Well. I usually give my New Year post the subheading: the best of times and the worst of times. But there wasn’t much about 2020 that was ‘best’, though we can sum up the lowlights of the past twelve months in one word – coronavirus. So many deaths, so many empty places at the table. There’s one in my family too.
So let’s leave the pandemic being the worst of the past year, and move on to other 2020 moments.
Best tree: my lilac tree bloomed its heart out last spring.
Biggest distraction: That would be Brexit, another cheerless topic.
Best new (to me) discovery: In a word, Zoom.
Best book moment: The Runaway came home to Switzerland, closely followed by the new edition of Death Wish. Huge thanks once again to The Cover Collection, who have covered seven of my books now.
Favourite read of 2020: The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak. An absolutely spectacular book. All the positive superlatives.
Most unusual search term bringing someone to my website: ‘551804 battery’. And no, I have no idea…
Most inconvenient breakage: My reading specs!
Most put-off celebration: Son 1’s birthday in March, when we were beginning to intuit what was about to hit us. The plan started as a family weekend in Tessin in the south of Switzerland; this was downsized first to a couple of days somewhere else in Switzerland, then to a day in Friedreichshafen over the lake in Germany (the local equivalent of someone in Leeds going to Harrogate for the day) and ended up as lunch outside in a hotel a short walk away. It was exactly the wrong time to have a birthday…
Best writers’ meet-up in Zürich: We only had one in real life – but it was fabulous! (Here with Jill Marsh, Alison Baillie, Cass Grafton and Louise Mangos.) The next time we met was on Zoom.
Most important signature: the one I put on my contract with the wonderful Hobeck Books. It’s for my tenth book, Daria’s Daughter, which will be published on February 23rd and is on pre-order now. (Just sayin’…)
I wrote a novella for Hobeck Books this year too – The Clarice Cliff Vase. You can get a free copy of this, and several others too, by subscribing to Hobeck on their website.
Best book event: My evening at the Anglo-Swiss Club in Wil. It was the only book event too, squeezed into October between lockdowns, and it was wonderful. We were in a beautiful old conference room with an old tiled oven, and frescoes.
Biggest hope for next year: I’m not even going to put this into words, in case I jinx it. But I’m sure it’s everyone’s biggest hope right now. Please, 2021…
Thank you all for your support and friendship this year. 2020 has been easy for no one, and thinking back, it’s the little things that have made it better than it might have been – a message on Facebook, a couple of retweets, a like or a virtual hug. Let’s carry on like that and one day, we’ll be on the other side looking back. Here’s to happy days. ❤