Monday, October 25, 2010

Guildford Book Festival and Cotswold Bookstore

Last week was notable for the mileage my little car got under its bonnet. On Tuesday, my daughter Phillipa (she who has just finished at the Royal Academy of Music. And is "resting") offered to get up at the crack of dawn - or before, actually - and drive me to the Guildford Book Festival, where I was on a panel with Linda Regan, my old Bad Babes buddy, Suzette Hill and chaired by Simon Brett. No photographs, unfortunately, but we had a good time and each received a bottle of wine for our trouble. Lovely to see Simon again, as we rarely cross paths, yet always come up together on Amazon.

Then on Saturday a friend offered to drive me to Moreton-in-Marsh, where the Cotswold Bookstore was hosting a launch/signing for my latest book, Murder Imperfect. Publisher Hazel Cushion, of Accent Press, was providing wine and nibbles. I am sad to say that the RAC route I downloaded before we left was - er - pants. We ended up in Cheltenham. Luckily, my son Miles telephoned to say good luck, and I was able to ask him to look up the book shop's number. They therefore knew we would be late.

When we arrived at this really lovely book shop, one window of which was full of my books surrounding a large version of the map Susan Alison created for them, I was greeted by a cheer and applause. The shop was packed, and I was set to signing straight away. I met so many lovely people (real ones, not authors) who all bought multiple copies of the books. However the treat for me was getting together with so many friends. In the photograph above, left to right, are Susan Alison (map creator, who signed books with me) Gilli Allan, Adrian Magson (crime writer and friend) Katie Fforde, her sister Jane Gordon-Cumming and publisher Hazel Cushion. This was taken by Tony, book shop co-owner, right at the end of the event after the wine had been packed away, and many friends had already left. Also there at some point were Anita Burgh, the writer who most encouraged me well before I became a novelist, Catherine Jones, some other RNA members and Maureen Vincent-Northam, another Accent Press author. I expect I've forgotten people, but it wa a bit of a blur, and Hazel kept me well supplied with red wine. (Surprise surprise.)

I was then presented with a beautiful bouquet and a copy of the new Justin Thyme book, and Hazel took me, my friend who drove, Adrian and his wife and Hazel's two daughters who had been helping with the event, to lunch in a lovely pub. We had a lovely, stress free drive home and I collapsed on the sofa. I felt like a star, and had the best time ever. So thank you to everyone who came, to Hazel for the wine, nibbles and lunch (and for being a fab publisher) and most of all, to the Cotswold Bookstore, Tony, David and Nina, for asking me.

This week, I'm off to The Write Place, Dartford, to do a guest spot. It's all go, you know.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Murder Imperfect is out!

Early, as usual. I only checked on Amazon because my friend Paul Magrs reported that his latest, The Bride That Time Forgot, due on October 28th, was there.  Never mind, at least that means it'll be available when I do the Crime and Coffee event at the Guildford Book Festival on Tuesday with Simon Brett, Suzette Hill and Linda Regan.

Also, next Saturday I have my very first proper launch/signing at the Cotswold Bookstore in Moreton-in-Marsh. A strange venue for books set in Kent, but they "discovered" me due to my similarity (!) to the Agatha Raisin books and I've sold quite well, apparently. They've done a feature window with a large copy of my lovely Steeple Martin map, specially done for me by the artist, Susan Alison. I'm going to bring it home and hang it on the wall.  I'm hopeful of seeing lots of friends at the signing, as there are many RNA members lurking in the Cotswolds. I've also been fortunate enough to secure a lift from a mad friend who doesn't mind leaving at 7 in the morning. Thank you, Peter.  This is A Good Thing as my lovely publisher, Hazel, is bringing wine and nibbles and I would have been seriously upset if I hadn't been able to partake.

The Thursday after that I am to be a guest speaker at The Write Place writing school in Dartford, on November 1st we are announcing the short list for The Green Carnation Prize and on November 11th I'm on a panel at the Folkestone Literary Festival with Thomas Emson (who happens to be married to an old friend, Marnie Summerfield Smith) and Danuta Kean, industry commentator and all round good person.  Finally, on December 1st we announce the winner of the Green Carnation, hopefully at the Cadogan Hotel. OK, who gets the connection?

So, busy, busy, busy and still trying to work on the second version of Murder to Music, which has to be with the publishers by the end of December (manic laughter) for publication on April 11th 2011. It is the first of the three book deal announced at the London Book Fair earlier this year and the cover is here:

Also, back at the London Book Fair, Hazel negotiated a deal with an Australian distributor, who reports that I'm selling quite well down under. That's nice. Also a new deal with a US distributor who is pushing me at the Americans.  All good. Why aren't I a millionaire?

Oh, and the other thing, my nice webmistress, Aimee Fry, has revamped my website for me, so if anyone reads this, could they let me know what they think? And of everything else, of course!