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Strange questions

Firstly, a big thank you to everyone at last night's event in Barnstaple.  You made me feel very welcome, and even better, laughed at all the right places in my talk.

I'm delighted to have been able to help raise funds for such a fine cause and wish you all the best of luck in your continuing efforts to renovate the beautiful St Paul's church.

Just one thing - the questions I was asked last night were, without doubt, the oddest I've ever faced after a talk. Despite them haunting my dreams last night, and receiving more due consideration this morning...

No, I still have no idea why dead badgers only seem to be found at the side of the road and not in the middle.  No, I still don't know Dracula.  And to the lady who asked what the time was - it's currently 7.51 on Saturday morning.

Last night may well have provided more inspiration for another book than you realise...

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The church roof

Firstly, an apology for neglecting my blogging for a while.

I've not been well - nothing serious (although it felt like it, I can assure you), just an annoying winter cold thing.  Enough though to knock me out for a few days.  I'm still not a hundred per cent - when am I, you might say?! - but I'm feeling much better now, happily.

So, I'm back with news of an event tomorrow night (Fri, 27th Nov) in Barnstaple, north Devon.  I've been invited to give an after dinner speech at a fund raiser to help restore the roof at St Paul's church in Landkey.  It's a beautiful church and a fine cause, which I'm proud to support.

The event is at the Park Hotel, and starts at 7, so if you're in the area and at a loose end, do come along.  I believe there are tickets still available.

I love after dinner speeches, because the audience are always mellow after a few drinks, and I can trot out some of my odder anecdotes.  I think I can promise an entertaining time!

Off now for some more Vitamin C....

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As I mentioned in a previous blog, I'm always happy to answer questions about the tvdetective books - or try to, at least. 

An interesting one has just come through - how well do I think I know my characters?

The answer is very well indeed.  I could tell you what Dan and Adam, for example, would think or do in any given situation.  They've become as real and familiar as old friends to me.

For example, here's an odd thing - if I'm sent to cover a story, I'll often have a quiet chat with Dan on the way about how best to report it.  Likewise, when I'm dealing with a crime, I'm quite likely to have a discussion with Adam about who might have committed it, and why.

And here's something even odder.  It's occasionally the case in the books that one of the characters will do something that surprises me.  I won't have planned for it, but they'll go off and decide to act in a way I don't expect anyway. 

I find Adam is the most common culprit for this.  He can be strangely unpredictable.

When it first happened, I worried about it.  How can my characters possibly do something I don't expect?  I'm supposed to be in charge here, after all!

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More criminal intent

I'm revisiting old haunts by setting off to Wales today, but this time with crime in mind!

Going back many a year now, I did my journalism diploma in Cardiff.  It was that which I suppose started me on the track to becoming a crime reporter and then a crime writer, so I'm very grateful.

Since I first visited the city, I've always loved it.  Such a vibrant and happening place, and very friendly with it.  There's some wonderful countryside around Cardiff too.  Yes, I'm looking forward to returning.

The reason for my visit is that tomorrow (Saturday), I'm in Abergavenny, at the Criminal Intent event, a crime writing festival for the valleys.  I'll be talking about all the tvdetective books, probably reading a little of The Judgement Book, and also letting you know about future books and projects.  There are more details on the news and events page -

If you're in the area, and fancy an entertaining day, I hope to see you there.

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More talking books

The work on the talking books is progressing well.

After a couple of mammoth recording sessions, I'm now more than half way through Evil Valley.  The Death Pictures is done, which only leaves The Judgement Book. I'm hoping the set will be complete by the end of November and ready for Xmas.

I've learnt a lesson doing the books - that what might seem for me like an ideal way of spending a day, talking the whole time, and not just that, but words I've written too, isn't quite so straightforward.  It's more like hard work, in fact.  I get very dry and quite tired doing it, but I am enjoying it nonetheless.

It was a big decision, saying I'd do the narration myself.  But I'm so close to my characters, and so fond of them, that I'm not sure I'd be able to trust an actor to get them right, just the way I imagine them.

For those who are interested in what I've discovered, this is the way the maths works out.  Each page takes about 2 mins to read on a rough average.  The books tend to be about 340 pages each.  That should equate to around 12 hours reading time.

But! There are always going to be fluffs - more than a few, if truth be told - and some pages are more full of text and denser to read than others, particularly the ones with lots of description.  That makes it about 15 hours reading time per book. by my estimate.

So, a fair bit of work, but a great opportunity to bring the tvdetective series to a wider audience - particularly those who have difficulties with their sight - and so one I'm relishing.

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Did I mention that as part of the Appledore Book Festival, I was interviewed to within an inch of my life about my writing?

Well, the interview has been posted on You Tube, so if you want to have a look, here's the link -

The lady interviewing me, Amy, is a local student who's interested in a career in the media.  From how she did grilling me, I'd say she's got a fine future awaiting her!

It's an odd position to be in - very much the tables turned! - being interviewed myself instead of doing the interrogation.  It's also a useful lesson - I must remember to tuck my collar in next time I'm filmed!

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