The Calendar Man – just in time for Christmas!

Once again, the paperback version of my pre-order book is available before the day of release, but this time it’s a good thing! If you’re curious about reading The Calendar Man as an advent calendar, and you prefer a physical copy, then if you order soon it should arrive in time for December 1st.

The Calendar Man is a dark advent story. It is set about twenty years into the future, just to make things interesting, but it is not science fiction. Without giving anything away, I should add that it features many of the characters from my Greenland crime books and thrillers, and refers to some upcoming stories, with no spoilers.

The very nature of an advent calendar story is that it should be read one day at a time. While The Calendar Man can be read in one sitting, I would urge you not to. It’s an advent after all.

The paperback version (English) of The Calendar Man can be found on Amazon:

US, UK, DE, FR, ES, IT, Canada, and Australia

The kindle version is still available for pre-order from Amazon

– currently at 0.99

Oh, and here’s the village Christmas tree from Qaanaaq, Greenland, 2010.

Iceland Noir

After what has to have been one of the wettest November weekends in Iceland – ever, I’m back in Denmark and trying to process what I experienced during four criminally exhausting fun-filled days at Iceland Noir.

I have to start with the Arctic Noir panel, as it was my first, and I was in such good hands. Moderated by Dr Noir herself, the forty-five minutes breezed by with laughs and loads of criminal insight into the works of Óskar Guðmundsson, Quentin Bates and Michael Ridpath – fantastic crime authors with gripping books set in Iceland. They are serious fun too! Mary Picken captured a fun moment during the panel – thanks!

There were tons of panels and it’s probably easier to check out the programme for Iceland Noir 2018 at the website to see what you missed. 😉 But the atmosphere and the chatting around the panels was even more interesting as I got to know authors whose work I have read and a ton of others that I must read.

The mystery tour was a mystery, and I believe Quentin might be responsible for the incredible amount of interest/fangirling that took place around a petrol pump! I’ve never really got into petrol pumps, and I’m not entirely sure it’s an Icelandic thing, but, you know … I have to read the book. 🙂

I think it’s easier to catch up on the Drunken Author’s Panel and the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers via Iceland Noir’s Facebook page and Twitter feed. Suffice it to say, there’s a whole other side to crime writing that has to be seen and heard to be believed.

Ultimately, it was Iceland itself – the wind and the rain – that stole the show when we got to see it between the clouds. It reminded me of Greenland, and yet, not so much, although the rain in Nuuk and Reykjavík is pretty much the same in intensity.

Bottom line is, I have to go back! There’s too many good reasons and good people not to. Thanks to everyone for making Iceland Noir 2018 such a memorable event.

Monster Paperback

This has taken an age, but The Greenland Trilogy is finally in paperback with a whopping 632 pages. #loveit

There are several polar bear sequences in the story, and it makes sense – for me – to link to another Nanook song about the polar bear, and a shaman taking on polar bear form. Greenland is rich with shamanic culture and tradition, so, naturally, book three my trilogy is called The Shaman’s House.

The Greenland Trilogy is available in paperback and ebook from Amazon USA, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find out more about Nanook on their Facebook page.

Wolf Summer!

After 199 years, the wolf has returned to Denmark. Big wolves, similar in size to Timber Wolves, cross the border from Germany. The first was spotted back in 2012, which was interesting, as I was living way north – practically in white wolf country – in Qaanaaq, at the top of Greenland. I did live in polar bear country, and bought a shotgun at the supermarket – as you do – at the suggestion of a local hunter. The area around Qaanaaq is a denning area for bears. But, despite bears coming in the night, I didn’t see one, and no wolves in the two years I lived there. But, wolves were in Denmark, and it made the move back a little more palatable.

The Danish nature was/is rewilding.

But wolves have a habit of stirring up trouble, regardless of statistics, and that got me wondering. The idea of Paint the Devil was born, and as the debate really kicked off earlier this year, the book started to write itself.

There are always two sides to a story, but Paint the Devil has a third – the story of the wolves, something the main character: wildlife biologist Jon Østergård has to take into consideration as he navigates through the heated debates and opinions dividing the community of Thyrup, a small (fictive) village on Denmark’s west coast.

So, without further ado, here’s the blurb, the links, and the cover for Paint the Devil, available for pre-order and scheduled for release in October.

As the wolf debate heats up during Denmark’s hottest and driest summer on record, wildlife biologist Jon Østergård and his teenage daughter relocate to the West Jutland village of Thyrup, to study problem wolves in a community divided by fear, belief, opinions and violence.

Jon quickly discovers that his experience of wolves in Greenland means nothing in a farming community fighting to have their voice heard in an increasingly divisive national debate.

Pressed by politicians demanding an objective report on one side, and locals on the other, Jon risks losing his way as the debate turns ugly, and his daughter is drawn into a family convinced that extreme action is necessary to protect their livelihood. 

Sporadic wildfires flare up in the surrounding countryside, and the flames force a small pack of wolves closer and closer to the village.

Available from Amazon

USAUKCanada and Australia

Beginnings

The New Greenland Literary Expedition

Blog1

Where to begin?

I can only speak for myself at this point – Sarah’s journey is different – but to begin at the beginning, while studying at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, I leafed through a copy of National Geographic in the library and discovered the Danish Sirius Sledge Patrol featured in an advert for Rolex watches. As a teen I had devoured Jack London stories, and read as much as I could about dogs, sledges and the Arctic. I knew I had to go there, to live in the Arctic, and to have my own dogs.

Nine years later, I did.

Rolex1So began my life in Greenland and my interest in Danish polar expeditions, with a particular interest in Ludvig Mylius-Erichsen’s Danish Literary Expedition (1902-04), information about which we will explore here on the website.

Erichsen was inspired by Greenland, recording his travels and experiences in poetry, journals…

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Withdrawal Symptoms!

I confess, this song was my ringtone for about 4 years! The song is called Seqinitta Qinngorpaatit and the band is Nanook. At one point I taught the new drummer when I was teaching at the A level college in Nuuk, Greenland’s capital.

I don’t know if this is throwback Thursday, but it is a great song.

Find out more about Nanook here.

Christoffer Petersen Interview: “I think the setting for my books helps to define their style”

The Dorset Book Detective

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs the Beast from the East continues to keep the UK cold and damp, I talk to someone who knows the true meaning of tough weather; Denmark based Arctic explorer Christoffer Petersen, whose novels are set against a backdrop of the harsh Greenlandic landscape. He talks to me about his books and how they are enhanced by their unique setting.

Tell me about how you came to define your writing style. What drew you towards crime fiction?

I think the setting for my books helps to define their style, especially the crime books. Before I lived in the Arctic, I read a lot of Jack London stories and became fascinated with how the environment was just as much a character as the characters themselves. It’s like the ring in The Lord of the Rings; it has a voice, and I’d like to think I capture that in my style…

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Poems from a Polar Night

The Author Lab

The Last Glimpse of the Sun before the Long Polar Night, Qaanaaq, Greenland, 2011)

The clock is ticking before the publication of my second short story featuring Constable David Maratse from East Greenland. I have made a point of including poems from the collection called Isblink, by Ludvig Mylius-Erichsen (1872-1907), to set the scene. He died leading the Danmark Ekspedition in 1907, and his poems from a previous expedition help frame my stories. But, I don’t want to talk too much about Ludvig, as Sarah Acton – resident poet – and I have exciting news about him to be announced at a later date. Rather, I want to talk about containment.

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It’s Emotional

Okay, I admit, I made my wife cry. Normally I wouldn’t be proud of such a thing, but in this instance it is justified. Before you click away in disgust, allow me to explain myself.

Jane is an avid reader.

I wrote a book.

She cried when she read it.

We’ve been on lots of adventures together, but the time after the Yukon River, when we were touring around Alaska – with a quick visit to Seattle – was important to us. What’s more, when waiting on an Amtrak train from Seattle to Vancouver, I saw a poster for another train: The Coast Starlight, and was inspired to write a book.

I literally plotted the whole thing on the train journey, beat it out chapter by chapter, and sent a copy to my mail as a back-up. When we arrived in England in early September, 2016, I wrote the story that has become The Starlighter. Then I waited a year, sat on it – content with the fact that I had a whole story in the drawer, something I could dust off at a later date. Well, this September, I did just that, and now it is being edited for release.

So this book is personal. The others are too, but this book was meant to be something else. I was meant to write a book about our expedition on the Yukon River, but I wasn’t ready for that. I was, however, inspired by Naomi Klein’s book: This Changes Everything, and the idea that we are all very good at “looking away”. I decided that I was tired of looking away, and I wrote about Jayla Cooper, a twelve-year-old girl who does anything but look away.

Instead of writing an account of the Yukon, I wrote about the places we visited after the Yukon. The action takes place in Fairbanks, Alaska, and in Seattle, Washington, two places that have always been of interest to me, and are now important for Jane and I. So, The Starlighter is personal, just like Greenland is personal, and reading connects the dots. And sometimes connecting those dots makes us cry.

I got emotional when editing the first and second draft of The Starlighter. It makes me wonder, will other people find it emotional too?