I wrote somewhere that I fell into being published like Alice down the rabbit hole, since when life has been growing curiouser and curiouser. What would possess a night owl like me to leave home at 5.30 in the morning? Yes, I might have been off on holiday, but three hours travelling to Harrogate for a day doesn’t sound like my idea of a holiday. There’s a hint of an explanation in my destination – and my impulse to create a puzzle out of nothing for my readers is another clue that I write crime fiction.
Time was my life was pleasantly humdrum. Now every day brings new excitement – invitations to literary festivals, interviews on BBC Radio stations, inclusion on panels of crime writers, requests to talk to book groups, libraries, writers’ circles, and regular approaches by bookshops wanting to host book signings. I have, as the cliché has it, ‘reinvented myself’, and my transformation into a successful author has happened in the space of a year. My debut crime novel, CUT SHORT, was published in June 2009, the first story I’d ever written.
Some things don’t change. Half of life seems to pass in waiting… on the phone, online, in traffic, in shops, at bus stops, on station platforms... I’m still waiting but now I’m waiting to hear what my publisher thinks of my draft for DEAD END, what my agent thinks of my synopsis for my next book, and whether CUT SHORT will be selected from the shortlist for a CWA Dagger Award…Yes, my debut thriller has been shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger for best first book by a previously unpublished writer. The shortlist was announced at a lunchtime ceremony at the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate.
So that’s why I left home at 5.30 in the morning to travel to Harrogate, falling down another rabbit hole into a Wonderland where I swapped horror stories about book signings with Ian Rankin and Mark Billingham. Not a bad day for a fan of crime fiction – a fan for whom reality sometimes feels like the least believable story.
CUT SHORT (No Exit Press)
ROAD CLOSED (No Exit Press)