Newsletter May 2016

Hunting for Crows
My new book was published 18th March and it’s doing really well. It’s been in the Top Twenty of the British Detectives category on Amazon almost since its release. I’m not giving anything away when I tell you that at the start of the book, a man drowns trying to save his dog. The death of this animal incensed an American reader into giving me three stars, yet the same reader probably doesn’t bat an eyelid about all the men, women and children being murdered in every other crime novel you care to name. In my defence, be assured, no animals were harmed in the writing of this novel. To find out more about Hunting for Crows, click here.


Literary Festivals
The sun is occasionally making an appearance here in the UK, signalling the start of the literary festival season. The main ones you might want to take a look at are:
Brighton Festival, Brighton, East Sussex 7th-29th May. It’s more an arts festival than a book festival with a host of plays, poetry readings and art exhibitions. Authors include: Pam Shriver, Tracy Chevalier and Howard Jacobsen.
Hay Festival, Hay-on-Wye, Wales 26th May-5th June. ‘Woodstock of the mind’ as it is affectionately known, will feature everything from Hilary Mantel to David Gilmour (with his wife, Polly Samson). It has an international side too with similar festivals are taking place at various times of the year in Mexico, Ireland, Spain, Peru and Columbia.  See the website for more information.
Crimefest, Bristol 19th-22th May. This is one of the biggest crime festivals in Europe and to prove it, they’ve lined up two fantastic guests, Peter James and Ian Rankin.
In all, 43 literary festivals will be staged in the UK in May. Is it the same where you live? Drop me a line with what goes on in your part of the world.


Deceased Celebrities
A large number of celebrities have died this year and we are only a third of the way through. These have included: Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Glen Frey, Harper Lee and now Prince. A crude survey for the Radio 4 Programme More or Less and covering all BBC platforms (radio, tv, web etc) found that the BBC reported on 5 celebrity deaths from Jan-Mar in 2012, but this leapt to 24 for the same period in 2016.

Is there a single cause? It seems the growth in TV, radio, and music in the 1960s and 70s is to blame. Before then, the only celebrities we were familiar with came from cinema, but with the explosion in the number of pop and rock bands and a steady increase in the number of television and radio channels, celebrity numbers have expanded exponentially, but now the young stars of that era are heading into old age.

Developments in Crime Writing
A subtle change has been taking place in crime writing over the last two to three years. In the days when Ian Rankin was still writing his fourth or fifth novel, women crime writers were thin on the ground with only the likes of Agatha Christie, Martina Cole, PD James and Val McDermid flying the flag.

Women now dominate the bestseller lists and they have written some of the biggest books of recent years, including Gone GirlThe Girl on the Train and The Widow. As a result, we are seeing a change in writing style as women writers ignore the developing trend by male writers of pursuing grittier and gorier novels, and are writing books with intimate details about characters and relationships, including the same for the lead detective.

This is leading to new and interesting variations in the genre, including lesbian detectives, rogue women detectives and all-women detection teams. In the Denise Mina novel I read recently, the main detective was 7 months pregnant with twins, and in the novel I’m reading at the moment by Mel Sherratt, I’m a third of the way through and there still hasn’t been any police investigation. As women are the main buyers of crime fiction, this change was almost inevitable. It will be interesting to see how it develops.

Game of Thrones

If you are fan of GOT as I am, you might be pleased to learn that George RR Martin is alive and well. When the Beatles record producer died, Twitter was awash with George RR Martin tributes. The author only planned to write 7 books (with 5 already written), but he told Entertainment Weekly recently that there were millions of stories he could develop from the series if HBO was interested in filming them. This is good news for die-hard fans and if you’ve come to GOT through the television series, I recommend reading the books; they’re excellent.
What’s Next?
The next book, in which I assure you there will be no dead dogs, is currently in progress. It will be published later this year. That’s it for now. Thanks for reading.

P.S. If you’ve read any of my books, please post a review on Amazon. I’m always interested to hear your views and it helps we authors to get noticed.

Any comments, issues or questions, feel free to contact me:

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