I'm just back from a London trip I'll remember for the rest of my days. It's one I've dreamt about for a very long time: my first visit to the plush offices of my publisher, Pan Macmillan.
My trip began on Monday, a meeting with my agent, Oli Munson, to discuss where we're at and what comes next. There are some exciting things going on in the background and I'm hoping to share more good news very soon.
So, Tuesday morning the nerves kicked in as I arrived at the offices of Pan Mac. I was greeted by a lovely man on reception who made me feel really welcome. Then Sophie Portas, Marketing and Publicity Manager International (marketing manager for The Murder Wall) took me to a nearby pub to meet a film crew who were waiting to make a short clip for the Pan Mac website. As I put on the microphone, I was suddenly DC Lisa Carmichael getting wired to go undercover in Settled Blood, just one of the multitude of personalities I become when I'm writing. Sorry, I just can't help myself.
After the filming - deep breath - Sophie too me back to Pan Mac. I had a short chat and a cuppa in the refectory (I think that's posh for tea room!) with my fabulous editor, Wayne Brookes, and his brilliant assistant, Louise Buckley. Then I was whisked upstairs to the boardroom, pausing to say a quick hello to Sophie Orme, an editor I met at Harrogate last year, someone I follow on Twitter.
Open-plan offices are normally noisy. Not this one. Complete hush. Intense concentration. I felt like I should tip-toe in and out so as not to disturb anyone. Then it was off to the boardroom for some of this...
I felt a little overwhelmed when a whole raft of people crowded in to shake my hand and introduce themselves. I've always known that bringing a book to life was a collaboration between writer, agent, editor, copy-editor, proof-reader, occasional translator or those brilliant art department bods who make a book so visually appealing. But now The Murder Wall is ready, another team of dedicated professionals have taken over to bring it to the reader. These were the people I met yesterday, sales, marketing and publicity executives, among them someone I already knew, Publicity Director Philippa McEwan, who is doing wonders in the run up to publication.
Then it was off to lunch at the Rotunda, a canal-side restaurant a short walk away with Oli, Philippa, Wayne and head honcho (Fiction Publisher) the one and only, Jeremy Trevathan...
Over divine food, we discussed events lined up for later in the year. The Murder Wall publication date is 12th April. But on the evening of the 26th April, a launch event and book signing will take place as part of the Hexham Book Festival (details to be confirmed). Then in May, I'm off to Bristol to the international crime fiction convention known as Crimefest. I've never been before, so looking forward to that. In July - and I've been dying to tell you this - as well as taking part in a panel discussion on 'Creative Thursday', I'm hosting a table at Theakstons Peculier Crime Writing Festival dinner! In August, the translation of Settled Blood will be published by Goldmann in German. In September, I intend to go north to Scotland's first international crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland. In November, Pan Macmillan will publish Settled Blood in the UK, commonwealth and Canada so we get to do it all over again.
In the meantime, the excitement is building. I'm told the film clip is looking good - minus the ums and ers! - so you'll be able to see it soon. I'd like to leave you with one thought. This week, Ian Rankin gave a speech stressing that "authors need publishers" as reported here in the Bookseller. I'd like to echo that sentiment. If the last two days have taught me anything it's that I definitely need mine.