March was something else. Book tours, interviews, and perhaps best of all, a trip to France to go on set of the six-part series based on my novel The Accident. (More about that in a bit.) And April, with the UK publication of Far From True on April 21, and a couple more events in Canada, promises to be almost as hectic.
The Far From True Tour, and more . . .
Far From True, the second book in the Promise Falls trilogy, came out in Canada and the US on March 8 – exactly one week after book one, Broken Promise, was released in paperback.
We got a terrific send-off with a starred review from Publishers Weekly, which called Far From True an excellent sequel, adding “Barclay smoothly integrates myriad subplots, which involve a secret room for sex parties, an arrogant politician, an attempted kidnapping, a missing professor’s wife, a vacationing spouse, and the violent head of security at a local college. Each odd turn uncovers another dark aspect of Promise Falls. Readers will look forward to the trilogy’s finale due later this year.”
(That finale, by the way, is called The Twenty-Three, and it will be out in October in the UK, and one month later in North America.) The North America cover is here; still waiting on the one for the UK.
I spent a week on the road – more like in the air – touring Canada, starting on the west coast in Victoria, then on to Vancouver for the first CUFFED International Crime Writers Festival (a great fest, especially considering this was the inaugural one).
From there I flew to Calgary, then back to Toronto for a packed event at the North York Central Library, and another in a much more rural part of the province of Ontario: the town of Meaford, which sits between Owen Sound and Collingwood. If you’re an author, and someone suggests you go to Meaford, don’t say, “Meaford?” Two hundred people showed up. It was one of my favourite events of the last few years.
Me with CUFFED Festival artistic director Lonnie Propas
The most exciting part? The float plane ride from Victoria to Vancouver. There’d been high winds, and earlier flights had been cancelled. They let mine go. The pilot of this 12-seat plane said the 25-minute ride might be a bit bumpy. It was like flying on a trampoline. Thankfully, I kept my breakfast down the whole way.
On the set
My wife Neetha and I arrived in Paris on March 29, and the next day took the train to the Brittany Coast in the north of France. We were headed to a village called Pléeneuf-Val-André where, since the first week of January, Geteve Productions has been shooting a six-part TV series based on my novel, The Accident.
That novel was released in France as Contre Toute Attente (which translates to Against All Odds) but for the series they have gone with the North American title, mostly: “L’Accident”.
The series stars Bruno Solo, a high-profile French actor known as much for comedy as drama, but in the scenes I watched him do, he’s definitely got the chops for the serious stuff.
We hung out on set most of one day, plus had a great dinner with the cast and crew. Everyone, including Solo, was terrific.
The show is slated to air in early October on France 3. Fingers crossed it gets subtitled and makes it to Netflix in plenty of other markets.
Neetha and me, hanging out on set.
Outside the house in Pléneuf-Val-André which was used as the set for the lead character’s house in L’Accident, speaking with the producer.
This shot, taken in Pléneuf-Val-André. The entire cast and crew of L’Accident, after lunch. You can just make out Neetha and me, almost dead centre.
With star Bruno Solo. He plays Glen from the novel The Accident, but in the French version his name is Gabriel.
The massive list taped to the wall in the production office of every single scene from all six episodes of the series.
On to Lyon
The palace where the Quais du Polar crime fiction festival is held in Lyon. I am second from right. Or maybe not.
Four years ago I attended what’s called the Quais du Polar, a fantastic crime fiction festival in Lyon. I went back for a little more than twenty-four hours this year, but managed to pack in a lot of fun in a short time. The festival is centred in a beautiful palace that was once the city’s stock exchange building. Hundreds of authors are stationed at tables all day, signing books for readers.
I was parked next to Craig Johnson, author of the “Longmire” series, who was a very popular guy, and easy to spot in his cowboy hat. For a second I thought C.J. Box was there. Those two can really pull off that look. Richard Price, one of my favourite writers, was stationed on the other side of the room, but sadly I never managed to get over there to tell him how great I think he is.
A mention here about booksellers. Do people realize how hard they work? Case in point, brothers Marshall and Ivan Berton, of L’Esprit Livres books in Lyon. They handled book sales for me and several other authors at the festival, and they were run off their feet. Just before the festival, they lugged in hundreds of boxes of books, set up shop, dealt with hundreds of customers, and on top of that, interpreted for the non-French speaking bozo author who was worried about inscribing names incorrectly when autographing books. They were a couple of great guys.
Brothers Marshall and Ivan Berton, of L’Esprit Livres books in Lyon, helped me out all day as I signed books at Quais du Polar festival in Lyon. Great guys!
England in July
I’m coming back over to England this summer, with five major events in five days.
Monday, July 18, 7.30pm In conversation with author Luana Lewis, The Great Barn, Manor Farm Site, Ruislip, HA4 7SU Tickets are £6 and include a paperback copy of Broken Promise For ticket info, go to www.hillingdon.gov.uk/authors nearer the time
Tuesday, July 19, 7pm Chepstow Library, Manor Way, Chepstow, NP16 5HZ Tickets are free from Chepstow Books & Gifts, 13 St Mary Street, 01291 625011, www.chepstowbooks.co.uk
Wednesday, July 20, 6.30pm Waterstones Liverpool One, 12 College Lane, Liverpool L1 3DL Tickets £4 (£3 for Loyalty Card holders) and are available in store or by calling 0151 709 9820
Thursday, July 21, 7pm Waterstones Nottingham, 1-5 Bridlesmith Gate, Nottingham NG1 2GR Tickets £3 and available in store, or call 0115 947 0069
Today (April 21): Far From True is released in the UK
June 27 or 28: Okay, this is not nailed down yet, but if you’re in the Toronto area, be aware that I will be interviewing crime writer Peter James when he is in town. More details as they become available
July 6-9: I’ll be in New York City for the annual Thrillerfest convention. Details here: thrillerfest.com/
September 15-18: I’ll be in New Orleans for the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention
September 25: I will be appearing in the Bestsellers Tent at The Word on the Street festival in Toronto. More details as they become available
Random thoughts of a TV addict
I watch a lot of television, and that’s because some of the best television that’s ever been written and produced is being made right now. There are a couple of shows I really want to see that I’ve not yet found time for, particularly the second season of Happy Valley. That first season was nothing short of spectacular. And I’m just starting to get into season two of the Netflix series Daredevil. Season one was very strong.
Lately, I’ve been watching season four of The Americans, which may be the best show on TV that everyone is NOT talking about. It’s about a pair of Russian spies living in America, raising a family, fitting in completely while they conduct espionage work. It’s a brilliant show, thoughtfully written, and it says as much about family as it does about covert operations and the Cold War.
The People v. O.J. Simpson, a dramatization of the so-called trial of the century, was spellbinding. The actors chosen to play all the major real-life characters did an outstanding job, and although I’m sure there was some dramatic license, much of the series was based on actual court testimony. The series was based on the non-fiction account by journalist Jeffrey Toobin, who I have a lot of respect for. A must-see. As stunning as the non-guilty verdict seemed at the time (and it still is, all these years later) I’ve a much greater insight into why the jury voted the way it did after watching this show.
Finally, 11.22.63. Few people probably have had a chance to see this miniseries based on the novel by Stephen King, about a man who goes back in time to stop the Kennedy assassination. It ran on Hulu in the US, and Superchannel in Canada, but sooner or later it will end up on iTunes or Netflix. It’s the best television adaptation of a King story I’ve ever seen. There are some deviations from the novel, which I understand and think worked, but the important thing is that it maintains the book’s emotional core. That book was not a political thriller for me, but a love story. (On top of that, one of the show’s location shots is in a butcher shop my parents always went to when I was a kid.)
Happy to be settled back at home for a bit to get some writing done, though coming back to snow in Toronto in April was my idea of a cruel joke.