‘Thriller Writer, Archaeologist and Traveller’ it says at the head of the website, and that was the plan at the end of 2019. Then guess what happened to spoil everyone’s year… and the one after that too. Never one to be in fashion, it wasn’t until the second anniversary of lockdown that I went down with covid, and 2022 proceeded bumpily.
Somehow the pieces have finally clicked, though goodness knows how long for. Thriller Writer has a new book out, and after giving a talk on ‘Was British Fascism Doomed to Fail’ at the Alderney Literary Festival, I gave another at the Guernsey Literary Festival on creating characters and plot for Blackshirt Masquerade against a historic background. These talks will be used as the basis for later blogs. Twice-cancelled Crimefest and the twice-cancelled CWA Torquay Conference allowed writers finally to meet again in person.
Traveller has finally found his wings too – and his feet and his wheels. England is a beautiful and constantly intriguing place and as rules have relaxed I’ve been drawn to its hills, lakes, coasts and waterfalls. It was not quite the globetrotting envisaged at the start of 2020, but has shown you don’t have to travel far to see wonders.
And the Archaeologist has been taken out of storage, carefully unwrapped and placed in his natural setting. The Dig Alderney team returned to the Nunnery Roman Fort in late May. It was planned to be our last excavation at the multi-period fort, having dug there for most summers since 2008. As locations for archaeological digs go, this takes some beating.
The target for the final excavation was the south-east corner of the fort, inaccessible until a hideous 1930s shed was demolished last year. Indications from 2021 that a large medieval or Tudor building lay hidden beneath later fortifications proved to be correct, and parts still stand three metres high. Alderney sunshine guaranteed a hot and dusty ten days. For more information, check out the Dig Alderney Facebook page. We’ve also now ventured onto Twitter as @DigAlderney.
So what’s next, and which part of the tagline will prevail? Immediately it’s more travelling, and chance to read a few books for pleasure and not simply research. As soon as I return ‘writer’ kicks in, as the second book in the Agents of Room Z series is nearing completion and pre-launch publicity for A Brush With Life will be accelerated. Of course the Nunnery dig needs writing up and there’s a July deadline for submission of the interim paper on the 2021 dig, but it simply needs some of the speculative lines removing as we’ve now proved what we suspected.
In face of the multiple challenges fate seems to be throwing at us, the Adventure Continues.
Blackshirt Masquerade can be ordered from your local bookstore, or online in paperback form or Kindle from Amazon.