February is here again, which means it's publication time! My brand new book, Deserving Death, is out in shops everywhere, and online too, in print, e book, and audio form. Reviews have started coming in and readers have been in touch telling me how much they enjoyed it going on the new adventure with Ella and paramedics Carly and Tessa.
One great review comes from Fiona Hardy on the Readings Bookshop website:
"On a springtime morning in Sydney, two paramedics get a call: to attend to a collapsed woman in Sydenham. The paramedics recognise the address, and when they arrive their worst fears are confirmed: their co-worker and friend, Alicia Bayliss, is found bloody and beaten to death. Just weeks earlier, another paramedic suffered the same grisly fate.
In Katherine Howell’s latest Detective Ella Marconi novel, there is as much emotional involvement as there is procedural detail. Marconi is unnerved, sensing unexpected tensions among the paramedics she interviews, while attempting to sustain her relationship with Dr Callum McLennan as the anniversary of his cousin’s death approaches. Marconi is the one who helped find the killer – the doctor’s own perverse father – and McLennan’s mother cannot forgive her for it. Meanwhile, paramedic Carly Martens is troubled, determined to find justice for her dead friend, while waiting to see if her girlfriend will be able to brave her family’s bigotry and disclose their relationship. The emergency services – both police and ambulance – require trust on the field, but in this case, suspicion spreads far and wide.
Deserving Death was a revealing and tense read, and the cause of a Very Late Night Staying Up Just To Finish One cough Twelve More Chapters. This is a book full of smart and powerful women, and the men who feel inadequate when confronted by them. Exactly the right kind of crime novel to throw us screaming into 2014."
Readers often ask where book ideas come from, and usually I have no good answer because mine develop over time and in foggy circumstances and vague daydreams. Deserving Death was different however: it popped into my head when my partner and I were flying from Los Angeles to New York in 2012. It was the first Saturday after the 4th July, so lots of towns and cities were celebrating, which meant that as we flew through the darkness we looked down on countless fireworks displays, one after another, right across the country. I sat spellbound with my face pressed against the cold window while at the same time my mind wandered through blood and guts and bad bad deeds. Suddenly the idea was there. What if it was paramedics who were getting killed? I pulled out my notebook (never go anywhere without it) and started scribbling. Who died, who did it, and why? It always starts at that point, then expands outwards in all directions. I kept thinking as we got off the flight and caught a cab into the city (and that first view is something I'll never forget), and by the time we were standing on East 42nd Street to eat a 2 am hot dog in a shower of rain, I had the basis worked out.
I've not been so fortunate with the eighth book, which I'm writing now--I've been back in the fog, stumbling about, having a sense of the story rather than a clean crisp idea. But I'm used to that :) and it's coming along really well. Is it wrong that I'm already looking forward to its release in February next year??
Meanwhile the year rolls on! I have a few workshops in the early stages of scheduling - one will be a day-long crime writing workshop at the NSW Writers Centre in Sydney, another will be on plotting at the Northern Rivers Writers Centre in Byron Bay. Both of these are late in the year so details aren't on their sites yet. When it's all confirmed, I'll post them on my Learn with Katherine page. There are also a number of library talks coming up, the first at Garden City Shopping Centre in Brisbane on March 22nd, and the details for that are up now on my Events page. (The rest will be listed when confirmed.)
But right now, I'm leaping back into writing book 8. If you've got your hands on a copy of Deserving Death, I hope you're enjoying it! And thanks for reading :)
It's a little hard to believe -- my sixth book is now out. It feels strange to know that, to get emails from readers about it, to talk in interviews about it. The process of writing and editing a book can sometimes feel never-ending, and then it's over and you move onto the next, then the first is published and living its own life in the world. Along with the previous five, too! It feels incredible, when I can remember so clearly getting the news that Pan Macmillan wanted to buy the first, and I also remember all the years of work to reach even that point. Nothing good happens overnight and that can certainly be said of writing - I worked seriously on novels for sixteen years before I got that first contract. I call that time my apprenticeship, because it was then that I learned how to write, how to build a story, how to develop characters. Not that I've stopped learning any of those things. Every book I read I think about the characterisation, plot, the placement of clues, the writing. Lucky me that I get to do one of my favourite things as part of work :)
So the book is out in paperback in shops, as an ebook online, and as an audiobook too. (Links are on the book page.) Reviews have started appearing on Goodreads (thank you, reviewers!), and I have interviews lined up all over the place. Not so many events this time, but check the events page to see where I'm going - including a couple of free crime writing workshops for those of you in Brisbane.
And in between all these things, I'm writing book 7. It has no title at the moment, but that will come. I'm really enjoying the story, but have to say once again, poor Ella. :)
I've been doing some different writing too, including my first travel article, published nationally at the end of December, and which you can read here. I have an exciting trip coming up to write more articles about somewhere in Australia that I've been dying to revisit for years, which I'll be able to tell you about at a later date.
That's enough for now I think! Happy reading until next time,
It's Saturday morning one week into 2012, rain is falling gently outside, and I've just signed up to attend Thrillerfest in New York in July. Woohoo! I've been to Europe a few times before but never to the US, and to be going to New York particularly just thrills me. Thrillerfest is a fabulous annual festival featuring some of the biggest names in crime and thriller writing: stars this year include Karin Slaughter, James Patterson, Mary Higgins Clark and the one and only Lee Child. It's run by the International Thriller Writers, an organisation of which I'm a member, and goes for four days. The first two days are allotted to Craftfest, a series of workshops and talks in which some of the world's bestselling authors share their writing secrets, and Agentfest, a session where aspiring authors pitch their work to agents. I'm going along to Craftfest, because you should always grab the chance to learn from others, and the panel days, and can't wait! I can tell it's going to be a long six months.
The other great US news is that all my work will soon be available there as ebooks! They'll be up on Amazon first, and should be there any day now. I'll post again when I hear for sure, or if you are in the US and download one, I'd be grateful if you could let me know please :)
My author copies of Silent Fear arrived the other day. What a moment that is, opening a box of your new books for the first time! That was the fifth such time for me but it never gets old and I don't mind admitting that I cried. It's such a thrill to hold it at last, and think of all the work that went into it, not only by me but by my wonderful editor Bri and publisher Cate, cover designer Deborah Parry who always does an incredible job, and everyone in Pan Macmillan who helps along the way. I can't wait to see it on the shelves on Feb 1st, and am delighted that Bolinda Audio are releasing it as an audiobook the same day. I have a few tour dates posted now, but there are more to come, including all the events in WA and SA. I'll put them up as soon as I get them. I also post on Facebook, so if you 'like' my page you can find out there if you prefer.
I'm looking forward to the start of my next Year Of The Edit class on January 21st. The previous class concluded mid-December and one student said to me, 'forget about a learning curve, this was a straight line upwards!' If you live in or around Brisbane and have a manuscript you'd like some help with editing, I really recommend this class; it teaches skills that help you handle what is often a big unwieldy mass of story and understand what works and what doesn't and why. I certainly wish it had been available back when I was struggling with editing my early novels. More info is here.
And now it's back to work for me. I'm charging towards the end of book 6 andhave left our Ella at a particularly precarious moment ... ah the joy of writing fiction!
The latest in Katherine's news, plus what she's been reading.