Things have changed.
I’m sure when I started doing this, about 12 years ago, I wasn’t permanently distracted by the
Westminster soap opera and I don’t think I ever watched Prime Minister’s Question time.
Twitter was all books, cats and dogs, and I barely ever listened to the news on the radio. Also,
were there any celebrity writers?
Now it’s super hard to concentrate, and super hard to see the beautiful books amid the
political turmoil and at times, it feels irrelevant to try writing a thriller set in a protected area
of the countryside when that part of the countryside is about to lose it’s status and become a
light industrial estate. And then you go to the supermarket and it’s the same 12 titles badly
presented, too cheap but they’ll sell because, hey, they’re by someone everyone’s heard of.
And anyway, there’s no-one out there, they’re all listening to the news.
Covid hasn’t helped. I’ve had several books published in lockdowns. I’m not alone, some
really excellent books never made it to the tables because of timing and delivery and closed
shops, and because these things are necessarily set in stone months before, there’s nothing to
be done. And, I saw no readers. I had no feedback. There were no class books. It was sooooo
Which meant I listened more to the news. It felt as if my mind was fossilising. I was become
an older person at home listening to the news and feeling helpless about the world outside.
But last March, I went back into schools, did day after day of massive assemblies and,
inevitably went down with the virus – but it was so good! So amazing to meet readers. To talk
to groups who hadn’t all sat in the same room together for a year, to see children who had
never seen an author. And now I’ve had two books published in the space of 4 months, and
they ARE ON THE TABLES (well, one of them is) and I’m getting to do all the school visits
again – booked up this term, mostly, and WBW almost entirely, and there are readers out
there. And it is good to see them. And it feels good to be a writer.
And I know I have to compete with 100 books which have massive marketing spends and
shinier covers but I am still living my dream. I am a published author. With a string of books
to my name, and sometimes, just sometimes, I come across a child who lights up when they
meet me – because I have connected. I have made the pictures in my head move from me to
them, and we’re both, thrilled.
Murder at Snowfall is published on 4th November