At the end of July I visited the Harrogate Crime Festival and, apart from meeting up with a whole bunch of old friends and meeting new ones, I came away as usual with more books than I should have bought and a reading list that might keep me going until Christmas. You’ll see more of those titles crop up over the coming month, but for now you can see what I’ve been reading recently at the end of this email.
On the writing front I’m currently three quarters the way through the next Thomas Berrington – The Incubus. Thomas, Jorge and Lubna travel to Ronda just before it comes under siege by the Spanish. And of course, alongside the historical element, someone is murdering people. This time the killer takes lives through a subtle form of strangulation, and a sense of sensuality accompanies each deaths.
In addition I’ve commission the production of an Audio version of The Red Hill. This is ongoing as this email goes out, but you can hear a sample of the book here: <link> I expect the audio version to be completed during October so will update you in the next Newsletter. If this first book goes well then others will follow.
I’m also looking at having The Red Hill translated. Initially into Spanish (obviously) but other languages as well, German and possibly Portuguese. More next month.
What else is happening? Well – quite a lot. I’m attending the Historical Novelists Conference in Oxford (https://hnsoxford2016.org/) at the start of September. Then later in the month I’ll be selling books at the Triskele LitFest (http://www.skiddle.com/whats-on/London/LIFT/Triskele-Lit-Fest-2016—adventures-in-reading/12808012/) in London, so if you’re around that location on the day do drop in for a chat, it will be great to see you.
And also in September we’re going to the Place in the Sun show at the NEC in Birmingham. I’m beginning to think it might be more cost effective to simply buy somewhere in Andalusia rather than have to keep taking holidays to do research, but we’ll see. The Brexit decision might have thrown a spanner in the works here as the future is unclear for Brits living abroad.
WHAT I’VE BEEN READING
The Accusation: Mark Lawson. Around 25% through and finding it easier going now. At first it felt too disjointed with a lot of small sections and no chapters. Getting into it now, and beautifully written.
Gray Justice: Alan McDermot. I met Alan at the Crime Festival and spent a long time chatting, then looked up his books (as all writers do) to be fascinated. This is a real page turner and I couldn’t put it down, in spite of a few mistakes and odd POV switches. Want a new rattling read in a series, check these out. (LINK)
Silence of the Lambs, Thomas Harris. I don’t suppose I need to say anything about this at all, other than if you haven’t read it yet go and get a copy. Now!
I am deep into research for The Incubus, so currently have on the go:
The Dogs of God: James Reston. The Inquisition, Columbus and the Fall of the Moors. Now out of print but obtainable. An easy to read overview of the period I’m writing about. Columbus makes an appearance in the next book and this one covers the fall of Ronda, so all good stuff.
Atrillery Through the Ages: Colonel HCB Rogers. Another out of print book obtained through Book Despository. I needed something that covers the introduction of artillery during the Moorish wars and this did the trick.
WHAT I’VE BEEN LISTENING TO
I subscribe to Apple Music, and when I’m writing I generally have headphones on and play loud music. I’ve read a lot of people can’t write when the music contains words, but for me they form a backwash I ignore. I rarely play, or even listen to, classical music. I love simple, repetitive songs. I love Neil Young when he loses himself and plays 10 minutes guitar solos which consist of feedback as much as notes. And with Apple Music I am unlimited in what I might trip across. So this month I’ve been getting into dirty Americana.
It started with a gig we went to in Bewdley (St George’s Hall link) to see WHO? So I found her songs and, of course, there’s a small section that says if you like this you might like this as well. What I love about this isn’t the obvious first links but the black holes you fall into that drag you deeper and deeper into obscurity until you find someone you would never have heard of otherwise.
Do, long story (sorry) short, this month I’ve been listening to Malcolm Holbrook and, in particular, a guy called Gurf Morlix. Just that name is enough to make you want to listen.
If you’ve never come across him try this: Just one Second (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zK4XTskFHss).
This guy is a real storyteller – entire novels in 4 minutes.