Thursday, July 18, 2013

Logan MacRae, but on another topic . . . my book launch!

I'm reading Close to The Bone, Stuart MacBride's 90mph head-on multi-plot pile-up of a novel right now, since we're on a panel together at Harrogate and it's terrific stuff.  But poor (acting) DI MacRae could do with a break, so I nominate him to spend a couple of weeks in the California sunshine solving my murder.

Unless I'm knocked off in the next few months, in which case he'd only get down the road to Edinburgh.  I'm there for the summer and tonight I was in Waterstone's in George Street doing a launch event for DANDY GILVER AND A DEADLY MEASURE OF BRIMSTONE. 

And the strangest thing happened.  You know that bit in Harry Potter where they zap dormice into milkjugs but the jugs still have tails and fur?  Well, my book popped up again and again tonight.  Blue with touches of blood-red was everywhere.  In the lovely flowers from my oldest friend Catherine Lepreux:

In a hand-felted tea-cosy made by my dear friend Louise Kelly:

And of course in cake form, courtesy of my mum and dad:

Many, many thanks to Colin, the manager, who came in on his day off for the event:

And to Stuart Campbell, my beloved high-school English teacher, who took one look at my train-print dress and reminded me why he was such an inspiration all those years ago by saying "O. S. Nock" (he wrote the book that the illustrations appeared in, you know.) 

I'm feeling very lucky tonight: a wonderful family, fantastic teachers and friends I've known for decades.  Life is sweet and, on balance, I hope Logan MacRae doesn't get the chance to take that trip!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Trouble at the Front

How timely this question is!  I've just hit SEND on the edited draft of THE DAY SHE DIED, my second contemporary stand-alone for Midnight Ink.  It's notable for being the first book that's coming out under my title after a run of five that were changed. 

And you know what?  The editor was right and I was wrong every one of those five times.

The last modern one AS SHE LEFT IT started life as OPEN THE DOOR.  Well, actually it started life as FISHBO'S PUFFER.  Neither of my attempts were terrible but ASLI is best.

I thought I was going to have two keepers in a row, mind you, because DANDY GILVER AND A REGRETTABLE KETTLE OF HERRING (just submitted) struck me as pure genius, but Editrix Lestrange at my London publisher pointed out that nothing about that title says "crime".  Duh.



And DANDY GILVER AND THE PROER TREATMENT OF BLOODSTAINS - a gem of a title - gave me endless gyp along the way.  I called it IN THE DARK.  It's about  a. a coalminer's strike b. buried secrets and c. servant life in the basement of a house.  In the dark x three!  But then Mark Billingham brought out his new book and it was called In The Dark (for no good reason that I could see or at least not for three of them).

So then we called it DEEPEST RED, as in blood and as in the people's flag of the left wingers who wanted the strike to succeed.  I liked it; others thought a quote from a Marxist anthem might not hit the right note.

So for a while, just among ourselves, we called it TROUBLE DOWN BELOW.  It started as a joke, but after a while it seemed quite, quite fine.  This is how people manage to be called things like Dr Sprinkle (he works at my local surgery) and Hampton Sublet (A colleague of my husband's) without giggling all day.

So, all in all, I'm very grateful to my editors for thinking up better titles than I do. 

My favourite title of recent years?  Hands-down, saw it in the bookshop and bought the book without even looking reading the back jacket copy . . . WITCHES ON THE ROAD TONIGHT.  That it was about depression-era Appalachia, a time and place that fascinate me, was a bonus.  It's still on the TBR pile but every time I see it (while dusting) it makes me happy.