Blackwatertown online book launch

Exhilarating, blurry, fraught & fun – the live online book launch for my historical crime thriller Blackwatertown published in paperback & ebook by Unbound & in audiobook by W. F. Howes.

You can see the recording here, with me & the celeb host, Wilkie Collins world expert & BBC Radio 4 Money Box presenter Paul Lewis. There is live singing from Alabama 1950s crooner Don McDermott. Aneysha chooses the prize winners. We also have Alicia from the The Bookshop San Pedro in Marbella, Spain, and backing from the other launch supporters No Alibis Bookstore in Belfast, the Ullapool Bookshop in Scotland, The Marlow Bookshop in England & Alan Hanna’s Bookshop in Dublin. Thanks to everyone who joined in, whether you won a prize or not – and for your support to top authors Will Dean, Gerard Brennan, Geoffrey Gudgion, Brian McGilloway, Anita Anand, Simon Maltman, Peter May, Tony Kent Writes, Stevyn Colgan, Sue Clark, Pete Langman, Kirsty Allison, Mark Page & Colin Cameron; guerilla publicists Janice Staines & Pól Ó Duibhir, Unbound publisher John Mitchinson, broadcaster Swazi Kaur & film maker Melanie Perry. We first knew we were actually going live thanks to Stan Burridge. Thanks also to Bushmills Irish Whiskey and the authors of Underneath The Tree – raising money for the Simon Community Northern Ireland & World of Owls Northern Ireland. Someday this will all be happening in bookshops & pubs again.


A pasty, a pastry, a coffee and a book

Having a wafer with your ice cream is soooo boring. Get a book with your cone instead.

Signed copies of Blackwatertown are now on sale over the counter at The Deli in Chalfont St Giles. But wait, I hear you say, that’s not even a bookshop! True. There’s no bookshop near me. But there is a very friendly deli which serves delicious food (and a great café when it’s safe to reopen it – pandemic times).

I highly recommend you visit The Deli and the other booksellers listed on my Buy The Book page. (Check out the cool map of locations.) They’re what make our streets a joy, rather than a wasteland.

But bookshops come in different guises. Fox Lane Books in Yorkshire runs pop-up bookshops in various locations round that huge county. They’re constrained from running physical stalls at the moment (pandemic again), but they also have a very well curated bookselling website here where you can order a copy Blackwatertown Thank you Fox Lane Books.

Hmmm… I’m suddenly feeling a bit peckish…


First sight of Blackwatertown

Unboxing the first copies of my book Blackwatertown, published 23rd July 2020

It’s real. It’s here. If you have already supported Blackwatertown, then you should receive your own copy from the publisher Unbound very soon. If you’d like to get your hands on a copy, some very lovely bookshops are stocking it. Bookshops make the world better and I’m grateful to these ones for their encouragement. So have a look at my list (complete with map – what joy!) and perhaps order from the one nearest you. They can post copies out, so they don’t have to be that near you.

If you can’t bring yourself to stray from Amazon – you can order Blackwatertown there too.

But wherever and however you get your paperback or ebook, I would really appreciate a review on Amazon (yes, I do realise that makes me seem a bit of a hypocrite) and wherever else you write reviews. And also to see a photo of you or your dog (or even your cat) with your copy of Blackwatertown. Please post it online and tag me in – @paulwaters99 on Twitter, or @PaulWatersauthor on Facebook or paul_waters_author on Instagram.

Oh, did I mention that I’m a bit excited?


Cross-examined by a champion

Courtrooms are daunting places. The witness box is even scarier. I’ve been there. But up against such a daunting inquisitor as Tony Kent. He’s one of the UK’s top criminal barristers, as well as the author of a gripping series of thrillers – Killer Intent, Marked for Death and Power Play. I’ve read them all. You should too. He seems to have a uncanny and downright suspicious insight into how things really work in the corridors and oval offices of power.

So subjecting myself and my book Blackwatertown to his cross-examination sounds pretty unwise. Add in that he was a boxing champion and a stuntman for Gladiator… well, it’s no wonder that I completely black out at one point. You can see it plays out here…

Tony Kent Writes…and Cross Examines – Paul Waters, author of Blackwatertown

Indie bookshops and indie authors

“Oh the farmer and the cowman should be friends,” wrote Oscar Hammerstein II for the musical Oklamhoma! Same goes for indie bookshops and indie writers. If we both help each other, we both benefit.

Yes, that’s Hugh Jackman with Josefina Gabrielle

But sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. The Green Street screen writer and author Dougie Brimson recently told the We’d Like A Word books and authors podcast (full disclosure – I’m one of the presenters) about his unhappy experience with independent bookshops. He contacted more than 20 of them about his latest book In The Know. Most didn’t respond. Two said they’d order it only if customers asked for it. Not surprisingly, Dougie wasn’t impressed and now points potential buyers to Amazon. So much for us all being in it together, sez he.

As Dougie might have put it, in Oklahoma! lyrics…

I don’t say I’m no better than anybody else

But I’ll be damned if I ain’t jist as good!

For me, heaven is a bookshop. However long I’ve spent in bookshops is not long enough. I want bookshop visitors – the word guests seems more appropriate – to see my book Blackwatertown on the shelves when it is published on July 23rd. Or to see it if they browse bookshop websites. So I’ve contacted loads of them. Even more than Dougie. A lot more. 150 maybe, across Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. And a handful in the USA. (Sorry if I’ve left you out so far – it’s a long job. Please nudge me.)

Most have not – yet – responded. But then again my timing is awful. There’s a pandemic on. Doors are closed. Staff are furloughed. Businesses are struggling to survive. Bookshops are scrambling to adjust.

But some bookshops have responded. And that’s wonderful. Even if only to say “we don’t sell that sort of thing” (“nor that sort neither” when I had a go at reframing how I described Blackwatertown). Nearly every response has been friendly and encouraging.

The best have been along the lines of “yes, we’ll definitely stock your book” or “yes, I’ve just put in an order.” You can see them on my website on the Buy The Book page. One of the best bookshops in the world, No Alibis in Belfast, was the first to order in copies. Their halo shines bright.

And now the delightful Little Bookshop in beautiful Cookham (Berkshire) by the Thames, has gone a stage further. They’ve featured Blackwatertown on their newsletter to all their bookshop regulars. That feels very much like we’re both in it together.

As the song says…

The farmer should be sociable with the cowboy

If he rides by an’ ask fer food an’ water

Don’t treat ‘im like a louse

Make ‘im welcome in your house

I’m feeling that Blackwatertown and I am being made very welcome in the Little Bookshop and all the shops near and far that are making a small space on their shelves or on their website for us. Thank you.

As the coronavirus lockdown eases and bookshops begin to reopen, please go visit them if it’s safe for you. Or check out what they’re offering on their websites. (I can recommend some very good ones…)


Join me at the BBC’s Big Book Weekend

The silver lining that comes with setbacks is seeing how people overcome them. Book festivals have been cancelled and postponed because of the need for social distancing in times of coronavirus. Noireland in Belfast was supposed to happen in March 2020, but has had to be postponed till October 10th this year. I hope to see you there. In the meantime, Noireland, the BBC and the My Virtual Literary Festival website have got together to provide an online version. Loads of festivals are involved from 8-10th May.

Clockwise: Alan Judd, Jane Casey, Gary Donnelly, Liz Nugent

I’ll have the privilege of chatting with four ace crime and thrillers writers with an Irish connection at 3pm on Sunday 10th May – and you can join in too. My guests are Liz Nugent, author of Our Little Cruelties; Jane Casey, author of The Cutting Place; Gary Donnelly, author of Blood Will Be Born; and Alan Judd, author of Accidental Agent. I’ve read them all and I highly recommend them. They’re also great chatters. I hope you can join us live or watch later.

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