Thursday, September 23, 2021



I returned from a trip to North Uist this Monday to discover a new blog post from my friend the Bookwitch, announcing that she was taking a break, perhaps for good or perhaps just for now. I absolutely respect her decision to do this, because so many of us have changing priorities as a result of the recent pandemic - which has also changed the publishing landscape somewhat, with fewer or different book events. Still, I'm very sorry to see her stopping, and I shall miss the daily reflections landing in my in box. 

Now, in 2021, it feels as though I have known her forever, but when I look back, the very first time we met was in 2009. My debut novel The Vanishing of Katharina Linden had just come out, and the Bookwitch blogged about it. I think I can also remember our first meeting, at which we were both a bit nervous, with me thinking "OMG! A real live book blogger!" and her thinking - well, I don't know what she thought. "Is this woman a secret murderer?" perhaps, since my husband, who doesn't like scary books, often wonders about the person he lies down next to at night. Since then, she has been good enough to review most of my work, including my latest, Too Near The Dead, which must have been a bit of a labour of love for her - she was afraid to read it at night! She was very kind about it, all the same. 

Although the Bookwitch is a blogger, she hasn't just blogged. Over the years she has also organised events at her house, at which authors and publishing people have happily mingled, and she has introduced people she thought might like each other. I hope she won't stop doing that! She has also become a personal friend to me - one of the best, actually - and has supplied a lot of tea, cake and other yummies. I have met Mr. Bookwitch and the two younger Witchlets on many occasions, and even attended the PhD defence of one of them, in Geneva. They are a wonderful family, and I hope the suspension of blogging activities will lead to new and equally interesting avenues for them. 

The Bookwitch has surfaced in my work in small ways. A few years ago, I wrote a folk horror story called The Valley of Achor, and was casting around for a name for my heroine. The Bookwitch nobly volunteered hers, and so "she" came to a very sticky end in a Perthshire glen. And one of my recent novels, Ghost, is dedicated to her - rightfully, because she has done so much for books, writing, authors, and for me personally. Thank you, Bookwitch!