Tag Archives: song

Review of 2017: Owen Mullen

Today I’m joined by Owen Mullen. I really want to tell you all about Owen’s achievements this year but I think I’d better let him do that, hadn’t I?!

Vic x

Do you have a favourite memory professionally from 2017?
This one is easy… 2017 has been a standout year for me with a publishing deal,  television appearance and a coveted Sunday Times Crime Club Star Pick for my latest novel And So It Began.  But the highlight by far was having Games People Play long-listed for the McIlvanney Crime Book Of The Year… Here I am surrounded by the other long-listers at the award ceremony in Stirling Castle during the Bloody Scotland festival. Look closely – you will definitely recognise most of them.

Photo courtesy of Bloody Scotland


And how about a favourite moment from 2017 generally?
Again, easy: my eldest grandson (9 years old), unknown to his parents, took one of my books to school to tell his class about his granddad. The teacher was so impressed with his presentation that she had him repeat it in front of the whole school at the Friday assembly. He was so proud of me and no matter what the future holds for my writing career – this will always be my most cherished memory.

Favourite book in 2017?
Every Dead Thing
by John Connolly… It was the first book he had published but it showed all the promise of what was to come.

Favourite film in 2017?
. Michael Keaton is fabulous in this biographical crime drama. The film follows the Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team,  as it  investigates cases of widespread and systemic child sex abuse in the Boston area by numerous Roman Catholic priests. Disturbing and wonderful.

Favourite song of the year?
Marc Broussard – Cry To Me.

Any downsides for you in 2017?
The chaos that seems to have overtaken the political scene around the globe.

Are you making resolutions for 2018?
Absolutely… I’m a true Scot. I will also make a serious stab at keeping them.  Top of the list will be to stay positive – because nothing else is worthwhile…

“If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same” – Rudyard Kipling

What are you hoping for from 2018?
To write my best book yet and to have the first book I wrote published.

Review of 2017: Matt Wesolowski

One of my standout books of this year was ‘Six Stories‘ by Matt Wesolowski. Now, having met Matt on several occasions this year, I can also say he’s one of the nicest people I have ever met! 

Matt read at Noir at the Bar Newcastle in February this year and his reading went down a storm. I went home and read ‘Six Stories‘ straight away! And I’m not the only one who loved it – but I’ll let Matt tell you all about that…

Vic x

Do you have a favourite memory professionally from 2017?
Seeing reviews of Six Stories in the national press was hugely astounding and humbling. When I got the email from Fox Searchlight about making it into a film, I thought someone was winding me up!

And how about a favourite moment from 2017 generally?
I loved every single one of the literary festivals I was privileged enough to attend. Meeting fellow writers and readers alike was such a pleasure.

Favourite book in 2017?
So many to mention! But some real stand outs were Girls on Fire by Rabin Wasserman, Lie With Me by Sabine Durrant and These Darkening Days by Benjamin Myers.

Favourite film in 2017?
I really enjoyed Hounds of Love, a really gritty and brutal drama based on Australia’s most notorious serial killer couple David and Catherine Birnie. I like a film that can make you walk out of the cinema coated in a sheen of dirt.

Favourite song of the year?
I got really into a band called Batushka who combine Gregorian chanting and Eastern Orthodox imagery with the most amazing black metal.

Any downsides for you in 2017?
My little boy broke his femur in September and is only just back on his feet now. That was so hard for him as he’s such an active kid. When he went under the anaesthetic, that was the only time I cried in 2017.

Are you making resolutions for 2018?
No, resolutions only end up in disappointment when you don’t keep them. I’m disappointing enough without that!

That is absolutely not true! What are you hoping for from 2018?
More books and more time to read them.

Review of 2017: LJ Ross

Two years ago, I was invited a fabulous party to celebrate the release of a wonderful woman’s second book. That book was ‘Sycamore Gap‘ by LJ Ross.  

Today, the seventh book in the DCI Ryan series – ‘Dark Skies‘ – is released and I cannot wait to read it!  Louise is a prolific writer and she deserves every success, it is a pleasure to know her. 

For those of you who are based in the North East, I will be interviewing LJ Ross at Wallsend Library on Thursday, 22nd February. Tickets can be obtained from North Tyneside libraries. 

Vic x


Picture by Gareth Iwan Jones

Do you have a favourite memory professionally from 2017?
This has been an incredible year for DCI Ryan and I’m so grateful to all my readers. It’s hard to pick any one memory in particular, but it was an incredible feeling to have two of my books (Cragside and Dark Skies) reach UK #1 whilst still on pre-order and all seven books to be in the top 100 at the same time.

And how about a favourite moment from 2017 generally?
We just got the keys for our new house in Northumberland, which is a special moment. It’s the first time in years I’ve been able to make a permanent move back to my home county, which I love, and it means I can be close to my family and my son can be near his grandparents.

Favourite book in 2017?
It isn’t a newly-released book, but I read The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson and thought it was excellent. The prose is crisp and manages to convey meaning without being unnecessarily wordy. It was also an excellent, claustrophobic study of how to write a book from the perspective of the killer.

Favourite film in 2017?
I’ve hardly found time to watch any films this year (which sounds very depressing!). However, I watched some goofy movies like Snatched with Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn. It wasn’t a great movie, but I’m a huge fan of Goldie so she can do no wrong in my eyes… I tend to watch old black and white movies like The 39 Steps, which I love.

Favourite song of the year?
I think my musical frame of reference stopped somewhere back in 2005 but, if we’re going by the song I’ve listened to most frequently this year, it would have to be anything from the Rocky IV soundtrack!

Any downsides for you in 2017?
I’m not sure if it is a true ‘downside’ but I’ve been incredibly busy and haven’t read as many books as I’d like – which I intend to rectify in the near future!

Are you making resolutions for 2018?
I always resolve to be the best person I can be, whether as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister or a friend. That’s always a good goal.

What are you hoping for from 2018?
I’m hoping I won’t wake up and find it was all a wonderful dream! I want to write more stories and travel.

Review of 2017: Paul Gitsham

Following Gill Hoff’s appearance on the blog yesterday, we have Paul Gitsham to look back over his 2017 and share the highs and lows with us. 

Thanks to Paul for taking the time to reflect on his year. 

Vic x

Do you have a favourite memory professionally from 2017?
This year I have been fortunate enough to have a short story accepted for the Crime Writers’ Association Anthology Mystery Tour. It’s a real honour to be included in a collection with such amazing authors as Ann Cleeves, C.L. Taylor and Kate Rhodes. Check it out, there’s something for everyone.

And how about a favourite moment from 2017 generally?
This year, I decided to cut back on my teaching career to spend more time writing and it’s been very rewarding.

Favourite book in 2017?
So many! But one that really had me thinking ‘I wish I’d written that’ has to be Craig Robertson’s Random – it was his debut, written back in 2010, but it’s superb!

Favourite film in 2017?
Despite having so many excellent comic book movies to choose from, I have to go with the outstanding Dunkirk.

Favourite song of the year?
I’m not going to lie – a song as to be at least 5 years old for it to seep into my consciousness, so ask me again in 2022. That being said, the one song that I always pause my typing for when it comes around on shuffle has to be Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars.

Any downsides for you in 2017?
Dealing with conveyancing solicitors. How does anyone ever move house in this country? On the plus side, I know exactly who I’m going to kill in a future book!

Are you making resolutions for 2018?
I’m not a big one for resolutions, but I have no excuse now not to write every day.

What are you hoping for from 2018?
I am still writing more DCI Warren Jones books, but I’m hoping to find the time to work on a couple of standalones that I have been thinking about for a while.

Review of 2017: Gill Hoffs

Hello and welcome to day 3 of the 2017 reviews!

Thanks to Rachel Amphlett for yesterday’s review. Following in her shoes today is Gill Hoffs. Lovely Gill has been a long-time friend of this blog and it would be wrong to not see how her year has been. My thanks to Gill for today’s post.

Vic x

Do you have a favourite memory professionally from 2017?
I’ve loved giving talks on shipwrecks and writing for clubs and festivals throughout the UK, but the high point was, without a doubt, signing with Pen & Sword for my third shipwreck book.  The Lost Story of the Ocean Monarch: Fire, Family, and Fidelity will be out in time for the 170th anniversary of this awful accident next summer, and I’m verrrrrry excited about it!

And how about a favourite moment from 2017 generally?
Moving into my new house, a tiny two-up two-down with an outhouse and a friendly ghost.  When I first walked in, it was like stepping into a hug.  Soon afterwards, my folks came to visit from Scotland and helped me get things shipshape.  There’s now an adult-sized swing in the backyard, where I eat breakfast (even when it’s chilly) and sometimes fall asleep after a long shift, and a tiny pond full of leeches and snails.  I have a model lighthouse instead of a hearth or a mantelpiece, and I’ve never felt more at home.

Favourite book in 2017? 
The Children of Green Knowe by Lucy M. Boston, which I first read (and adored) as a child.  I was so relieved to find it just as joyous, sinister, and poignant as I remembered.  This is definitely a book that shaped me, and worth coming to as an adult.  I’ve also been lucky enough to read some crackers from Steve Mosby, Belinda Bauer, and Michael Malone this year.

Favourite film in 2017? 
Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2.  So much so, I have a giant poster of it in my living room and think of the opening scene Baby Groot dicking about to “Mr Blue Sky” if I’m feeling low and need a wee mental lift.  The music, the colours, the humour, the sadness … it all adds up to sheer escapist joy for me.  A close second is Morning Glory, a charity shop find which I enjoy more with every viewing.

Favourite song of the year?
Across the Universe
by the Beatles.  It’s not a song I was very familiar with before now, but for some reason my brain insisted that having this track on repeat was crucial while writing The Lost Story of the Ocean Monarch and I can’t imagine my year without it.  Another song I’ve listened to on repeat throughout the year is Eddie Floyd’s Knock on Wood which my little boy likes to knock along to.  I don’t blame him.

Any downsides for you in 2017?
Everything went a bit wrong this year, in many ways, and I know I’m not alone in feeling that.  I’m now a single mum with a new home and a new job.  But things are on the up, I hope, and when I’m feeling a bit fragile I try and find an opportunity to be kind – making someone a cake, feeding wildlife, clearing overgrown paths – and it seems to help.  As do profiteroles.  Lots of them.

Are you making resolutions for 2018?
I resolve – generally, not specifically for 1 January to 31 December – to find whatever joy I can, wherever I can, as often as I can.  And to make more macaroni cheese (and eat it).

What are you hoping for from 2018?
Success and stability would be nice, but given the state of things in 2017, for the human race to survive at all would be *something*.  But that’s a bit bleak, so how about signing my novel (Lord Of The Flies meets Jaws) with an agent and/or publisher?  That would be SMASHING.

Caroline Flaherty reviews her 2013.

Today, we’re going against the grain and having a non-writer on the blog. I’ve had such amazing feedback on the Review of 2012 blog that this year I opened it up to all of my friends, whether they’re writers, artists or anything else. That’s how we managed to nab Sharon Jones earlier this month, now we have Caroline Flaherty. I met Caroline while we were undergraduates together at Newcastle University. Here’s her 2013.

Vic x

Caz Flaherty

2013 has been a great year for you. Do you have a favourite memory professionally?

It was starting my first teaching job at Attleborough High School in Norfolk, as the Food Technology and Catering Teacher.

And how about a favourite moment from 2013 generally? 

The Perseid meteor shower in August.

Favourite book in 2013?

Punk: Chaos to Couture‘ by Andrew Bolton, Richard Hell, Jon Savage and John Lydon. 

Favourite film of 2013?

Star Trek Into Darkness‘.


Favourite song of the year?

Do or Die’ by Thirty Seconds to Mars.

Any downsides for you in 2013?

My friend Sandra died at Easter time, it was very sudden and unexpected.

Are you making resolutions for 2014?

To make sure I make time to catch up with my friends and don’t leave the time in between seeing them too long.

What are you hoping for from 2014?

That my family and friends stay happy and healthy.

If Santa was to bring you any one thing you wanted on Xmas morning, what would it be?

Ooh that’s tough as I don’t really want anything – but that it is no snow would be good.