is dedicated to librarians everywhere.
I’d like to wish all my readers a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year!
Since our last newsletter in late summer, I was contacted by a film production company based here in the North West. The film director at the company had read Sing Me To Sleep and really liked the idea of turning it into a screenplay. Even better, he wondered if I might come on board as co-writer.
I’ve wanted to write a screenplay of one of my novels for many years, but was a bit hesitant since the standard advice from fellow authors in the event of an offer is generally, ‘Sign the contract, take the money and run!’ This is because you usually need to cut well over 50% of material in order to turn a novel into a one-and-a-half hour script.
After much negotiating over contracts, everything has been signed and we have made the first tentative steps with the screenwriting. The director has a similar love of ghost stories to me and, so far, it’s been hugely enjoyable. Fingers crossed it stays that way with all the hurdles we’ve yet to cross!
Aside from that, I have written a short story that I will submit for consideration in the next Crime Writers’ Association anthology. I hope it’s good enough, but I know competition is very tough: two fellow Murder Squad members are already prize-winning exponents of the short story art…
Once the film script is complete, I can turn my attention back to planning out the next novel. Currently, it’s parked on the side of my desk looking very neglected…
Margaret Murphy/A.D. Garrett
After a heady daytrip to London in October with my new forensic expert, Helen Pepper, for talks about story ideas with an executive producer at ITV, then on to a party at Kindle Entertainment (at Gainsborough Studios, no less!), we settled down to reality with the publication of Truth Will Out, the third A.D. Garrett forensic thriller. It’s the first I’ve written with input from Helen and we’re delighted that it’s been so well received. A big thank you to the bloggers who featured reviews, giveaways and articles in our blog tour, and to Liverpool Waterstone’s and Lingham’s, Wirral, who hosted sell-out launch events. It was lovely to see so many old friends and new. Our northeast mini-tour included The Word in South Shields (love those curves!), the Lit & Phil in Newcastle, and Howdon Library, N. Shields. Despite flooding and closed roads we had a terrific turn-out to all three. Huyton Library in freezing fog brought an atmospheric end to our travels in November, but we’re looking forward to one more – ‘Slay Belles’ – a Christmas-themed murder scene at Bebington Central Library on 10th December. More on this at www.ADGarrett.com – we hope to see some of you there!