THE LAST POST….. (for the time being….)

Last night, and again today, I was truly humbled and touched by a number of tweets I received in response to the news I tweeted out that I have decided to park this blog and to stop reviewing books for the foreseeable future – so, firstly, a big thank you for the very kind messages (you know who you are).

As I mentioned in tweets, I’m remaining on twitter (@keithbwalters) and might tweet the odd short review through that from time to time.

I feel the need, whether you care or not, to spell out just why I’ve made the decision – partly, I guess, to justify this move on my part to myself.

Firstly, I love books and continue to enjoy crime fiction in particular, but am wanting to spend more and more time catching up on old classics that I really should have read by now.  I’m still buying lots of books and they then sit alongside towers of books sent very kindly for me to read and review, I feel their stare into the back of my neck like small children being ignored.  I cannot get away from the fact that with every book I read to review, there are stacks of others sitting alongside, giving a feeling that at all times lots of people are being let down.

For the past few weeks I’ve been reading older stuff, classic Lawrence Block, Elmore Leonard, watching lots of dvd’s that I really should have seen years ago – and I’m really enjoying it.

Until recent weeks, I would log every arriving book onto a spreadsheet (grimacing at how many were already on the list as the days/months past publication slipped by), I’d drop an email back to whichever kind publicist had sent the book to let them know it had arrived safely – the admin alone often took more time in my day than my ‘job’ admin, and that’s when it starts to flash up some big warning signs.

I need to spend more time at weekends with my children, not telling them that daddy HAS to finish and review THIS or THAT book, there’s stuff that needs doing on the house, I’m getting fatter through not being active, oh, and did I mention I got into all of this to write my own books?

Yes, as ironic as it might seem, one of my first pieces published was an overview of Mark Billingham and Minette Walters with their Crime Writing Masterclass at the London Book Fair – the article appeared in ‘The Verdict’ – the then crime fanzine in Ottakars (remember them?) bookstores.  I went to the event as a paying punter who wanted to learn the craft of crime writing and came away and wrote about the event itself!  This set a pattern of course, with my initial labour of love write-ups of the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival for Ottakars and then my own blog, turning into my blogger in residence gig for the past two years.  Author interviews from this years event WILL appear somewhere at sometime, but the sheer volume of transcription is daunting in itself.

The last couple of years have been full of amazing experiences – attending recordings of The TV Book Club, having my video review of Before I Go to Sleep broadcast on the show, attending the launch of the first World Book Night in Trafalgar Square, being interviewed by Radio 4 for their World Book Night coverage, going to the ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards….and many great festival and book launch events.

In many ways, I only have myself to blame – I created a monster – my second one in fact.

Years ago, when at art college, I wanted to work in special make-up effects and made props and models in my spare time.  This led to me meeting cast and crew from movies such as Clive Barker’s Hellraiser and Nightbreed.  But guess who ended up writing up signing events and interviewing the cast and crew for my own photocopied fanzines, and one for Marvel Comics? (yes, this was before the internet, and yes it was me, once again spending time writing about the work of others rather than getting on with my own).

I’m fairly certain I’ll be eating my words (or at least some of them) and will return with a blog or website of sorts in the future (maybe even resurrect this one), but with more emphasis on my own writing perhaps, alongside the occasional author feature – who knows?

But for now, just a big big thank you to all that have written great crime books, have sent me great crime books and have kindly shared wine at many a launch event or crime festival.

All very best

Keith

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16 Comments

Filed under General ramblings

16 responses to “THE LAST POST….. (for the time being….)

  1. Keith, I love your blog but I’m absolutely thrilled for you that you are doing this for you. I wish you many a happy hour with the books and films you choose to read and watch and that you have some quality time with your family. You never know, you may fit some writing in there!

    See you on twitter!

  2. Laydilejur

    Good for you, Keith! The years fly by so quickly, we should never underestimate the rewards of quality family time or deprive ourselves of taking opportunities to achieve our aspirations. It all makes for a happy and fulfilled ‘you’ – which can only be a good thing for everyone else too. Good luck with your writing and enjoy your reading too.

  3. Good luck with your writing Keith.

  4. All the best with your next phase, Keith. We all need to find the right balance in a world of ever-changing demands.

  5. All the best bloggers are disappearing!

    I totally understand why you’re doing it though and I truly hope to keep in touch via Twitter (if I can ever get back on there… having trouble loading for me today!).

    Don’t be a stranger! :)

  6. Matey, this really came out of the blue and surprised but, you know what, I support you 100%. Enjoy the “time off” and doing your own thing. And you better not disappear on me altogether!

  7. Very Tessa Tangent

    Good for you. When something takes me away from my top priorities in life, the heart stuff not the head stuff, I give up, or at very least moderate, that something. Life’s too short not to. All the best with your own writing and thanks for running an excellent, exemplary blog. A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. And a woman, too! Enjoy your family, writing and the other stuff of the heart…

  8. Well, Keith. I couldn’t have put it better myself, which is why as you already know I’m hanging up my heels on my blog too. I’m not sure my post will be as positive as yours but I am, if anything, always honest.

    I shall miss your reviews, I shall miss you at events too and hope our paths continue to cross. I also want to say a huge thank you for the time that you took to help me with Taunting the Dead. You read it as a word document, mistakes and all, and then went on to give me a fantastic review. I know you did this because you enjoyed the book and I thank you for that, plus taking the time to do it. As a book reviewer, I know how much time goes into writing a review, trying not to add spoilers, and also how much time goes into reading the book and email contacts etc.

    I wish you all the very best with your writing and if you need a mentor, if you’d have me of course, feel free to ask. Anything I can help with, I’d be happy to do. See you on twitter! Mel x

    • Aw ! That’s very kind, Mel. Thank you. I’m sure we’ll catch up at events – just means that I might be a little more relaxed being at them as a fan/reader and not feeling ‘on point’ and checking schedule every few moments :)
      In the meantime, I will remain on twitter until some scandal reveals that all of us on twitter are not actually ourselves and are merely sock-puppets all being run by one puppet-master/author :)

  9. Hard to know what to add to what’s already been said. You were one of the first people to review Pariah, and you have continued to support me ever since. We fledgling authors benefit enormously from people such as yourself, and I for one am hugely appreciative of what you have done. There come points in all our lives when we have to weigh things up and decide what’s best for the future, and I can fully understand your decision. Occasionally, something has to give. I hope everything works out for you, and that we continue to be friends, in both the real and virtual worlds. Good luck with the writing, and I’ll see you soon.

    • THAT’s why you are such a great author to read, Dave – that brought a lump to my throat.
      Thank you very much, means a lot, a hell of a lot.
      Of course I’ll keep in touch – twitter and real life.
      Thanks again and all best – keep writing.
      Keith

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