I'm having quite a week. A workshop for writers in Frodsham on Sunday, followed by an Anthony award nomination for The Life of Crime on Monday and an enjoyable event at Newark Library yesterday talking about My Life of Crime. Today sees publication of my latest British Library anthology, Crimes of Cymru, and tomorrow, as I set off for CrimeFest, Head of Zeus aka Aries Fiction are publishing the fourth novel about Rachel Savernake, Sepulchre Street.
It's a busy time, but I'm acutely conscious that the nice things that are happening right now are the culmination, in many ways, of years of work on my writing. So I'm determined to make the most of the good times. And I am truly gratified by the very first review of Sepulchre Street, for the blog tour, which comes courtesy of Puzzle Doctor on his great blog In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel; 'an absolute triumph...The best book by far in an outstanding series.'
It's immensely rewarding when a thoughtful reviewer 'gets' what you are trying to do, and Puzzle Doctor picks up on a key element of this and the other Rachel novels, namely that I'm trying to introduce material into the stories that Golden Age writers wouldn't have written about, but doing so in a way that is (I like to think) consistent with the approach that the better authors would have adopted, had social taboos been different. And by this, I don't mean graphic sex and violence, by the way - there is some violence, but not more so than in plenty of Golden Age books, although I try to treat it quite seriously, because I find violence frightening.
Crimes of Cymru is an anthology that was especially interesting to compile. At first, the prospect of finding enough good classic Welsh or Wales-related crime stories to fill a book seemed quite a challenge but thanks to help from a number of experts in the field, I've come up with a collection that I think is eclectic and strong. It's been a particular pleasure to collaborate with Janet and Rebecca, the daughters of the Welsh author Cledwyn Hughes, one of whose stories features in the book, and I am hoping that this publication will kick-start a revival of interest in his work.