Thursday, January 18, 2007


On the road again!

It hardly seems credible that nearly eighteen months have passed since I was sitting in an Ibis Hotel at Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris writing the first blog of my September 2005 tour of the US to promote "The Firemaker".

Well, here I am again. This time to promote the second tome of the China Thrillers series, "The Fourth Sacrifice", which comes out in two weeks, and the first of my new series set in France, "Extraordinary People", which came out in November to a chorus of fabulous reviews.

All this on top of having just signed a movie option for "The Firemaker", and writing the screenplay treatment jointly with La Patronne - not to mention the terrific sales of the first three China books in French translation, and months of touring bookfairs and bookstores throughout France.

All the more incredible, since just twelve months ago I was sitting without a single English-language publication deal wondering how I was going to pay the bills in 2006. Such is the precarious and uncertain life of the writer.

Ah, well, at least I start off the tour in the company of La Patronne this time. Life with the formidable lady is never dull, especially when travelling. We were barely on the train when she had her first adventure in the toilets. She either gets locked in, locked out, or flooded. This time she had locked herself in, with a mad woman hammering on the door. Apparently the woman had arrived at the toilet before La Patronne, but was unable to open the door - even although it was vacant. She went off to get help. La Patronne arrived and applied a shoulder with her usual delicacy, unceremoniously bursting into the empty cabine. She locked the door and sat down to do what had to be done. At which point the lady who had been unable to open the door returned with a burly gentlemen, who then proceeded to try to force it open. Much to La Patronne's distress.

Finally he gave up and went away, and when La Patronne emerged in a flush of relief, it was to find an elderly French lady glaring at her, no doubt wondering why she had occupied the toilet for so long. Needless to say, La Patronne felt no explanation was necessary, and hurried off to interrupt Cabrel on my iPod with her tales of woe. The moment I saw her red face approaching down the carriage, I knew that there was one. There is never any alternative but to listen and sympathise.

For most of the journey, however, my thoughts were occupied with the third book in the French series. My publisher, Poisoned Pen Press, has dubbed the series "The Enzo Files" - after my cold case-cracking main character, Enzo Macleod. I have just finished the second in the series, working title "The Critic". It is set amongst the vineyards of Gaillac, and I think I have finally sobered up after an intensive period of research. So I was turning my thoughts to the next one - thoughts which are already pretty far advanced. Endless travelling hours provide good down time for letting the mind work around story and plot, and I'm excited enough now to think I might even start it in April after I get back from the States.

Better go now. La Patronne is lying on the bed with her legs in the air, trying to realign her spine after the train journey. I think I might have to thump a few vertibrae back into place.

We fly out first thing tomorrow (Wednesday, January 17th), but I probably won't get the chance to post this until we get to LA (Wi-fi access here is 10 euros for two hours, and I'm too much of a Scot to pay it). By the time I do, there will no doubt be more adventures in toilets to report!

La Patronne demonstrates her cure for a bad back...


Hilary & Ian said...

Oops Janice . . . that's not a recommended exercise ! Hope you recover soon.

Great to read your Blog again. Good luck with the tour and have a lovely trip.

Janice said...

I don't know, there I was on the ceiling, when suddenly my spiderman suckers released....

Janice said...

I don't know, there I was on the ceiling, when suddenly my spiderman suckers released....