My list of recommended reads is even longer this time – I’ve been away and that meant more reading opportunity. Especially as we were without a TV. Enjoy!
The Humans by Matt Haig
After the Fire, A Still Small Voice by Evie Wyld
Strumpet City by James Plunkett
The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan
I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
The Flight by M.R. Hall
What Lies Within by Tom Vowler
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
The Boat by Clara Salaman
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Perfect by Rachel Joyce
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
Countdown City by Ben H. Winters
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson
The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty
There was a frog, dirty big frog. They laughed and the city wasn’t so bad anymore.
*Originally published by www.the-phone-book.com (now archived)
Most of May I spent in Chengdu, in China, researching my new novel. It was a fantastic trip, a combination of soaking in the sights, sounds, smells and everyday life of the city interspersed with day trips out to surrounding attractions. We were staying with my eldest son who works there as an English teacher. He is fluent in Chinese which was a huge advantage for us in negotiating journeys and talking to Chinese people about some of the questions I had. And he was able to show us the ropes so we could get around and fend for ourselves while he was at work. We learnt a smattering of words before we went but it is possible to order food purely by pointing at pictures and performing energetic sign language. I was delighted to be invited to give an author talk at The Bookworm Chengdu, an English language bookshop, library, restaurant and bar. My first international bookshop appearance. It was a lovely venue and a really enjoyable evening. The Bookworm hosts a large literary festival every March with authors from all over the world appearing at their branches in Chengdu, Beijing and Suzhou.
There was some irony in that we were staying in the city that now makes 20% of the world’s computers but there were swathes of the web that were simply not available to us due to internet censorship. So I had no access to Twitter or any wordpress or blogspot sites. I also discovered that I couldn’t send any emails only receive them. Half-way through our visit I got an email from writer and editor Martin Edwards subject: Short Story Dagger, saying, Hi Cath, By the time you read this, I am sure you will know that you have been shortlisted for the Dagger again. I’m really pleased for you!! Talk about a wonderful surprise! I was too excited to sleep that night. Since then I’ve been able to see the shortlist and I am awed to be in such spectacular company. So a big thanks to Martin and to the CWA for all the work in organising these awards which do so much to promote crime fiction. The results will be announced on June 30th along with the results of the International Dagger, Debut Dagger, Library Dagger, Non-Fiction and the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger as well as the presentation to Simon Brett of the Diamond Dagger. And I shall be tweeting all about it. If there’s a signal…
She’d never learnt to drive. Women didn’t back then. When he died she was marooned. He’d taken the whole world with him.