Friday 29 April 2016

MWA Announces the 2016 Edgar® Award Winners

Mystery Writers of America at its 70th gala dinner announced the winners on 29th April 2016 of the 2016 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honouring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2015.

Let Me Die in His Footsteps by Lori Roy (Penguin Random House - Dutton)

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Atlantic – Grove Press)

The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow)

Whipping Boy: The Forty-Year Search for My Twelve-Year-Old Bully by Allen Kurzweil (HarperCollins Publishers - Harper)

The Golden Age of Murder by Martin Edwards (HarperCollins Publishers - HarperCollins)

"Obits" – Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King (Simon & Schuster - Scribner)

Footer Davis Probably is Crazy by Susan Vaught (Simon & Schuster – Paula Wiseman Books)

A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis (HarperCollins Publishers – Katherine Tegen Books)

"Gently with the Women" - George Gently, Teleplay by Peter Flannery (Acorn TV)

"Chung Ling Soo’s Greatest Trick" – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by Russell W. Johnson (Dell Magazines)

GRAND MASTER Walter Mosley

RAVEN AWARDS Margaret Kinsman Sisters in Crime

ELLERY QUEEN AWARD Janet Rudolph, Founder of Mystery Readers International


Little Pretty Things by Lori Rader-Day (Prometheus Books – Seventh Street Books)

Thursday 28 April 2016

Ian Rankin marks the 30th anniversary of John Rebus

2017 marks the thirtieth anniversary of one of crime fiction’s greatest characters, John Rebus, created by one of the world’s leading crime writers, Ian Rankin.
On 28th April the Orion Publishing Group will be announcing news of a year-long series of events and activities to mark the anniversary of the famous creation.
28th April is both Ian Rankin’s birthday and the date Rebus first walked across the page of Knots and Crosses. Over the course of the anniversary year Rankin will be embarking on a major international tour; Orion will be publishing special editions of selected titles; and two very exciting events in Edinburgh and London are being planned.
One of the highlights of the year is a role Rankin has accepted at one of the UK’s most respected universities with an international reputation for its creative writing courses. The University of East Anglia is delighted to announce that Ian Rankin will join as UNESCO City of Literature Visiting Professor in September 2016. It is a testament to the impact Ian Rankin and his creation John Rebus has had on crime writing and British literature that he has been offered this prestigious position.
UEA's prestigious visiting UNESCO professorships bring leading authors of international reputation to the university by invitation, to engage with UEA's world-leading Creative Writing programmes. Ian Rankin will be on campus during the autumn semester, and contribute to seminars, lectures, and tutorials.
Ian Rankin said:
“I was still a full-time student when I wrote Inspector Rebus's first adventure. That was in 1984/5 and Edinburgh University didn't have a Creative Writing course. Almost no university did - and I remember being jealous of Ian McEwan and others who had learned from their experiences at the University of East Anglia. That's why it is such a privilege and honour to accept UEA's offer of a Visiting Professorship. I hope to learn, share, and teach, because as a writer you should never stop trying to hone your craft.”

Henry Sutton, senior lecturer in Creative Writing at UEA, co-director of UEA's MA in Prose Fiction, said: 
"We are thrilled to be welcoming Ian Rankin to UEA. His extraordinary experience and expertise as a writer of contemporary fiction will be invaluable to our current students, from undergraduates to those studying for PhDs. Ian will also be involved in UEA's new Crime Fiction MA - the crime fiction genre being an area of increasing expertise at the university."

Tuesday 26 April 2016

Evolve or Die

Today’s guest blog is by novelist Paul E Hardisty.  Canadian by birth but a resident of Western Australia he is a university professor and Director of Australia’s national land, water, ecosystems and climate adaptation research programmes.

At the start of The Evolution of Fear, Claymore Straker is alone, a fugitive.  He is also a prisoner of his past. As a young solider on the front lines of the dirty proxy war in south west Africa in the early 1980’s, when apartheid South Africa was fighting for its life against communist aggression, Clay came face to face with a specific and unique brutality that left him scarred and lost.  Now, thirteen years later, as paid assassins close in, he realises that the woman he loves is also a target. To survive, to protect her, to have any kind of future, he must reassess everything.  He must either evolve – learn to change - or accept the consequences.

Evolution, both as philosophical construct and scientific theory, is a compelling idea: that all life is guided by an impulse to survive, and so to pass on its genes. Individuals exhibiting traits that ensure survival – better health, a beak better able to access available food supplies, a bigger brain – will live long enough to reproduce and those genetic traits will, over time, become better represented in the general population.  Over time, the characteristics of the species will evolve as the traits of the successful individuals come to dominate the population. But can individuals also evolve?  Can human beings change themselves, fundamentally, through experience and learning and applied will, to alter their own lives, and the lives of others?  These ideas form one of the central themes of the book.

The Evolution of Fear is the sequel to the CWA Creasy New Blood Dagger award short-listed The Abrupt Physics of Dying. The story carries on where the first book left off, with Clay Straker hunted by the Russian mafia and wanted for murder in two countries.  The things he has done in his life, both during the war in Angola, and more recently in Yemen and the UK, have shaped who he is, have left him with profound regrets and severe post-traumatic stress. The basic idea for the sequel came in the form of a journey.  To find Rania, the woman he loves – also a target for the mafia’s wrath – he must cross storm-swept seas, track into the Swiss Alps, to Istanbul, and finally to Cyprus, where events climax and Clay learns what matters in life, and what does not.

There are friends along the way, too – old comrades thought lost regained, and unexpected acts of kindness from strangers. There are also the inevitable counterpoints of fear and loss, betrayal by those thought closest. For evolution’s natural partner is extinction. Some prosper and grow, some wither and fade away. Every journey is punctuated with crests and troughs, with moments of realisation that can, if we let them, shape who we are.  

The Evolution of Fear in many ways wrote itself.  I know the places – Switzerland, Istanbul, Cyprus – well.  Each has called to me at different times in my life. The journey of realisation was one that Claymore Straker the character had to take, if he was to continue living.  I originally wrote the first book as a standalone, with Clay dying in the end. Because he survived, the journey became inevitable, necessary. Either he evolves, or he dies.  

To find out more about Paul E Hardisty follow him on Twitter @Hardisty_Paul or check out his website here.

Monday 25 April 2016

“Dear me”: 6 things I wish I’d known before writing my book

Dear Corrie,

It’s you! From the future! On the brink of publication. Except you have no idea. I’m watching you right now: the doubt clouds your eyes as you stare at the blank page in front of you. You glance at the ‘Keep Going’ print above your desk; then at the clock on the wall (yep, you’re picking your son up from nursery in an hour). Listen up to what I’ve learnt, and know that I’ve got your back.

1. When people ask what you do, look them in the eye and repeat after me: I’m a writer. Don’t mumble when you’re explaining that you don’t have a publisher yet. Don’t apologise for taking a risk; don’t feel embarrassed. Guess what: there is a hundred per cent chance you will fail to get a book deal if you don’t write a book. Getting published doesn’t make you a writer; it makes you a published writer. So, start writing.

2. You know that Abraham Lincoln quote you like to trot out: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Dude, stop taking it so literally. Sure, those how-to-write-a-novel books help, but the past three months you’ve spent devouring a whole bookcase-full? That was time better spent writing. There’s a reason a group of writers is called a ‘procrastination’ (actually, I made that up, but it should be). So, start writing.

3. Get on social media. The Twitter account that still says you’re the Assistant Editor of GLAMOUR. Update it. The Facebook profile you haven’t changed for a year. Do it. Join GoodReads and Instagram. Start connecting with people. Don’t wait for your agent to tell you off (and, yes! You have an agent!)

4. Ha ha! That romantic notion you have that says you can’t write until Lady Inspiration wafts down from the clouds and settles on your shoulder? Total bullshit. You don’t have time to wait for her. You’re picking your son up in an hour, remember? Inspiration happens when you sit down and write. It really is that simple. Start bloody writing.

5. The first paragraph you wrote, the one you edited fifteen times before slamming your head down on your desk? Move on. It’s shit. It won’t even make it into the second draft. While I’m at it: the first ten thousand words you are about to write in the third-person? You’ll bin those in a couple of weeks. First-person works better. But don’t panic. Keep writing.

6. You’ll get bored. You’ll get lonely. You’ll wonder how you’ve gone from the buzz of a glossy fashion magazine to the tumbleweed of your tiny office. You’ll stare at the computer wondering how you got here, and if it’s too late to stop. Yes, it’s too late. But soon, the very next page in fact, you’ll write something that makes your heart sing and you’ll realise this is exactly where you should be.

Love, Corrie

Corrie Jackson is the author of Breaking Dead, published in eBook 21st April 2016, Twenty7 Books, £4.99.

You can find more information about Corrie Jackson on her website.
Follow her on Twitter @corriejacko.  
Find her on Facebook.