If anything taught us that nothing lasts forever, it was 2022. The moment we got used to the covid numbers going down, up they went again. As soon as we were accustomed to calling one person ‘the prime minister’, someone else was moving into 10 Downing Street. We won’t even mention Twitter. And the Queen, the epitomy of stability, left so suddenly I think we were all shocked.
Change was happening everywhere you looked, some good, some less so. My writing year here in north-east Switzerland has had its high- and lowlights too:
Most heart-stopping moment:
The day the neighbours caught fire. It was summer, 35°C and windy, and everything was as dry as a stick. I was on my computer, working on my wip when I became aware of sirens close by. Quite a lot of sirens, actually, and very close by. I stepped out onto the street side balcony and initially thought the hotel next door was on fire. My first thought was, OMG, the woods. If they they start burning… I sped down to the scene to find out if there was any danger of us being evacuated, then saw it was the building site behind the hotel that was burning. Fortunately, it ended well – but it might not have.
Best book contract:
The one I signed with the wonderful Hobeck Books for The Un-Family, my twelfth suspense novel and the third with them. 🙂
Best writers’ meet-up:
We managed quite a few of these, but I’ll choose this photo, because it could also be called the best selfie taken with a beaker of mulled wine in your other hand. Louise Mangos, Alison Baillie and Christa Polkinhorn, it was a pleasure drinking Prosecco with you this year!
Most useful purchase:
A second box of my favourite pens. I found them quite by accident a few years ago (see THIS post) and I’ve been using them ever since.
Favourite book(s) read this year:
I thought I’d found this already in February, when I read Rebecca Mascull’s amazing The Seamstress of Warsaw. It’s about a mother and son who lose each other years before the book starts, and then fate in the form of WWII lends a hand. It’s moving, emotional and tense, and must have needed a huge amount of research.
I stuck with my favourite book decision until October, when I read Maureen Myant’s The Confession, and this one has the best premise ever. Police find a dead woman along with her suicide note confessing to five murders. They don’t take it seriously, because the “victims” are all still alive. Then the killings start…
I can’t decide between them, so this year, I’m having two books of the year.
Most nerve-wracking week:
It was the most nerve-wracking week of my entire writing life, never mind 2022. The publication date for The Un-Family arrived, but Amazon, the largest online book retailer and where I clock up 100% of my ebook sales, refused to put the book on their platform because the publisher “was not entitled to publish it”. Hobeck Books leapt into action with everything they had, but it wasn’t until eight days later that the ebook went on sale. I’m not sure any of us have recovered even yet. It was no one’s fault, just “circumstances”. Onwards and upwards.
Best beaver pic:
Son 1 took this over Christmas when he went down through the woods by our flat in the wee small hours with a night-vision camera. Pre-beavers, that pond was a little stream you could jump across.
Latest writing project:
Back in the first covid lockdown, I started expanding my feel-good “Switzerland” novella series into full-length fiction. The plan is to put the first two out in spring 2023, the third in early summer and the fourth – the Christmas one – in the autumn. These four are finished and in various stages of editing, the fifth is my current wip, and there’s a rough plan for a sixth, too, so we’ll see. I’ll have more about it on my blog in January, and meanwhile, I have everything crossed that the above-mentioned largest online book retailer is cooperative this time.
Most unusual search term bringing someone to my website:
приборная панель с часами. According to Google translate, this is Russian and means “dashboard with clock” and no, I have no idea…
And – last but not least – my most challenging build:
Lego flowers. How hard can it be, I thought? Um…
I’m not sure what to wish everyone for 2023, but after the previous few years, maybe good health and prosperity for us all would be a good start. Wherever you’re celebrating the New Year, have a good one, and thank you for reading my blog this year. Here’s to 2023!