2021 – a strange year
I wrote no new book in 2021. Instead, I took time out to write music and make use of a new studio I created above my garage.
Here we are in the studio listening to rough mixes after a recording session.
Normally in January, I would be packing up and heading to the UK to do a three-week promotional tour for my latest book. I would usually spend a week in London doing press and radio interviews, then set off on a trek round the UK to do talks and signings. This year the book – The Night Gate – was being published in March, delayed by the Covid crisis of the previous year.
When lockdowns due to the virus began in 2020, I had to abandon my idea for a book set in the Arctic circle as the research trip had to be cancelled.
Confined to France and a 40 km radius from our home, I had to come up with a new idea, and so The Night Gate was conceived. A new adventure for Enzo Macleod, it has two timelines, one present day and one during the second world war, mainly set in and around Carennac and Saint-Céré, and other places I know well in France. One scene even takes place in the apartment above the garage which is now my music studio where, in reality during the war, many works of art from the Louvre were hidden from the Nazis!
A physical launch tour for the book was out of the question because of social distancing restrictions, so this year there was a whole new approach… a virtual tour undertaken from that very music studio. Interviews with journalists began in January and carried on into February and March. There is traditionally a launch party for the new book in London with all the top book reviewers having a meal in London with me and my publisher. This year it was replaced by a virtual launch and a hamper of specially chosen food, drink and delights from South West France, was delivered to the homes of the journalists. We then met up and enjoyed the fare together on a video call.
I was able to speak to book groups, book shops, and libraries all over the UK. With professional sound and video quality from my studio, I was able to do radio interviews for the BBC and independent radio, and TV for Scottish Television and Sky News.
The new set-up was so successful that the interviews and book talks continued into April and that’s when things became very complicated.
In April, Quarantaine (the French version of Lockdown) came out in France and the French media were completely knocked out by it. All the newspapers wanted to interview me, with big articles being published in Le Monde and Liberation. French TV and radio wanted interviews, too. And although I wasn’t having to travel further than my studio, my brain was in a spin, switching between books and languages and trying to remember whether I was answering questions about The Night Gate in English or Quarantaine in French!
Dagger in the Library
In July, there was another virtual event. The British Crime Writer’s Association awards ceremony for 2021.
I was attending from my study, in shorts and tennis shoes (slightly more relaxed attire than the dinner jacket that would normally be required!)
The glass of bubbly in my hand was to celebrate receiving the CWA’s “Dagger in the Library” award. This is an award voted for by UK librarians and awarded to a writer for their body of work.
Master of ceremonies Barry Forshaw announced me as the the winner and quoted Sue Wilkinson, the chair of the 2021 committee who said: ‘Peter May infuses his books with a real sense of place, whether it be China, France or the Hebrides. His books are tense, atmospheric and complex but always utterly absorbing.’
It took a month or two for the award itself to reach France, but here I am with the “Dagger in the Library”… in the library!
Looking forward to 2022
I will be writing a new book in 2022 to be on the bookshelves in early 2023. Maybe by then this pandemic will be past, and I can venture out once more to meet my readers.
Speaking of which, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all my readers a very happy and prosperous New Year!
And above all, stay safe!
Thank you Peter, and congratulations on all your achievements. I thoroughly enjoyed The Night Gate, and being with Enzo again. All the best to you and yours.
Ha my husband is a folk singer, must get together one of these days 🤣 have left France and now back in Scotland awaiting a good book to read too, Happy New Year 2022
First proper Hogmanay in a while, then? 🙂
Thank you for your news, Peter, and congratulations on all you have achieved. It’s going to be a long wait until 2023! With all good wishes for the New Year.
Congratulations Peter! Loved reading The Night Gate – roll on 2023! Stay healthy & happy New Year to you & your family.
Happy New Year to you, too, Peter. I very much enjoyed the Night Gate and am currently reading Lockdown which, since we are currently in a pandemic, at least tells me things could get worse! I look forward to your next book. My favourites have to be the Lewis Trilogy.
Thanks, Juliet 😀
Congratulations Peter on the award. Well deserved. Enjoyed “The Night Gate”, as much as I have enjoyed all your other books to date.
I look forward to the next with eager anticipation.
As one old ex Eastwood High School pupil to another, may I wish you more power to your elbow, and lang may yer lum reek.
All the best for 2022
Cheers, John 😀
Happy New Year and a belated Happy Birthday for last month.
Great news about your award. Well deserved.
Thanks for your last novel ‘The Night Gate’. I loved it. Can’t wait for your next book.
Best wishes and take care,
I have just finished The Night Gate and was completely absorbed by the entire book, hardly able to put it down to work. It was my first Enzo book, but I’ll happily go back and start the series from the beginning.
I do hope you’ll put a little more spring in the step of those “ancient” characters you describe. I’m only five years younger than Anny Lavigne, but still work full-time, ski, hike, kayak, and write and teach part-time. She was barely able to rise from her rocking chair!
Glad you enjoyed it, Deborah. Age is a funny thing. Some people carry it well, others don’t. Poor old Enzo is just a little younger than me, and finds himself engaged in all sorts of physical activities that I don’t think I could manage 🙂
Glad you enjoyed it Deborah. Age is a funny thing. Some people carry it well, other’s don’t. I
think Enzo manages much better than me, though we are a similar age 🙂
Really enjoyed how Runaway spoke to me. Took me back to the 60s like it was yesterday. Especially the band aspect….begging amps, trying to get the money together for a guitar. Like no other book l’ve read. Where did the time go?
Glad you enjoyed it, Bob 🙂
Thanks for all the travels! Just discovered your books, have been all through Lewis and Harris, France, and now China. I plan to hit all the solo books next. First time using Kindle, love it, as my Goggle Maps and Wikipedia are just one click away. Thanks Again from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Delighted you’re enjoying the experience, Cathy 🙂