I had a very busy year in 2017 with two books published. My most recent crime novel ‘The Search’ featured on CBS Reality’s true crime TV series ‘Written In Blood’ and ‘Hunting the Hangman’, my WW2 novel, told the true story of the assassination of Nazi General Reinhard Heydrich. I was also writing ‘The Chosen Ones’ which is published by Penguin on June 14th. This is the fourth book in my north east crime series, featuring DS Ian Bradshaw and investigative journalists Helen Norton and Tom Carney. It had a name change along the way and was previously known as ‘The Disappeared’ but I really like the new title and Penguin’s cover design is superb. I hope the story lives up to it.
Once again, I will be judging the ‘Pen to Print’ Novel Writing contest this year. This is a fantastic initiative from Barking & Dagenham Council to encourage aspiring authors and I was honoured to be asked to choose the best books from the short list of finalists, though it was very far from easy last time. We managed it in the end and our worthy winners received their prizes from none other than the legendary Martina Cole at a special awards ceremony in London.
As always, I’m really looking forward to the Theakstons Harrogate Crime Festival in July and hanging out with my fellow crime writers there. For some reason we all seem to like a drink, so most of that socialising tends to occur in the bar of The Old Swan Hotel or on its lawns outside. Then there’s Bloody Scotland in Stirling in September, where I will once again don an England shirt to join Mark Billingham’s England Crime Writer’s football team to do battle with the Scottish Crime writers, while being roundly booed by a hostile home crowd, whipped into a frenzy by their captain Ian Rankin. It’s a great game and win, lose or draw the beers afterwards with the old enemy are always well earned.
Of course, I’m already working on book five in the series, which will be published in 2019. There’s just the small matter of finishing the bloody thing, which is always a daunting prospect but whenever I get doubts, I remind myself I have had eight novels published so far. There were times when every single one of them felt like it would never be completed but I kept going and got there in the end. The able assistance of my agent, editor and the superb team at Michael Joseph keeps me on track. As I always say, this writing lark might be hard but it certainly beats working for a living.