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Nobody understands the many faces of cops better than Mari Hannah. Val McDermid

Truly absorbing. Peter Robinson 

Mari Hannah's already assured command of the crime fiction idiom has even managed to grow incrementally, as The Death Messenger proves. It's a reminder of how appropriate her recent CWA Dagger win was. Barry Foreshaw: 

A vivid new hero in this satisfyingly dark and tense thriller. The Independent 

This award winning crime thriller series has evolved into one of the best in the market. 

They're just great reads. Stephen Fry, Sprout Pictures 


If proof were neeed that Hannah's DCI Kate Daniels is a great addition to the crime scene, then here it is. Peterborough Telegraph

Brutal and engaging. Mari Hannah writes with a sharp eye and a dark heart. Peter James 

DCI Kate Daniels: a Northerner to join the roster of top literary detectives. The Times 

Solid plotting ... a satisfying and meaty read. The Guardian

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Stephen Fry and I are thrilled to be working with Mari on bringing the extraordinary Kate Daniels to life - Gina Carter.

Harrogate is fast approaching...

Those who follow me on Twitter (@mariwriter) will already know how I feel about Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival and what an important a part it has played in my journey to publication. Well, it’s nearly that time of the year again. The excitement is building and crime writers and readers from all over the world are about to descend on Harrogate for the tenth time. This year, I have more reason than ever to be excited ...  

Being invited to take part in the Creative Thursday programme is a dream come true. I’ll be joining fellow authors Mark Edwards and Louise Voss, their Harper Collins editor, Kate Bradley, and my own, Wayne Brookes of Pan Macmillan on a discussion panel entitled The Road to Publication: Success Stories. The idea is to highlight and explore different routes to publication. It is both an honour and a celebration for me to do this in Harrogate where my story began.

The one thing Mark, Louise and I have in common is that our journeys were long and difficult. But long and difficult does not equal impossible and that is the message I’ll be trying to get across. Creative Thursday is a great place to start. It’s a day of writer-led seminars and workshops, a chance to rub shoulders with those who have thrilled us with crime fiction for years. I’ve said before, the festival is what you make it. Either you engage with others or you stand on the sidelines and miss the opportunity.

I attended my first festival on the advice of NJ Cooper – Hooray! She’s just been longlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger for Vengeance in Mind . We’d met at the Hexham Book Festival. The following year, I arrived in Harrogate a bit nervous, alone, and knowing very little about the industry I wanted to be part of. Big mistake when you're suddenly in a room full of book enthusiasts, authors, agents, publishers and bloggers.

The important thing is that Creative Thursday gave me the impetus to finish my debut, The Murder Wall. In 2010, I won a Northern Writers’ Award for Settled Blood, the second in the Kate Daniels series. This was after translation rights had been sold to Goldmann in Germany for the debut, but before my agent had found a UK publisher. Then came my big break – a three book deal with Pan Macmillan.

There have been many proud moments this year: a quote for The Murder Wall by Peter James, a glowing review from Marcel Berlins (Times) and another from Laura Wilson (Guardian) both had me shrieking with delight! I thought I might die of excitement.

I’m only now getting used to the public side of being a professional crime writer. Oh yes, there is a whole other aspect to the job! Since The Murder Wall was published on 12th April 2012, I’ve been fully engaged with the reading public: signing books, giving interviews, facing a barrage of question about why I write, what kind of stories interest me, how many hours a day I devote to the craft of writing, how I plan and structure my novels.

In May, I had my first taste of speaking at Crimefest – another great festival held in Bristol. And last month, I took part in Crime on Tour when Theakstons Crime Writing Festival took to the road bringing 'New Blood' to crime fiction fans ahead of the festival itself to mark their tenth anniversary. Just about every week from now until Christmas (don’t ask me when I will ever find the time to write) I’m appearing somewhere or other – and that’s not including the launch of Settled Blood in November.

There are few who relish taking the stage or being held up as an expert and I’m no different in this respect. I’m not a shy person but neither do public appearances come naturally to me. However, as my confidence has grown, I’ve come to realise how important it is to take part in such events. It’s an opportunity to thank the reading public for their support, to pass on what I’ve learned along the way, and to contribute something new to the genre of crime fiction. I'm no longer the person standing on the outside looking in. I’m a fully paid up member of the crime writing community and it’s a great place to be. Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival has played a huge role in getting me there. I hope some of you will join me at Creative Thursday when I have the chance to give something back.


North Tyneside Summer Read ...

I'm delighted to announce that The Murder Wall has been chosen as the North Tyneside Summer Read novel this year.

What is it? The aim is to get as many people across North Tyneside reading the same book at the same time. Promoted by the library service in the area, the project is supported by New Writing North, North Tyneside Council and Arts Council England. It will make books available through libraries, council offices, and other venues as appropriate. It will run throughout July, August and September. During this period, the book will be for sale at a reduced price at venues across North Tyneside.

On the evening of Thursday 4th October, there will be a 'Meet the Author' event at the Grand Hotel, Tynemouth, where I will talk about The Murder Wall and meet readers. Details are posted on my events page.  


Crime in the Court

Goldsboro Books, Cecil Court, LondonOn Tuesday, 3rd July I attended 'Crime in the Court' at Goldsboro Books in London. An event now in its second year, it was heaving with crime writers, agents, publishers and crime fiction fans. We were there to celebrate Independent Booksellers Week, and boy did we live up to that. It rained - a lot - but we just didn't care. 

As a debut author, I still get a kick out of rubbing shoulders with writers whose work has inspired me. And when those who haven't quite made it yet want to chat and ask questions, I feel privileged to pass on what I know about the publishing industry. I'm very lucky to be in a position to give something back because that is what it's all about. 

I'd like to say a big thank you David Headley, top bloke, and owner of the bookshop. He specialises in first editions and only stocks hardbacks, but there among the hard covers was The Murder Wall written by me! It made me immensely proud to see it there. Thank you David. Roll on Crime in the Court 2013!


Crime Month

For those who didn't know, June was Crime Month so I thought I'd share a little of what I've been doing. Actually, I wasn't here at all at the beginning of the month. When June kicked in I was in Majorca while the rest of the UK enjoyed the Diamond Jubilee. I left straight after the international crime fiction convention: Crimefest.

Crimefest is held in Bristol and it was my first visit to the festival and city. It was a brilliant event. I met some wonderful people there - writers as well as readers. We enjoyed wall-to-wall sunshine for three whole days and I got my first opportunity to speak publicly at a festival, a twenty minute 'In The Spotlight' session.

I chose to speak about the highs and lows of my journey to publication. It went well until, and in front of a full house, I was overcome by emotion as I shared the moment I received the offer of a book deal after years of hard work. My friends, my agent and my Pan Macmillan publicist were all there to witness this. At the time, I wanted the floor to open up and swallow me. But so many wannabe writers made a point of seeking me out afterwards to tell me how pleased they were to have shared my 'moment' and my passion, I quickly got over it. It is my passion that has got me here after all. 

Interest is already building for the second book in the series - Settled Blood is to be published on 8th November 2012 - and I've given a couple of interviews this month too. You can read these by visiting my Reviews page. I've also been invited to speak at festivals, to take part in library events and signings later in the year. As and when they're confirmed, I will post these on my Events page.    

On 14th June, I took part in Crime on Tour at Newcastle Central Library, organised by Theakstons Crime Writing Festival who were touring the north promoting New Blood. Danielle Ramsay and I were interviewed by fellow Pan Mac author, Ann Cleeves. She was so generous in her introduction, describing us as the 'new bright stars in the crime writing galaxy' - praise indeed from one of the country's most successful crime writers.

A few days later, The Murder Wall was featured in the Underground Book Club, a free magazine for commuters in London, bringing new books to public attention. Magazines distributed across the underground included a review of The Murder Wall and three free chapters for commuters to read on their way to and from work. A digital version is also available.

And more excitement: Along with Peter James' novel Dead Simple, The Murder Wall was chosen to launch the WHSmith's Kobo for Father's Day. And as the month draws to a close, so did the edit for book three which I finished in time for Book Reading Day on 30th - a day when I also learned that the jacket for the third in the Kate Daniels series is on its way . . .

So, all in all, Crime Month was a busy one for me. Next up, a few days off, and a chance to celebrate Independent Booksellers Week. Today, I'm attending Crime in the Court at Goldsboro Books in London. Then, on the 5th, I'm working behind the counter at Forum Books as a thank you to my small village bookshop who have sold over one hundred copies of The Murder Wall! I'll keep you posted on how it goes.


Independent Booksellers Week

Forum Books - Corbridge - 5th July 2012

To celebrate Independent Booksellers Week, I'm leaping over the counter to spend the afternoon of Thursday, 5th July actually selling books at Forum Books in Corbridge. This is my way of saying thank you to Helen Stanton and her wonderful staff who have sold a massive one hundred copies of The Murder Wall since the book was launched on 12th April 2012. Hip hip . . . hooray for independent booksellers! If you are in the area, please come along and join in what I know will be a fun afternoon.


Crime on Tour ...

Hot off the press! 

To mark their tenth anniversary, I'm delighted to tell you that Theastons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival are taking to the road bringing 'New Blood' to crime fiction fans ahead of the festival itself which takes place in July . . . 

Crime on Tour events will be taking place between 29th May to 14th June in cities right across the north of England. I've been asked to take part in one at Newcastle City Library on Thursday 14th June. For details of all events, click here: Crime on Tour 

For my own event, click here: Newcastle City Library    


The Murder Wall is officially launched ...

Hooray! On the evening of Thursday 26th April 2012, The Murder Wall was officially launched in the beautiful Queens Hall Library at Hexham Book Festival. The event was a sell-out and was sponsored by New Writing North whose Chief Executive, Claire Malcolm, chaired the evening.

Readings were given by local actress, Phillippa Wilson.   It was the first time I'd heard my work read out in public and I was knocked out by the way she carried it off.

There were many questions from the floor afterwards as well as a long signing queue of family, friends, fellow writers and local people just enjoying the festival atmosphere. 


I'd like to thank everyone involved, especially Festival Director, Susie Troupe, New Writing North's Marketing and Communications Manager, Olivia Chapman, and her sound technician. A big round of applause also for official photographer, Simon Veit-Wilson, who has kindly given permission to use his photographs here.   

I'd also like to thank festival 'background' staff I never got to meet, also Helen and Stan from Forum Books, Corbridge for supplying the books and staffing the bookstall.

Last, but not least, a big thank you to my dream team: Pan Macmillan editor, Wayne Brookes, and agent, Oli Munson. Their trip to Northumberland made my night so very special.  


It's been quite a week ...

My week began with a fun Getting to Know You Q & A with Victoria Watson and wonderful personal reviews of The Murder Wall by Sarah Chapman (aka Bibliomouse) and We Love This Book. Today, Miles Rambles posted my contribution to 'Off the Record' a section of his website where authors can write on any topic, a first for me. This week, like last, has been filled with good wishes.

The book has been very well received and signings have been a real eye-opener. This is now about the reader and not me. In truth, it has always been so. But lately, I've felt like I've been the focus of attention rather than the the book, and that's not something you get used to overnight. To cap it all, I woke on Saturday morning to a wonderful surprise, a much welcomed Guardian 'Crime Fiction' Review by Laura Wilson. It doesn't get any better than that!


Publication Day passed me by ...

I never dreamt that I'd miss a post on Publication Day but I was so busy on Thursday 12th replying to good luck tweets, answering emails and taking calls, I just never got round to it. Thanks to each and every one of you. You know who you are.

There are too many people to thank individually but a special mention must go to Peter James for his endorsement of The Murder Wall. Pam McIlroy for hosting a competition to win a copy of the book on my big day - and for her fabulous review. Likewise to Keith Walters and Miles Rambles for their wonderful reviews. Keith claims my book spoiled his manicure. My lawyers will refute that. Matt Ogborn also gets a mention for a special interview posted on Publication Day. Rebecca Leith for her fun Q and A on Friday. The Harrogate gang of 2011 for year round support: As mentioned above, Pam, Keith, Miles. Also, Mel Sherratt (thanks so much for the wonderful bouquet, Mel! Sniff.) Also Rebecca Bradley who snuck a mention of me on her blog when she thought I wasn't watching, Nic Ford who always makes me laugh and fellow Pan Mac author, Dave Jackson. Thanks also to Rhian Davies who nominated me for #fridayreads and has fun stuff planned. Watch this space ...   

I've spoken before about my journey. Blake Friedmann and Pan Macmillan are a dream team to work with. I've listed agents and editors, sales and marketing teams, art departments and publicists, typesetters, office bods and book bloggers. Well, the last two days have introduced another dimension altogether: the buyers, booksellers and counter assistants, most important of all - the readers. It really is a team effort.

My first signing was at Waterstones in Newcastle on Friday. I lost count of how many copies I signed (hooray!) but I had some surprise visitors along the way: my partner - well, maybe that wasn't such a surprise now I come to think of it! - my son and his partner, someone I knew from my screenwriting days called Keith who'll appear in book three as himself, and another Northern Writers' Award winner, soon to be published author, Niel Bushnell - as well as people who just knew people who knew me.

One lady came in because her daughter works with my son. She bought two books, had them signed, then disappeared. Half an hour later, she arrived back in store with these lovely flowers. I'd never met her before and I was so touched by her generosity.

I signed books for birthdays, for people visiting the sick, for girlfriends who couldn't make it because they were working, for loved ones who live faraway. One book enthusiast bought five copies. Good man! He asked me to write the first line of The Murder Wall, sign and date them with the publication date. He was meticulous about examining the books first, making sure they weren't damaged in any way. 

One customer asked me if I knew where the maps were! I didn't. A man in his eighties made the same mistake of thinking I was a member of staff. Realising I was an author signing, he apologised profusely. I told him not to worry, it was a genuine mistake. When I asked him if he liked crime fiction, he replied, 'Yes, but only the historical kind.' He came back some time later with a basket full of books - his summer reads -and asked me to sign a copy of the Murder Wall. I said, 'but you only like historical!' He told me I'd been so nice about his faux pas he'd decided to give it a go. We chatted for ages about his late wife and his amazing children.

A young guy came in. He pointed at the pile and said, I'll have one of those. Gary didn't like crime but he was an author himself. Smiling, he told me he knew what it was like sitting in a bookstore waiting for someone to buy your book. It was a lull. I wasn't sulking. Honestly.

Just as I was about to leave, a man passed me by and did a double-take. I know the author of that book, he said. And he did. I've only spoken publicly once and that was to the Cramlington Writers' Group of which Ian is a member. A published author himself, he went back to the counter and bought another book. Mine.

These were just some of the people I met at my first signing. They were knowledgeable, enthusiastic and they all loved crime fiction as much as I do. I was feeling the love and they made my day really special. Before I left, my son came back into Waterstones. I've not come to buy your book, he said. I came to buy SJToyne. Nuff said. After an amazing afternoon, it was back to earth with a bump.



Times' Marcel Berlins' crime review - 7th April 2012

Marcel Berlins lists DCI Kate Daniels as one of two Northerners to join the roster of top literary detectives.

A welcome to two excellent police thriller debuts, both set in the North East and both introducing coppers whom I hope will be around for some time . . .

The feisty, stubborn, occasionally subordinate heroine of Mari Hannah's The Murder Wall, DCI Kate Daniels of the Newcastle police, too ambitious for her own good, having to mask her sexuality, sees a murder in a posh flat as a chance to redeem her failure to solve a similar killing a year before. But the new inquiry turns out to involve someone she's very close to; there's an ethical issue. Hannah is especially good at portraying the emotional interactions and office politics of a fraught police force.


The Murder Wall - Waterstones Book of the Month!

Oh Wow! I'm so excited.

My lovely daughter-in-law just spotted this wonderful display in Waterstones (Newcastle) where I'll be signing at 1.30pm on Friday 13th April - and no, I'm not superstitious!

My local independent bookshop, Forum Books (Corbridge) have also been in touch to say they have their copies.

I'm about to open the bubbly!


The book has arrived!

A very special parcel arrived today from Pan Macmillan, a big brown box containing pristine copies of The Murder Wall. It's taken years to get to this point and it was a great feeling to see the finished book and actually hold it in my hand. My timeline on Twitter went mad as people shared in my joy. Thanks everyone - you know who you are. Deep breath now . . . only sixteen more sleeps until Publication Day!     


Book Launch! 

Hello! I mentioned book launch news in my last post but now it's official. The Murder Wall launch will take place at the Hexham Book Festival 2012 on April 26th at 8pm in the Queens Hall Library. I'll be signing books afterwards and I look forward to meeting you over a glass of wine.

The festival is always well attended so if you'd like to come along and celebrate my big day, it may be best to book early to avoid disappointment. Tickets to my event are free but must be reserved by phone or email here and may be left at the box office for collection if required. Please note: it is not possible to book free events online.


My Harrogate 2012

Shall I stop jumping up and down now and tell you my great news?  

Those of you who follow me on Twitter and visit this site regularly will already know how I feel about Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival and how inextricably linked it is to my journey to publication. This is last year's post

Well, today I'm delighted to announce that I've been asked to take part in the Creative Thursday programme this year (yes, me!) along with Programme Chair, Mark Billingham, fellow writers Mark Edwards and Louise Voss, their editor at Harper Collins, Kate Bradley, and my own fabulous publisher, Wayne Brookes of Pan Macmillan.

The 'Success Stories' seminar will highlight and explore different routes to publication. Details are only just emerging at this point but I'll report back as soon as I know more. I'd just like to say that it is both an honour and a celebration for me to be able to give something back to Harrogate where my story began - I can't wait for July!  



Booksellers' Choice - more great news for The Murder Wall 

Wow! The Murder Wall has been listed as the Booksellers' Choice of titles due for publication in April 2012 with the following comments . . . 

Set in Newcastle, The Murder Wall by Mari Hannah is a fast-paced thriller featuring DCI Kate Daniels, a mixed-up detective who finds that her latest case is personal - the murder of her colleague's husband. This is police procedural at its best - short, snappy chapters, inventive characters, lots of twists and interwoven stories of the police's private lives.

I'm so excited!