This Wild, Wild Country – BOOK LAUNCH TODAY

It’s heeeere! Book baby number two is finally, officially born into this world. From today, This Wild, Wild Country is for sale in all good book stores and online, and will slowly make it’s way into libraries.

But there isn’t just the physical book. The e-book is out as well, as is the Audiobook, read by the fabulous Nan McNamara.

Now it’s fingers crossed that it’ll all go well. But I am not worried. The fact that my little book is out there, for all the world to see, read and enjoy, already means more to me than I could ever describe. And I am a writer, so describing is kinda my job 🙂

It’s been a very long journey. I remember first pitching the book to my phantastic editor Sophie Orme in Summer 2020, and sending the first draft to her that Christmas. The book went through several drafts as the plot thickened, the characters grew and the pace of the story settled. The beautiful cover was revealed to me as a late Christmas present, and the physical copies arrived just a few days after I returned from the Harrogate literature festival – perhaps my first big event as a ‘proper’, published author.

I cannot express my gratitude to everyone who has helped me on this journey – my editor Sophie, my agent Giles, the amazing team at Bonnier/Manilla Press. And of course my loyal readers.

I owe it all to you.

Hurrah at Harrogate

With all the excitement over the proof copies, I didn’t even have time to write about my trip to Harrogate for the Theakston’s Old Peculier crime writing festival.

At first I was a bit suspicious. As a baby author, I wasn’t on any of the panels. I also didn’t know a lot of authors – my first book, The Long, Long Afternoon, was launched in lockdown, so I never had much opportunity to schmooze with other authors. And there’s a financial aspect too, the tickets, the travel, the accommodation…

But I am so glad I went. Harrogate is one of the mainstays of the crime writing calendar and an absolute icon on the festival circuit. For good reason. This is one of the few festivals where authors, bloggers, editors, agents and readers get to mix freely. It is an incredibly friendly event where everyone is happy to chat.

My highlight was a talk with Lucy Foley and CL Taylor, two absolute legends of the crime writing world. I learned so much from their approach to writing and creativity, and I was delighted that CL Taylor switches in between pantsing and planning her books just like I do. Both authors were so open and chatty that you got a real insight into their creative process, rather than just standard phrases about inspiration and perseverance.

I also got to meet a bunch of stars in publishing. Book bloggers Dan from the Cribbs Causeway Waterstones in Bristol and Jules Swain, the tweeting paramedic, were so incredibly kind and supportive during my lockdown launch that I couldn’t wait to say Hi and a big Thank You. And I got my book signed by Denise Mina, an absolute faint-moment for this fangirl 😀

More impressions below, with Mick Herron, Stu Cummins, Charlotte Vas, Denise Mina, Jules Swain and TM Logan.

Copies are here – 2 weeks to launch

Copies have arrived. Finally, there is confirmation that This Wild, Wild Country isn’t just a fever dream – it’s real!

This is the best ever feeling. I couldn’t even take a focused picture I got so excited when I opened that box (never mind the hammer in the background, I was doing DIY).

The colours of this cover are just stunning. The whole book looks absolutely striking, the pictures don’t really do it justice. I love how the oranges and blues complement each other… and then there’s that big, bold title!

This Wild, Wild Country is launching on 4 August and is already available for pre-order. So, if hippies, murder and historic mysteries are your thing, putting an order in would help me hugely. Just go to the Books page on this website or get in touch with your local book dealer.

Meanwhile, I raise a glass of bubbly to this beauty. This being Glasgow, the only bubbly I had in the house was Irn Bru (24 cans no less). So here goes: to my latest book baby. May it be a success!!!

Proof copies have arried

Just look at this beauty:

Three women. An isolated town. A decades old mystery.

Isn’t that just so enticing? You just want to know more!

Proof copies are an incredibly exciting part of the writing process. This is when the hard work is done. You have a book in your hand. An actual book, with a cover and an acknowledgements section and a dedication…

Of course, this is not the final product. The reason why it’s called a proof copy is that it’s, well, for proofing. So I am going to have to read This Wild, Wild Country again (I’ve only read it about 367 times before) and highlight any remaining typos, mistakes or odd layout issues.

The proof copies play another important role. They will be sent to buyers and reviewers, who will then hopefully put in lots of preorders and line up reviews in time for the book launch on 4 August.

Is this the right moment to say it? This Wild, Wild Country is now available for preorder in your favourite book shop. Do it. You know you want to…

PS: This is not the final cover. Cover reveal coming soon… watch this space!

Cover design is happening

Terrific news from my publisher last week. The cover design for This Wild, Wild Country is in the works.

I’m not going to give too much away just yet. But I can talk a little bit about the cover design for The Long, Long Afternoon. I get asked a lot about the cover. Who created it? Did you get a say in it? How is a book cover decided?

Getting the cover right is crucial, both for the author and the publisher. The author wants a representation of their vision for the book. Once the cover is revealed, the book finally becomes real.

The publisher, of course, has another motive: sales. A cover needs to pop, it needs to stand out from the crowd of books on a book shelf. It needs to appeal – but not necessarily to everyone. A good book cover entices the kinds of readers who will love the book, not all readers everywhere.

Author and publisher will work together on a design that both are happy with. While the publisher has the final say (after all, they’ve got the publishing rights), they won’t want an author to be upset about the cover. It is normal for covers to go through several versions – even the text placement needs to be carefully thought out.

Above is the first concept proposal for The Long, Long Afternoon’s hardback cover that I got to see. Alot of the elements are already there. The broken plate, the curtains, the flowers. But I was still able to make changes and comments. I ran the cover past my family, and my sister suggested adding the stain on the cupboard that could be food… or blood!

The final cover really stands out from other crime novels. It is bright, sunny and charming… but the broken items, the burnt turkey and the knife prominently sticking from the chopping board give it an air of unease. The kitchen looks lived in, but abandoned. The food has been lovingly prepared, then left to rot. The geraniums are peering in, ready drop their blood-red petals all over the scrubbed sink.

I’ll tell you a secret. Can you see the shadow of a man in the light streaming onto the floor? He’s hard to spot, but he’s there…