APOLOGIES FOR THE ABSENCE…
Sometime last year I missed a month on the blog. I decided then that – come what may – I would always post at least one blog each month. Seems I have missed one again. Somehow or another May went by me in a flash, and here we are in June, and I apologise for my failure to report on news and events for last month. However, I have just noticed that this is my 100th blog entry!
Since we last spoke I have been out to Montreal to accept the Quebec Laureat for the French translation of ‘A Quiet Vendetta’. The two books in French translation have done extraordinarily well. ‘A Quiet Belief In Angels’ (published in France as ‘Seul Le Silence’), and the second release (published as ‘Vendetta’) have sold a huge amount of copies, but – far more importantly – they have been greeted very warmly by the French. The Quebec Laureat - full title, ‘Prix des Libraires Du Quebec’ - is a very prestigious annual award nominated and given in two categories. There is the ‘Quebecois’ category (for those authors who are natives of Quebec), and the ‘Hors Quebec’ (outside Quebec) category for everyone else. Last year ‘ A Quiet Belief In Angels’ was shortlisted for the Laureat and lost, by one vote, to ‘The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy. This year ‘Vendetta’ was shortlisted in the company of such august and wonderful authors as James Frey and Philip Roth, and went on to win. That ‘A Quiet Belief In Angels’ also won the Inaugural Prix Roman Noir Nouvel Observateur was already acknowledgement enough, but to have won the Laureat for ‘Vendetta’ was quite overwhelming. The award has been given for seventeen years, and not once in all those seventeen years has anyone from the ‘hors Quebec’ category actually gone to Quebec to receive the award in person. Well, I went, and I did the speech in French, and my French accent was graciously tolerated! The award itself (pictures of which I posted on facebook, and can still be found in the ‘photos’ section of my profile page) was a wonderful wooden carving employing basswood, mahogany, cherry and maple, all sourced from that area. Montreal itself is an amazing place. Neither American (despite some very ‘American’ architecture in amidst the French-influenced, and the characteristically Quebecois buildings), nor English (despite the fact that Queen is still head of State), nor French (despite the fact that French is very definitely the first language), Quebec is very definitely just Quebec. It is like nowhere else I have been, and I am looking forward to any opportunity I might have to go again. It was a great experience, and I want to thank everyone involved in that amazing trip for their support, their friendship and their encouragement.
And now to facebook. I do have a profile page under my full name – Roger Jon Ellory. There have also been fan pages set up by different folks – ‘R.J. Ellory’ and ‘R.J. Ellory Author’ and different pages for different books. If you want to send me a friend request to my personal facebook page please do that. You’ll know it because there’s about a thousand friends currently, and my profile picture is me playing the guitar.
Which brings us to music. Right. So, where to start. Myself and a couple of friends got together, and with very little practice indeed (and I mean fifteen minutes, at best!) we played at a private party. Someone took some snaps which they then forwarded to me. I posted them up on facebook, and I gave the ‘band’ a name – The Renegades. I think this has now been officially adopted as the name of this dubious outfit, and yes, we are working on a set-list, and yes, we are going to be playing live soon. This is the plan. It has been the plan for a few months, but with the amount of travelling I’ve been doing it hasn’t really been realistic to get it organised until recently. I will keep you posted on this project as it progresses.
And thus to travel. Since the start of the year I have been out to Dubai, also to Montreal, to St. Malo in the south of France for the Etonnants-Voyageur Film and Literature Festival. Here I had the great pleasure of doing another event with my dear friend Vikas Swarup (author of ‘Q&A’, the book that was made into ‘Slumdog Millionaire’). I took a lot of pictures there, all of which are on facebook. I also spent a couple of days in Amsterdam talking to the press about the Dutch release of ‘A Quiet Vendetta’. For the remainder of the coming year we have organised a week in New York for the launch of ‘The Anniversary Man’ (which is actually released today, but we are doing some promotional work out there – radio interviews and whatever, and we are having an official launch party at ‘Partners & Crime’ on Greenwich Avenue on the evening of the 6th of July, so if you’re out in New York in the first week of July well just come along…). Also I will be in Montpellier at the Frontignan Literary Festival at the end of this month; at the Lichfield Big Read (‘One City, One Book’ – talking to 200 people who’ve all read ‘Ghostheart’); at Harrogate for the whole Crime Festival weekend; a week in Swanwick at the very famous Writers’ Festival; a two-week tour of Australia and New Zealand, to include the Melbourne Lit. Fest.; also events in Birmingham and Oxford at the Hotel Du Vin and Malmaison chains; a week in Qatar for the Qatar Festival of Writing; back to France for the festival in Villeneuve-les-Avignon; then a week in San Francisco at Bouchercon, the largest crime fiction festival in the world, and finally another two weeks in Canada, a trip which will include the Toronto Literary Festival and trips out to Ottawa and numerous other places.
As far as the books are concerned, ‘Saints of New York’ is out in September this year and ‘Bad Signs’ is done for June of 2011. And currently I am about two-thirds the way through writing the book for 2012, working title is ‘A Dark And Broken Heart’, but that will more than likely change. With the release of ‘Saints of New York’ in paperback next year, Orion intend to completely redesign and re-release all the previous books, so I am interested to see what I am going to look like for 2011.
Also, for the second time I have been shortlisted for the CWA Dagger In The Library (an award given to an author for a body of work, as opposed to one particular novel), and I have been longlisted for the Theakston’s Crime Award for ‘A Simple Act of Violence’. The shortlist is selected by public vote, and public voting ends tomorrow…and if you still haven’t voted and want to then you can on the Harrogate Crime Festival website, or the following link: http://www.harrogate-festival.org.uk/crime/award/
So that’s where I’m at currently. I appreciate all the e-mails and letters and cards and facebook messages. I get a few responses to the blog entries I post, but there seems to be a predominance of cryptic Oriental ideograms appearing as ‘responses’ to my posts, and I have absolutely no idea what that’s about!
You will be pleased to know I have not taken a holiday since 1985 (and that was just a week’s hitchhike to Wales and sleeping on the beach), and I have absolutely no intention of taking a holiday at any point in the foreseeable future. There is work to be done – always!
And so we are done for now. I trust you are all well, and that you are reading as much as you can as often as you can.
Reply please. Send me e-mails, facebook notifications, whatever you like! It’s always great to hear from you.
Take care, and all best wishes,