It doesn't feel like it, but this year I didn't bring out either a brand new novel or a new non-fiction book. There was, however, a lot to celebrate in publication terms, starting with the UK paperback edition of Gallows Court, which was nominated for the eDunnit award and longlisted for the Historical Dagger, and subsequently published in the US, with sought-after starred reviews in Publishers' Weekly and Booklist. At the moment, the book is part of the December Kindle Deal promotion and all in all it's been my most successful novel to date. Next year will see the publication of the sequel to Gallows Court, a book I spent the first half of 2019 writing, Mortmain Hall.
Writing intros for the British Library kept me quite busy. In addition I edited two anthologies for the British Library's Crime Classics series. Deep Waters gathered 'mysteries on the waves' while The Measure of Malice was a collection of scientific mysteries. I've been pleasantly surprised by the success of the themed anthologies I've put together for the BL. In sales terms the figures are startling, while the books have introduced some interesting writers to a new generation of crime fans.
I wrote a handful of short stories during the year, some of which will come out in 2020. "The Girl on the Bandwagon", a satire on so-called domestic noir, was published in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. It's a story I enjoyed writing enormously. "The Sound of Secrecy" appeared in Maxim Jakubowski's anthology of historical mysteries, while "The Cap of Liberty", set in the first part of the 19th century, was included in Ra Page's book Resist, a collection of stories about protest. And I was thrilled that last year's "Strangers in a Pub" was shortlisted for the Short Story Dagger. Those four stories constitute a very diverse bunch indeed in terms of subject matter and style, and their range illustrates what I love about the short story form - its boundless possibilities.
In terms of non-fiction, I contributed various pieces to blogs and online forums, as well as a longish essay about Dr Harold Shipman, "The First of Criminals", which appeared in Mitzi Szereto's anthology of true crime essays. I also wrote an essay which is to be a chapter in an academic book, on "Plotting". This was a fascinating exercise to undertake, although the nature of academic writing, with its emphasis on footnotes and bibliographic references, doesn't greatly appeal to me. My preference when writing non-fiction is to tell a story, uncluttered by minutiae. And that's where my focus will be in future. More on that subject another day...