Saturday, 23 July 2011

Phew. Glad that's over...

Well, it’s been a mad week. If a writer’s life is a rollercoaster of highs (getting published / meeting a fan at a book signing) and lows (rejections / getting told to shove off at a book signing) then this week has been a condensed version.

It started a week ago when I drove 260 miles to speak to a book group where, I discovered the day before, only 7 of the 14 had actually purchased my book. Given the distance, and the fact that I don’t charge to do this, I thought this was a bit much but as I’d already booked my hotel I went anyway. Well, there may have only been 7 there but they made up for it with their enthusiasm and I was delighted by their comments. When they gave me some chocs and flowers as a `thank you` my cup floweth over… I arrived at the hotel pleased I’d made the journey.

The following day I did two book signings (mad idea – never again) and it was pouring with rain. Both branches of Waterstones were dead, so I was lucky to sell 40 books, and drove home feeling weary.

On Tuesday I went to Bodies in the Bookshop at Heffers, Cambridge. I knew that with so many crime writers there it would be a good networking opportunity, and I especially wanted to meet Sophie Hannah (we’d exchanged e-mails but never met in the flesh) and S J Watson (whose book led me to my new agent). Fate was on my side; by chance I was in the taxi line with S J Watson, and ended up sharing a cab, which gave me ample time to chat with him, and then Sophie was on the same book-signing table as me. I was one of the last to leave the event, and selling a few books was an added bonus.

Wednesday was manic. I drove to Wickhambrook, somewhere in the Suffolk wilds, and met the WI group there. We had a lovely lunch, and after my talk I sold lots of books, so it was a fantastic event. I also got gifted some fabulous cup cakes so the kids were happy when I got home… however before going home I zoomed to London for the People’s Book Prize awards. I am grateful to everyone who voted for me, and especially for the comments left on the site. I didn’t win but it was a lovely evening and I still felt fortunate to be there.

Thursday was another book club, this time a group that I had met last year when they read The Woman Before Me. Their response to The Sacrificial Man was, if anything, even more enthusiastic and it was a great night. I do love book clubs!

Friday was the short-listing of the New Blood Dagger and although I knew it was a bad sign that I’d heard nothing I was still disappointed to see the confirmation that I wasn’t short-listed. As the opening of The Woman Before Me had won the debut dagger back in 2005 I was hopeful that the completed version would be deemed worthy of a listing. I’d already predicted that Before I go to Sleep, Poison Tree and Into the Darkest Corner would be on the list. Fantastic novels all.

But I wasn’t downcast for long.

Today took me to Bury St Edmunds for one of the best book signings I have ever done. There is a growing awareness of my books, and several people came in knowing I would be there. Others had heard me on Radio Suffolk / BBC2 / Woman’s Hour so that was a good sign that the publicity works.
I’ve just arrived home – tired by happy.
It’s been a bit of an up and down week, but on balance a writer’s life is still the one for me.


  1. I just want to tell you that I have read all your novels and have been busy telling anyone who will listen to read them too. In particular I thought your latest "The Sacrificial Man" was the best book I have read for a very long time. In fact here is what I wrote on Amazon: "Simply put, this book is a beautifully crafted novel on two taboo subjects: cannibalism and assisted suicide. Despite this, Ruth Dugdall's accomplished writing and knowledge of criminal law make this a book devoid of any lurid, gory or sensational detail. I have read all Ruth Dugdall's novels and I believe she is one of the most talented crime/thriller novelist I have ever come across. It is always so exciting to discover an exceptional writing talent and like all the other reviewers, I cannot wait for Ruth's next book. In her genre; nobody does it better.

    Keep up the excellent writing.

  2. Hello Ruth

    Just popped in to say my sister was at Wickhambrook and really enjoyed your visit. She alerted me to your books and also the Luke Bitmead award (my application is on its way!) Looking forward to reading The Woman Before Me, just purchased for Kindle.