#CrimeWritersInCafesProcrastinating – debut author Margaret Kirk reveals her procrastination habits! @HighlandWriter


Today debut crime writer Margaret Kirk is joining me for Crime Writers In Cafes Procrastinating. As the title suggests, this feature is all about the lengths writers go to procrastinate when they should be writing, and how they (eventually) manage to win against the temptation of the path of procrastination to finish their books.

Ready for a grilling about her procrastination habits is Margaret Kirk whose debut crime novel – SHADOW MAN – is out now.

Welcome Margaret! Tell me a bit about SHADOW MAN…

Shadow Man, my debut novel, is a police procedural set in Inverness and the Highlands. The winner of the Good Housekeeping First Novel competition in 2016, it introduces Lukas Mahler, a half-Scots, half-German ex-Met DI, and is the first in a planned series.

How long did it take to write?

Well, when I won the competition (June 2016) I really only had about 25,000 decent words written. I then had a bit of a scramble to get it finished and sent off to Orion, which took another six months. Not too bad, considering I was in a state of shock for at least a month after finding out I’d won!

What’s your favourite writing/procrastination spot – home, café, bar, other?

I have a lovely writing shed (dubbed ‘The Murder Room’) in our garden, where I should theoretically be able to shut out the world and get writing. But I’ve also got two demanding cats who wander in and out, and a really comfy day bed in there, so…

What’s your writing process – do you jump straight in, or plan and plot first?

I plan quite carefully. I set up a word document called ‘Chapter Plan’ and do a one or two-sentence synopsis for each chapter, which I then add to/amend as I go. And I always write the synopsis for the book first – it really concentrates the mind and shows me where the book is going. And it alerts me to any potential plot holes I need to look out for.

When you’re writing, do you find you procrastinate more at the beginning, middle or end of the draft, or equally across all three?

Probably in the middle. There’s a lot of momentum that carries me through the first third, then as the plot becomes more complex, I start fretting about whether I’m going in the right direction etc. I gradually feel my way through and start gathering speed again for the finale!

Do you prefer first drafts or edits (and why)?

I think edits, really, because there’s that sense that you’re working with what you have to make something better, and that’s always easier than pulling words out of thin air and sticking them down on a page. The shape of what the book should be starts to feel a little closer at the edits stage.

When you’re procrastinating, what’s the activity you turn to most?

Cat-cuddling. Finding a new must-read series and absolutely bingeing on it, telling myself it’s all in the name of research. Sort of…and afternoon tea is a huge favourite!

When you’re writing what’s your drink and snack of choice?

Coffee and chocolate – basically, I run on caffeine. But in an attempt to combat the onset of writers’ posterior, I try to severely limit the chocolate, and make sure I get at least 30 minutes’ exercise every day. Honest…

And how do you celebrate the completion of the book (you winning against procrastination)?

…is celebrated either with Prosecco or a nice Scottish gin (Shetland Reel or Rock Rose) and Fevertree tonic. Cheers!

Huge thanks to Margaret for letting me quiz her about all things procrastination.

Be sure to check out her debut novel – SHADOW MAN. And keep up to date with all her news via social media at: 

Facebook: Margaret Kirk Author    Twitter:     https://twitter.com/HighlandWriter

Click on the book cover below to view SHADOW MAN on Amazon UK…

CTG’s #bookcrush – Three Little Lies by Laura Marshall


My fabulous book crush this week is Three Little Lies by Sunday Times bestselling author Laura Marshall.

I was drawn to this cover because it’s so stand-out striking – the stark white jacket, the wisps of smoke leading to an abstract impression of a woman’s face, the red-as-blood title. I loved Laura Marshall’s debut – Friend Request – and am itching to read this!

Because behind the eye catching cover is a twisty, unsettling thriller.

Here’s the blurb:

“There’s no such thing as a little lie… When Sasha North comes into Ellen’s life, Ellen falls under her spell. As Ellen is welcomed into Sasha’s family, she doesn’t see the darkness that lies beneath their bohemian lifestyle. Not until a brutal attack changes all their lives forever. Ten years later, Ellen and Sasha share a flat in London, still bound together by that night. When Sasha disappears, Ellen fears the worst. The police won’t take her seriously, but the events of the past give Ellen good reason to be frightened. What really happened that night? Who is telling the whole truth? These are the questions Ellen must confront when searching for her friend. But someone knows Ellen is looking. And they don’t want the answers coming out…”

I can’t wait to start reading!

If you like the sound of Three Little Lies you can find out more on Amazon HERE.


CTG’s #bookcrush – The Murder of Harriet Monckton by Elizabeth Haynes



My lovely book crush this week is The Murder of Harriet Monckton by award winning, bestselling author Elizabeth Haynes.

I was immediately attracted to this cover – the statue of a young woman, the creeping ivy twisting around her, and the handwriting hinting at secret notes and lives. I picked it up, read the back and I was hooked!

Because behind the gorgeously intriguing cover lies a Victorian crime novel based on the true story of an unsolved murder.

Here’s the blurb:

“On 7th November 1943 a young woman is found poisoned behind the chapel she regularly attended in Bromley, Kent. Drawing on the original coroner’s reports and true witness testimonies, Elizabeth Haynes builds a compelling picture of Harriet Monckton’s final days through the eyes of those closest to her: her fellow teacher and companion, her would-be fiancé, her seducer, and her former landlord and lover. All are suspects. Each has a reason to want her dead.”

 I can’t wait to start reading!

If you like the sound of The Murder of Harriet Monckton you can find out more on Amazon HERE.

CTG’s #threewordbookreview – THE MIDNIGHT LINE by LEE CHILD


Today’s three word ‘micro’ book review features the latest in the fantastic (and certainly not micro) Jack Reacher series – THE MIDNIGHT LINE – by Lee Child.


(That’s five words you say? Yeah, yeah. So I slipped in a couple of cheeky hyphens – my blog, my rules!)

The Midnight Line is out now from Transworld. To find out more and buy the book click the cover below and hop over to Amazon:

#MyLittleEye launches in paperback today: see me take @TheAngelaClarke twisted author challenge plus chance to #win a copy of the book!

To celebrate My Little Eye coming out in paperback today I’m sharing this video interview fabulous crime writer and radio presenter Angela Clarke did with me on her YouTube channel.

We talk about My Little Eye, crime fiction, duct tape, handcuffs and she challenges me to a twisted author challenge – to put 80s-style make up on in 60 seconds with my eyes closed! It was a lot of fun to film – hope you enjoy it!

There’s also a chance to win a signed limited edition proof copy of My Little Eye!

Check out the video on YouTube here: 

My Little Eye is out now – find it in Waterstones, Tesco, and all good bookstores and online at Amazon. I really hope you enjoy it!