BRRR-ILLIANTLY DARK! ICELAND NOIR 2014 by VALERIE LAWS
|Iceland - a whole lotta lava going on|
Reporting back from participating in Iceland Noir, the Crime Fiction Festival held in Reykjavik, I first of all have to admit I’ve fallen hopelessly in love with Iceland, and would recommend it to anyone and most certainly will be going again. Despite the bizarre landscape of boiling hot streams and icy glaciers, volcanos ever ready to let rip, and basically a whole lot of lava going on, I felt strangely at home there. It could be my Viking ancestry, or just that it’s beautiful and strange, and the Icelanders are friendly, funny and rather like Geordies, though a lot more of them (50%) claim to believe in elves, trolls and the like. Not that far-fetched when you see the shapes the lava takes on. But recently a new road was diverted to avoid a large rock which was the home of elves. Even those who don't believe in them don't take chances. In such a hostile landscape with a small population chances are too risky.
|Just after noon, sunrise in Iceland - almost as high as it gets!|
|My panel on passion for writing - my writing on sheep went down well!|
I’ve blogged before about the vagaries of Festival Bookshops which are many – these days they all seem to share the same problem which is overstocking of books. Iceland’s bookshop was run by a local firm, who ordered books through one particular distributor, which my publisher doesn’t use. But several high profile people weren’t stocked either. When I emailed to query this, they said they’d sell books if I carried them over there, and that they had an agreement with publishers that unsold books could be destroyed! I found this quite shocking though I suppose publishers aren’t keen to pay the return fares of books bought on ‘sale or return’ overseas.
|My second thriller, and passport to crimefests!|
Despite this foreknowledge, they’d stocked up on piles of books, especially by big names like Peter James. Several writers brought books over and gave them to be sold, including me – I ended up selling one paperback copy of my dark thriller THE OPERATOR (I only took three over, having been warned by the bookshop that they didn’t sell many of anything the previous year) and some quite eminent writers didn’t sell any.
|Dead tree books are dead heavy to take home|
|Book destruction - not politics but postage|
At Bristol Crimefest Foyles stocked up with huge numbers of books, knowing lots of readers would be there, some from the US – forgetting just how many authors they’d be exposed to, delighted or intrigued by, and many of those books were still there at the end, as the person responsible hadn’t stipulated sale or return. I note Foyles aren’t doing the bookshop next year… Surely technology can come up with some way of customising an ebook in the author’s presence? There was no incentive to buy the ebooks right then and there, and live events need that facility.
|Me and Yrsa at the murder beach from her thriller My Soul To Take|
|Biggest thrill - snowmobiling on the glacier!|
Just to add, I heartily recommend Iceland in the winter (I didn’t see the Northern Lights due to weather conditions, but didn’t even care, so you can see how much fun it was); the warm, stylishly eccentric, efficient, clean, brilliantly sited Hotel Icelandair Marina;
|View from my fourth floor room at Hotel Marina - I had one brief glimpse of it in daylight!|
Mountaineers of Iceland for their superjeep tours and snowmobiling trips which are packed with thrills and info;
|Going off-road to the glacier to snowmobile was a thrill too in this bad boy!|
Icelandic Fish and Chips restaurant near the hotel;
|Dead fish lighting, very Icelandic!|
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