I spent May and the first half of June writing the first draft of Darwen III and was able to reward myself with a family trip to Alaska which–as with all my holidays these days–was part vacation, part research. It was a wonderful couple of weeks moving from Ketchikan to Juneau, to Gustavus and Glacier Bay, then on to Admiralty Island via a combination of local ferries and float planes. I learned a great deal, particularly about the native peoples of the area, and I saw some amazing things. I’ve always been a nature lover so it was a particular joy to watch the bald eagles in Ketchikan and spend some time watching a solitary black bear down by the river estuary there.
I also got to see a pod of orcas (killer whales) in Glacier Bay, porcupines, seals and sea otters and a host of other birds and animals. The highlight though was, without doubt, watching the grizzlies on Admiralty island. We watched one young bear for about an hour.
We then had a close encounter with it as we tried to get back along a very narrow beach, only to have the grizzly emerge from the woods just ahead. I’ve uploaded a video of what happened next:
On my return to Charlotte I spent a week editing the first draft of Darwen III and then sent it off to my publisher who I also met with in New York the following week. I was delighted to learn that Macbeth, a Novel is already an international Kindle bestseller having broken the top 20 downloaded books on Amazon’s US and UK sites! Given that there are something like a million books available for KIndle download, I was–as you can imagine–pretty excited. Then I learned that Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact won best Young Adult book of the year from SIBA! Just thrilling!
Which is as good a segue as any…
I go to New York at least once a year, usually for Thrillerfest, the largest gathering of thriller writers and industry professionals in the world. It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet old friends and get inspired by listening to writing-oriented panels, interviews and the like. For me it’s also a great opportunity to touch base with my agent and my editors at the various presses I publish with.