I spent ten glorious days on book tour in the UK for THE KILLING PLACE. (It’s the same book as ICE COLD, but in the UK, it’s published under a different title.) Tours in the US can fraught with anxiety. Because the country is so large, you’re always hurrying to catch a plane, worried that your flight won’t take off in time or be cancelled, worried that you’ll miss an event. But in the UK, my publisher makes everything so easy. My wonderful publicist Alison Barrow or one of her assistants always travels with me. And our travel is a breeze because of this man. I call him the mysterious Bradley Rose because he hates to have his photo taken, but I caught him at a vulnerable moment, over his boiled egg. (His name was immortalized as the evil Bradley Rose in my book THE KEEPSAKE. And Mo Hayder, another Transworld author, had a character named Rose Bradley in one of her books!)
My tour started off in Edinburgh, where I spoke at the International Book Festival. It was part of the larger Edinburgh Fringe Festival, a city-wide celebration of performing arts that draws people from all over the world. Every hour of the day and night, there are multiple performances in various venues, everything from dance to drama to comedy to music. I got a chance to attend one dance performance: amazing, funny, and truly creative!
But my tour wasn’t limited to bookstores. I also spoke at the Royal Bolton Hospital, where medical personnel got the chance to listen to me instead of a Grand Rounds lecture. And in Belfast, I joined the lovely author Niamh O’Connor in a really fun event at a movie cinema! Outside the cinema, they’d hung a poster of our event right next to the movie posters with Angelina Jolie.
Then we were back on the road to visit Rainham Library in Essex followed by the beautiful Bishopswood House in Ross-on-Wye for an event hosted by Rossiter Books. There were quick drop-ins at Waterstone’s Shrewsbury and Waterstone’s in Chester, which happened to coincide with their very busy race day. The streets of Chester were jam packed with men in natty suits and women in long gowns, there to watch the horse races and do some hard partying afterwards. I walked the entire wall enclosing Chester (about two miles), and later on the street saw these two adorable buskers playing music from “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter”.
Finally, it was off to the Blooming Good Books Festival at the Southport Flower Show, where I spoke beneath a lovely white tent to an audience of about 100.
Usually when I give my talk about the scary subjects in my books, the audience always gasps when I talk about the corpse that woke up in a body bag. This flower show crowd didn’t react at all to that anecdote. Then I told them about my trip to the Los Angeles set of “Rizzoli & Isles,” which was being filmed in a mansion where there were gorgeous blooming rose bushes. “Since the scene was supposed to take place on a fall evening in Boston,” I said, “the set designer came in and cut all the rose blooms.” That’s when the entire audience gave a loud gasp of horror. I guess we know what really scares a gardener.
No blog about the UK would be complete without at least a mention of what I ate. I confess, I ate french fries almost every single day — sometimes even twice a day. Two favorite meals stand out in my memory. The first was in Edinbrugh, at the Michelin-starred 21212. I also had a wonderful meal in Belfast at Cafe Conor where I dined on a heavenly meal of seared pork in a Calvados sauce.
This was one book tour that I’m sorry had to end!