I received a very nice Christmas present from my publisher, Thomas & Mercer, recently: a commemorative framed copy of my first book in the Jefferson Tayte Genealogical Mystery series, IN THE BLOOD, for exceeding sales of 100,000 copies with them since they took over publication in March 2014. It's taken pride of place on the wall in my writing cabin.
Reaching this milestone prompted me to add up how many copies have been bought across the entire series since first publication in May 2011, and I was staggered to see that the figure is now close to half a million! However did that happen? It's wonderful to know that so many readers have enjoyed reading my books, and will hopefully continue to do so. A big thank you to everyone.
This year has been both distracting and exciting for me. I'd been putting off some home improvements for several years while I concentrated on my books, but during the summer the work finally began. It was more home renovation than decoration as all the walls had to be re-plastered, all the woodwork replaced, which as you can imagine is a very messy and disruptive business. Thankfully I have my writing cabin in the garden, where I was able to plot much of my 6th Jefferson Tayte book, but the improvements turned into such a hands on project though that I had to abandon all hope of starting to write book 6 until the house was finished, which I'm very glad to say it now is. As 2016 approaches, I'm really looking forward to writing the book that's been turning though my mind while I've been cutting skirting boards, changing electrical sockets, filling and painting and goodness knows what else.
The year has also been peppered with highlights. I finished writing KINDRED and I'm so looking forward to its publication in the spring. All the edits are done and the description finalised (see below if you've not already read what it's about). All that's left to finalise is the jacket cover, which I'm very pleased with. Hopefully I'll be able to share that with you very soon. 2015 also saw the very first translation publication of one of my books - IN THE BLOOD - into the German language, and it's also just been released, along with TO THE GRAVE, in the Czech language. On top of that, a few weeks ago I was informed that IN THE BLOOD is now being translated into French for release in the latter half of 2016.
One of the biggest highlights of the year has to be the November promotion in the UK Kindle store, which was to see all four of my currently published books in the top 100 for most of the month. At their peak, they were all in the top 30, with two in the top 10, and IN THE BLOOD reached No.3! The book has been out for a while now, so I wasn't expecting anything like that. It was a lovely surprise and it's great to see such interest in the series and in my leading man, Jefferson Tayte.
For audiobook fans, I'm very pleased to announce that Simon Vance will be narrating my latest book. He's done a wonderful job with all the characters in the series so far, so I'm very pleased that he's on board again for KINDRED - particularly as JT will sound the same as before.
Here's the description of KINDRED for the back of the jacket:
Jefferson Tayte is good at finding people who don’t want to be found. For years he has followed faint genealogical trails to reunite families—and uncover long-hidden secrets. But Tayte is a loner, a man with no ties of his own; his true identity is the most elusive case of his career.
But that could all be about to change. Now Tayte has in his possession the beginnings of a new trail—clues his late mentor had started to gather—that might at last lead to his own family. With Professor Jean Summer, his partner in genealogical sleuthing, he travels to Munich to pick up the scent. But the hunt takes them deep into dangerous territory: the sinister secrets of Hitler’s Germany, and those who must keep them buried at any cost.
When their investigations threaten to undermine a neo-Nazi organisation, Tayte and Summer know time is running out. Can they find their way to the dark heart of a deadly history before they become its latest victims?
I'm very excited about 2016 and I hope you are too. I can't wait to chat about KINDRED with you and to share my progress again with my next book as I get down to writing it. I've usually made a good dent in the word count target by now, so I have some catching up to do, but now that my house is a home again and order has been restored, I'm raring to go!
I'm also delighted to have been invited to participate in the CLIC Sargent charity fundraiser for children with cancer again. It starts on 25 February, so please look out for that. It's an eBay auction called 'Get in Character' where you can bid to have your name immortalised in one of my books. Last year the bid was won by a lady called Jan Statham who has now become a key character in KINDRED, so next time it could be you, or a loved one as you can nominate a name if you win.
Whatever your hopes and plans for 2016, I wish you every success, good health and much happiness.