Thursday, 7 June 2018

Launching Bloody Scotland 2018 (with Tea, Biscuits, & Stirling Gin)

Stirling 4th June

Having long wanted the fabulous and very busy Alexander McCall Smith as part of our festival lineup, we finally succeeded by having him both at the programme launch and even better, as the guest for our first event of 2018, which immediately followed.

Tea and shortbread with Alexander McCall Smith was the best fun as an event Chair it’s possible to have.

Sandy and I are near neighbours in Merchiston Edinburgh (as too is Ian Rankin), although I first met Sandy at an African Charity event in St Stephen’s Church in 2003 just after the first in my Forensic Scientist Dr Rhona MacLeod series Driftnet was published and was Ottakers Crime Book of the Month.

He was talking about The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency and I was singing African songs with Sedenka, one of which was a favourite of Sandy’s, the spellbinding Shoshaloza.

We have both lived in Africa, and fallen in love with it. Myself in Nigeria and Zimbabwe, Sandy in Zimbabwe and Botswana.

Our talk in the packed ballroom of the Golden Lion Hotel, the hub of the Bloody Scotland festival, ranged over the origins of Mma Ramotswe, flying ants which we’d both tasted (Sandy described them as tasting like butter), and the excitement when the rains come and the dust of the savannah explodes into green.

We then moved on to his Edinburgh novels including the Isabel Dalhousie novels. Isabel also also lives in Merchiston with Isabel running a deli in Bruntsfield. I have to say Sandy has captured the location perfectly. We then chatted about 44 Scotland Street and poor beleaguered wee Bertie with the pushiest mother in the world. (it seems Edinburgh is the world leader in pushy mothers... not that I’m one).

Sandy had the audience and myself constantly in stitches throughout, especially when he described his visit to Italy to finish a book, where he hired a bulldozer to get around, when no cars were available on a holiday weekend... which led to the novel My Italian Bulldozer and what looks like the start of a new series.

London 5th June

Our London Bloody Scotland programme launch took place in the wonderful Waterstones bookshop in Piccadilly.

Stirling Gin, one of our festival sponsors were there again with their wonderful Bloody Scotland cocktail, having brought the ingredients all the way south on the train. I have it on good authority that the suitcase was very heavy.

Bob McDevitt our Festival Director welcomed a full house of publishers, agents and authors, many of whom will be appearing at Bloody Scotland, including the wonderful Louise Penny from Canada.
We have writers from fourteen different countries appearing this year, as well as our home grown Scottish talent and our friends from south of the border.

Bloody Scotland Board Member Abir Muckerjee speaks at London launch

Opening with a short clip of the torchlit procession from Stirling Castle to the Albert Hall led by the 2017 McIlvanney Scottish Crime book of the year winner Denise Mina, together with Val McDermid and Ian Rankin both celebrating 30 years in the business of writing crime, gave a flavour of what Bloody Scotland is all about.

Check out the Bloody Scotland website for the full programme and buy your tickets. They are selling fast.


Related Links:-

The List: Bloody Scotland 2018 takes on violence against women, Brexit and the return of the Trainspotting gang

Book tickets for Lin Anderson 22nd September event at
Bloody Scotland

Thursday, 31 May 2018

SINS OF THE DEAD Are All Consuming

I have always been fascinated about what happens to our brains when we sleep. I’m a dreamer (in more ways than one), and generally remember my dreams. I also often dream in story form. Once earlier in my writing career, I dreamt what seemed to be the synopsis of a book. I woke up and wrote it all down, but have yet to write the book, although I can still remember the idea clearly.

As a maths student at University of Glasgow I also found that I often solved maths problems during sleep. I decided that if your brain is not fully occupied with being awake, it can provide solutions and also be incredibly creative. Paul McCartney apparently composed songs in his sleep and Einstein is said to have dreamt his theory of relativity.

But bad things can also happen during sleep and sleep paralysis is definitely one of them. I have on a few occasions experienced the feeling of being seemingly awake but unable to move my limbs or cry out. Very scary.

If it was to happen too often, would you ever want to go to sleep again?

Sleep paralysis was thought in medieval times to occur when you had unforgiven sins. Thus the feeling of a crushing weight on your chest was usually personified in paintings by a demonic figure. For the most part the subject of the painting was a young and beautiful female.

Also in medieval times, dying without having confessed your sins was a terrible torment, and in such circumstances a sin-eater was employed to feast beside your body, thereby consuming your sins and allowing you to enter heaven. Interestingly sin-eater images also tend to feature beautiful young females, with the sin-eater often depicted as an ugly and demonic old man.

With these ideas and images in mind, I wrote the prologue to Sins of the Dead:

It was happening again. The crushing weight on his chest suffocating him, the paralysis of his limbs and his voice. Fear was the only thing that moved, surging through him like a bolt of lightning, tingling his skin. He tried again to open his eyes. If he could do that the night paralysis would end.
    His eyes finally sprang open on darkness and the realization that something was still wrong. Usually once the bond was broken, he could move again. He would be shaking with shock, but around him the normal images of his bedroom would take form and reassure him.
    Not this time.
    This time his eyes had opened on something entirely different.
    A figure was crouched next to him. Formed by shadows, he still recognized it as human.
    Then the figure turned and he saw the face, and with horror he remembered.

Chapter one opens with four female Harley Davidson riders, led by Ellie, McNab’s current girlfriend, illegally racing in the old railway tunnel under London Road in Glasgow. Their discovery of a body laid out as though in state with a glass of wine and partially eaten bread alongside, provides Rhona with her latest forensic case.

 Thunder in the Glens 2017

I’m not a biker myself, but I love the annual 'Thunder in the Glens' gathering of Harley Davidson riders in Aviemore. That in itself led me to create Ellie for McNab. Thunder in the Glens has been visiting Aviemore, seven miles south of my own village, Carrbridge, for over 20 years. Around 4,000 bikes attend making it the biggest and best Chapter-organised Harley gathering in Europe.

The people of Aviemore and the Spey Vally love their visit, and you’ll not be surprised to learn that 'Thunder in the Glens' features in the book, thanks to the help I received from the Dunedin Chapter of Harley Davidson who organise the event.

This is the thirteenth book in the series, and it’s certainly unlucky for Rhona.

Seeking an elusive link to a forensically aware killer, Rhona gradually suspects she too is being stalked and that the perpetrator she seeks knows everything about her and the sins of both her past and her present.

Sins of the Dead is available for pre-order and is published on 9th August 2018.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Blood Red Roses - The Scent of Death

If any readers of my Forensic Scientist Dr Rhona MacLeod series of crime thrillers have wondered how Rhona originally met her live-in lover Sean, then the answer can be found by reading BLOOD RED ROSES, a prequel to DRIFTNET (Book 1 in the series).

BLOOD RED ROSES was originally published in the Sandstone Press Vista Series of 'Quick Reads', and the challenge I set myself when commissioned to write this novella was to tell a 'full' crime thriller story in around 12,500 words. The other novels in the Forensic Scientist Dr Rhona MacLeod series can run to 90,000 words or more, so this was a significant challenge which at the outset I wasn't certain could be done.

However, by sticking to a single 'A' story, and keeping the 'B' story mainly to Rhona first meeting her lover Sean, I succeeded in moving from the opening incident, where a bride-to-be is murdered on her hen night, through twist and turns in the darker side of Glasgow, to Rhona solving the case, all in just over 12,500 words. The story was well received on first publication in the Sandstone Vista Series, and was credited with a number of instances of helping emergent readers to make the breakthrough to reading full-length novels.

When does desire become obsession? A hen night in Glasgow leaves the bride-to-be dead on a toilet floor. Her body is twisted, her face a mask of terror. Who would kill a girl just before her wedding? Dr Rhona MacLeod and her team are called in to find out. As they go through the evidence, they find themselves in a world where sex is bought and sold, and more violent death is lying in wait.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Bloody Scotland - Past Present Future

Bloody Scotland
2017 was our biggest and best yet. Walking down from Stirling Castle in a sea of flaming torches with Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Denise Mina at our head, celebrating 30 years in the business for Ian and Val, and Denise as the latest winner of the McIlvanney prize, was a magical moment for Alex Gray and myself.

Lin Anderson and Alex Gray

Here was the result of an idea, born nine years ago, in all its wonder.

The conception, birth and success of the Bloody Scotland festival is, like all good stories, entirely dependent on the characters involved.

For those of you who don’t know the whole story, let me give you the bones of it.

The idea for a Scottish Crime Festival was born in Lincoln, England at a Crime Writers’ Conference in 2009 famously after a couple bottles of Prosecco. At its conception were myself, Alex Gray and Alanna Knight. The question which prompted it… why, when we have such a wealth of crime writing talent in Scotland, do we not have our own festival?

Having the idea is the easy bit of course. After that you have to persuade other people that it is a great idea. Fortunately that wasn’t difficult. The first to join our trio was Jenny Brown, our Chair for the past six years. This was swiftly followed by Gordon Brown. Alex came up with the brilliant name, Bloody Scotland, and we were on our way.

Our initial committee was formed and we lost and found members en route. One of the most successful decisions we made in those early years, apart from the name, was to make Stirling our home, which led in turn to us welcoming Stirling-based Craig Robertson onto our committee.

And at the heart of our project was always the late great William McIlvanney, who had inspired us all to become crime writers in the first place.
Lee Randall explains the judging of the 2017McIllvanney Prize

As I said, it’s all about character.

We launched in 2012 after three years planning and hit the ground running and we have gone from strength to strength, thanks to the passion and commitment of all our past and present Board Members and of course, our current and former festival directors, Bob McDevitt and Dom Hastings.

However, as Alex and I walked from Stirling Castle to the Albert Hall, one thing was clear. Bloody Scotland now belongs to everyone – our Bloody Scotland team (including our sponsors), the wonderful authors, the readers, the bloggers, the volunteers, and of course the welcoming people of Stirling, of Scotland and beyond.

The BLOODY SCOTLAND book launched at the 2017 festival

Bloody Scotland 2018 runs from 21-23 September, 2018. 


Related Links:

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Hurricane Book Club - FOLLOW THE DEAD

Book 12 in the Forensic Scientist Rhona MacLeod series FOLLOW THE DEAD is featured as the Summer Pick in the 31st August 2017 Hurricane Book Club event.

Any reader can take part from 6pm by following and participating in the discussion through Orkney library’s twitter account @orkneylibrary, the Glasgow libraries twitter account @glasgowlib and the hashtag #hurricanebookclub.

Lin Anderson will be taking part from the Mitchell Library in Glasgow. See more details HERE.

In the YouTube video above Alex Saunders of Pan Macmillan introduces FOLLOW THE DEAD.


There is a Storify of this FOLLOW THE DEAD Hurricane Book Club HERE.


#HurricaneBookClub #FollowTheDead #FusionNoir #Cairngorm #Norway

Related Links:

Buy FOLLOW THE DEAD on Amazon:-
UK :
USA : 

'The Bridge' without a bridge: FOLLOW THE DEAD

Sunday, 27 August 2017

On the Road at Thunder in the Glens

I headed into Aviemore on 26th August 2017 to watch the 'Thunder in the Glens' motor bike ride-out, part of at Europe's biggest Harley-Davidson rally, organised by Dunedin Scotland Chapter.

I had the good fortune of being in the first car stopped by the Police and asked to wait, to allow the ride-out to funnel back into a single lane as they headed north out of Aviemore. (Honestly, I didn't arrange this with the Aviemore Police!)

So the video below is a single shot from the centre of the road towards the oncoming thousands of bikers as all of them pass.

If you were in the ride-out, then there is a pretty good chance you will be able to spot yourself. I was watching out for biker girl Ellie from my FOLLOW THE DEAD book, but I didn't see her :o)

(It takes 20 minutes for the ride-out to pass)

BTW: There is a fine display of my books in Waterstones Aviemore.