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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.

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!


Quote for The Murder Wall

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

Wow! I was knocked out when I received this and I'm delighted to share it with you. It's my first author quote and it's come from one of crime fiction's finest. I'd like to thank Peter for his generosity and support, for taking the time to read and comment on my work when he's so very busy. His endorsement means so much. 


Bookseller Paperback Preview of The Murder Wall

I'm really excited by this preview in December's issue of The Bookseller magazine . . .

The Murder Wall: A début Pan is particularly keen on for it starts a Newcastle based series that will build quickly with two a year. My reader found it finished a little sharply but thoroughly enjoyed getting there. 


Happy New Year!

As 2011 draws to a close, I'd like to say a few things before signing off. At the start of the year, my agent suggested that I join Twitter. I was shaking my head before he'd even finished speaking ...

'It isn't my style ...' I told him. 'I don't think I'll be any good at it. They talk a different language. I'll never fit in. Besides, I haven't got the time.'

'You should consider it ...' Oli said. 'It's a lot of fun!'

I think I changed the subject and poured more wine.

On the journey back from London, I had second thoughts. Agents advise, don't they? It would be rude to ignore mine. If you know Oli - that's @oliagent by the way - it will not have escaped your attention that he knows how to party ... him and the rest of Blake Friedmann team! If he said it was fun, it would be. It was a chance to engage with others and get my name out there, an opportunity to lessen the isolation of living inside my own head making up stories. What harm could it do?

On 13th February 2011, I took the plunge. I had no idea what I was doing. Oh, you noticed?:-) Well, that much was obvious to the pros. But then people began to help me out, my followers grew, and I met so many wonderful and generous people along the way. Oli was right, it was/is good fun.

It didn't take me long to realise that joining the Twitterverse was about so much more than building a following on route to publication. In the last ten months, I've laughed and cried at your humour, I've learned the lessons you have taught, I've made a complete fool of myself on occasions and, sadly, perhaps inevitably, I've felt your disappointment and your pain. I've also seen the way you rally round each other when times are tough and I've always felt included in your thoughts. That means so much to me.  

In July, I met some of my Twitter friends at Harrogate Crime Writing Festival. I wasn't disappointed. They were just as much fun in real life as they had previously been in the virtual one. A small group of us have since met up and have plans to do it again in a few weeks time. Wine will no doubt figure as we raise a glass to 2012.

By a country mile, the very best experience for me came in August this year: Publication Day in Germany. My Twitter feed went ballistic as good wishes poured in from all over the world. I was a published author at last! Sharing it with you guys made it all the more special. I can't wait to do it all over again when The Murder Wall is published in the UK in April 2012.

In the meantime, thanks for all the support you've shown me over the year. Wherever you are tonight, I wish you all a very Happy New Year! 


The Murder Wall cover blurb

Who knows when a killer will call?

Eleven months after discovering a brutal double murder in a sleepy Northumbrian village, Detective Chief Inspector Kate Daniels is still haunted by her failure to solve the case. Then a brutal killing of a man on Newcastle's Quayside gives Daniels her first case as Senior Investigating Officer and another chance to get it right.

When Daniels recognizes the corpse but fails to disclose the fact, her personal life suddenly swerves into her professional life. But, much worse, she is now being watched.

As Daniels steps closer to finding a killer, a killer is only a breath away from claiming his next victim...

The Murder Wall was published by Goldmann in Germany in August 2011 under the title: Sein Zorn komme über uns. It will be launched in the UK, Commonwealth & Canada in April 2012.


Introducing . . .The Murder Wall 

It seems like ages since I first mentioned having seen The Murder Wall jacket proof. Well, today I've been given permission to share the updated version with everyone for the very first time. I think it's absolutely stunning. Thank you, Pan Macmillan. You've done an amazing job!


Publication Day in Germany!

Well, it's here. I've been working towards this day for a very long time. You heard the one about the ten year overnight success? That's me. I woke up this morning, same old me. Nothing has changed, right? Wrong. I can finally call myself a published author! Yes, me!

And just as I am writing this, six copies of Sein Zorn komme über uns have arrived.

I am delighted with the way the book looks. I had no input in the jacket design but I think my German publisher, Goldmann, have done a great job. 

All of a sudden, publication is not something happening in the future. It's right here, right now. I can hardly contain myself . . . 

There are no trumpets sounding, no launch parties planned in far flung places, just a small but very special family party at home later on today.

I just couldn't let the day pass without acknowledging two very special people who have helped me on my way. My partner, who has always believed in me. Thanks, Mo. And my agent, a really cool guy for those of you who don't know him. Thanks, Oli.

The rest of my day will be spent doing absolutely nothing except holding this very special book in my hand whilst I raise a toast to Goldmann and also Sigrun Zühlke, my German translator, who I've yet to meet.

That's all. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.   


The Murder Wall Cover

Yesterday, I saw the proposed cover for The Murder Wall for the first time and I was blown away. I won't describe it because, as soon as I can, I intend to post it here on my website. What I can tell you is that it is bold, fresh and distinctly original, so right for the debut and the series as a whole. I've seen nothing like it before. Pan Macmillan art department have done a fantastic job! Watch this space for more details . . . 


Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival 2011

Crime fiction authors and bloggers are doing such an excellent job of letting people know what went on at Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival 2011, so I've decided to come at it from a different angle altogether.

There are many words I could use to describe the festival but the one that springs to mind as I sit down to write this post is: INCLUSIVE. I know I'm not alone in thinking that. Many writer friends have said the same thing. But was it always so?

Before you all log off, I'm not about to knock the festival. On the contrary, the point I'm making is that it is what you make it. Either you engage with others or you stand on the sidelines and miss the opportunity. A few years ago, I did just that.

I attended my first festival on the advice of NJ Cooper after a chance meeting at the Hexham Book Festival. I arrived in Harrogate 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.

That year, the festival was held at The Old Swan. For me it began on Creative Thursday, a day of seminars and workshops led by some of the big names in crime fiction. Those of us who'd signed up were asked to submit a paragraph of Opening Lines for a session chaired by Val McDermid and Mark Billingham. Not quite Dragons' Pen, but daunting enough back then . . .

I was so excited when my opening lines were singled out by Val for special mention, even more so when she read them out to wannabe writers from across the globe. But when the festival ended, I was painfully aware that I hadn't really made the most of the opportunities on offer. I'd been a spectator, rather than a participant. I could've left Harrogate disappointed and disillusioned but something amazing happened that year too . . .

I met an author who'd just been signed by a big agency and had a two book deal in the bag. I remember thinking that if I worked really hard I might achieve the same thing in a few years. By 2010, I had an agent and went to the festival hell bent on talking to anyone who'd shown an interest in my work. One editor I spoke to just happened to have my manuscript on his desk at the time. He is now my editor, I have my three book deal, and I'm about to embark on the next leg of my journey to publication. 

Very soon, I'll be the one engaging with the reading public, facing a barrage of question about why I'm driven to 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. And I damn well better know the answers.

Those of us unused to making public appearances fear them. It's only natural. Stella Duffy and I had a brief conversation about this last year. She turned to me and said: You'll be fine. It's all about them now, not you. More good advice from a perfect stranger. You see a pattern developing here?

Last weekend, our favourite authors wowed us with their stories, made us laugh, answered our questions. Not just the stars of the festival, like Lee Child and Tess Gerritsen, but many authors I'd never even heard of.

As a debut author, I was particularly interested in the New Blood panel. Listening to them speak, it struck me how entertaining, professional and, above all, enthusiastic they all were. They each had something new to say about the genre of crime fiction and it made we want to buy their books. It was hard to imagine any of them having had a bumpy ride getting there, although I bet they all did.

This year I actually shook hands with Dennis Lehane and Martina Cole - you don't get any bigger than that! - and on Friday I attended my first Macmillan dinner at Rudding Park. I was sitting at one end of a very long table, a glass of champagne in my hand, pinching myself because David Baldacci was sitting at the other. I had the most amazing time.

I'm no longer the person standing on the outside looking in. The Crime Writing Festival has played a huge role in getting me this far. So a big thank you to everyone involved in making it such a huge success. Who knows? Next year I may even be in a position to give something back.   


Sein Zorn komme über uns

In exactly one month from now my debut novel will hit the shelves in Germany. I know as writer I should be able to explain exactly how I'm feeling right now but sometimes things are just so extreme there's no single word that adequately describes them. This is one of those times.  

So, after years of writing, pitching, rewriting, editing and waiting, publication day is nearly here. The fact that I won't be able to read it - I don't speak German sadly - makes no difference to the sense of achievement I'm experiencing. 

I've seen the cover design and viewed the book on German websites but, bizarrely, I've not met the person(s) whose decision it was to take it on, let alone the translator. And I've yet to hold a hard copy of the book in my hand. So, even at this late stage, I'm feeling slightly detached from reality.

Last year, I attended the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate where I met the man who would later become my UK editor. Little did I know it at the time, but I hoped, I dreamed, I kept believing. Next week, I will return to Harrogate. I know many aspiring writers will also be there hoping to meet someone in the publishing industry with the power to make their dreams come true. If you are one of those people I wish you the very best of luck.