More on the ideas thing

Another question to answer has arrived in my inbox - how do I go about writing a book?

It's well timed as I'm just in the middle of that stage at the moment.

How it starts is with just a single idea.  It can be for a character, as with Evil Valley and the viciously embittered Mr Gibson, or it can be for a plot, or just a quirk of how it works, as in the central theme of riddle of The Death Pictures.  Whatever, just one decent idea can be enough to construct a whole book around. 

It's... Read more


It's only half way through the year - and isn't June wonderful, with the long and light days? - but already I'm being asked to think about next year.

That's one of the greatest differences between the worlds of publishing and journalism.  In publishing, there are lead up times of anything up to two years for a book, and sometimes even more.  In journalism a story breaks and you just go cover it.  A lead up time is a rare luxury!

Anyway, as I was saying, next year.  A new book has been ordered, which is great to know -... Read more

More bookfest

The Oxfam Bookfest idea is coming together nicely.

I think we're now looking at about 20 events across the country, a fine assortment of crime writers giving talks and doing book signings. 

I'm told events will be listed on the Crime Writers' Association website, so do have a look there to see if there's one near you to come along to.  Your support would be much appreciated - it's a great cause.

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My study

Another question has descended upon my inbox, as it were.

I've talked a little in my blog about when I write, now I'm asked about where.

The answer is just about anywhere. I suspect it's to do with my journalist's background, but I can write in almost any place without being distracted by what's going on around me.  One of my favourites is on the train.  I like watching the countryside trundling past, getting ideas from the scenery and the places I pass.  And one of the richest sources of characterisation is my fellow travellers.  A few minutes looking around... Read more

Book tour

My little tour to support the publication of The Judgement Book is shaping up nicely.

It looks like being a fortnight of events in the middle of September.  I'll be at the Reading Crime Festival, the St Ives Festival in Cornwall, and the Appledore Festival, along with quite a few talks and signings at libraries.

All the details will be posted on the site as they're confirmed.  Please do come along to an event near you.  I still count myself very much a newcomer to this writing business, and audience feedback helps me greatly.

I'm very much looking forward... Read more


There's an exciting new initiative for crime fans coming in July.

The Crime Writers' Association is joining forces with Oxfam to do a series of events at Oxfam bookstores around the country.  Well known authors will be giving talks and doing signings as part of the two weeks of the Oxfam Bookfest.

I'm delighted to have been invited to take part - I'll be at the Oxfam Bookstore in Exeter on Saturday, July 11th.  There are more details on the events page of the site -

Please do come along!  I hope we get lots of people there... Read more


A couple of people have asked where I find the time to do my writing, given the full time job with the BBC.

Good question!

The answer is that I tend to do the bulk of my actual writing in the morning.  I get up most days about six, which means I can usually put a couple of hours in before being scrambled to a story. Combine that with a few hours at the weekend, and it's remarkable how quickly you can build up a book.

In the evening, I'm usually too tired to do any actual writing -... Read more


Apologies, I meant to mention in the previous post - if you're interested in seeing a video of me talking about my writing, there's one on the site -    It's designed for the American market, but still gives a fairly decent idea of the books.

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An invitation

A couple of you kind folk have suggested my blog's a good way to answer ongoing questions about my writing.

That's fine by me.  If you do have any questions, just get in touch via the contacts page on the site -  and I'll see what I can do to answer them - as honestly as possible, within the bounds of taste and decency!

I'm just starting the final edits of The Judgment Book now.  If I'm honest, this is not by any means my favourite part of the writing process.  I like building up ideas, letting them... Read more