Val McDermid: ‘Left to our own devices, writers adopt the habits of a hermit crab’

2560The crime writer on bingeing on West Wing, taking time out on computer games and the joys of first-class train travel

Illustration by Alan Vest

When I first became a full-time writer, I mostly had writing days. People seldom wanted to listen to me read, consult my opinion or watch me perform. But the combination of success and the proliferation of literary festivals and media platforms has profoundly altered the even tenor of my mostly isolated days.

That’s probably a benefit; the observation and the company of others is, after all, what provides a writer with raw material. Left to our own devices, we’ve got a tendency to adopt the habits of a hermit crab.

I tend to write in 20‑minute bursts. That seems to be the length of my concentration span

Now I try to carve out a chunk of the year when the other calls on my time are kept to a minimum. Three or four months when I can more or less stay at home and write. January, February, March and, when I can get away with it, into April. When the weather is at its most miserable and I mind being indoors least. But my life is complicated, so even then I spend the equivalent of one of most people’s working days on trains each week.

Read the full article on The Guardian website…

Val McDermid and Chris Brookmyre in running for McIlvanney prize…

The finalists for a Scottish crime writing award named in honour of the late author William McIlvanney have been announced.

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 16.47.50Val McDermid, Chris Brookmyre, Doug Johnstone and ES Thomson are all shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize.

The winner of the Scottish Crime Book of the Year will be awarded The McIlvanney Prize at the opening ceremony of crime writing festival Bloody Scotland on Friday.

McIlvanney, who revitalised the Scottish crime genre and became known as the Godfather of Tartan Noir, died at his home in Glasgow on December 5, 2015 aged 79.

His brother, renowned sports journalist Hugh McIlvanney, will present the award at a ceremony in Stirling.

The winner will receive £1,000 and all four finalists will be presented with a full set of McIlvanney novels, including the acclaimed Laidlaw trilogy.

From The Herald Scotland wed 31 August

Who beat JK Rowling’s alter ego Robert Galbraith to the crime novel of the year award?

Former policewoman Clare Mackintosh has beaten JK Rowling to the Theakstons Old Peculier crime novel of the year award.

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 16.21.05

Harry Potter author Rowling was shortlisted for Career Of Evil, written under her pen name Robert Galbraith, but lost out to Mackintosh with her debut thriller, I Let You Go.

Mackintosh spent 12 years in the police force but left in 2011 and became a full-time writer.
The crime-writing prize is now in its twelfth year, with previous winners including Val McDermid, Lee Child, Mark Billingham, Sarah Hilary and Denise Mina.

Mackintosh, who will receive £3,000, beat off competition from a shortlist of six British and Irish authors whose novels were published in paperback between May 1 2015 and April 30 2016.

Read the article on The HeraldScotland website…

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Category: Reviews (page 8 of 11)