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#CosyCrimeClub with Rachel Ward

At the beginning of lockdown in March this year, like many other writers I was faced with the prospect of launching a new book in very unusual circumstances. With the third book in my Ant and Bea Mysteries series, Expiry Date, due out in June, I couldn’t have a launch in a bookshop or visit shops or libraries in person to talk about the book. My marketing guru, at Sandstone Press, Ceris Jones, suggested trying to reach out to readers, booksellers and bloggers on Twitter since that was the corner of social media where I’m happiest and have the most followers. We decided that I’d try hosting a friendly chat about cosy crime books once a fortnight and, in a fairly random way, I chose Tuesday mornings at 11.00am.

It was very straightforward to set things rolling. I tweeted about the idea and the date beforehand and encouraged anyone interested to join in using the hashtag #cosycrimeclub. It took off straight away and has quickly become one of my highlights in this wretched year. We talk about books we’ve enjoyed, ‘go to’ authors, favourite series and all sort of other things besides. We cover all aspects of crime and sometimes other genres too. From the beginning, I’ve tried to foster a friendly, comfortable atmosphere and encourage those joining in to make a cuppa and maybe treat themselves to a slice of cake or a biscuit. I sometimes bake a cake or maybe some crumbly banana squares for Tuesday mornings, a development which has been appreciated by the others in my bubble!

It takes a bit of time and thought to keep things ticking along. Each fortnight, I make notes about what I’ve been reading, and prepare a set of questions to lob into the chat. We ‘talk’ for between 45 minutes and an hour. From time to time we have special guests – so far we’ve welcomed Vaseem Khan and Bella Ellis/Rowan Coleman, and we’re looking forward to chatting with Julia Chapman on Tuesday 20th October. I was also thrilled to celebrate the launch of Expiry Date with #cosycrimeclub in June – it was lovely to mark the occasion with friends.

I thought that, as lockdown eased, enthusiasm for #cosycrimeclub might wane, but in fact it seems to be going from strength to strength and we have people joining in from all over the place – the USA and Denmark as well as many interesting corners of the UK. Whatever else is going on, I think people appreciate a time and place to talk about books in a friendly atmosphere, and when many of us are isolated to one degree or another, it’s a welcome way to connect. So, I’ll keep opening the doors to #cosycrimeclub once a fortnight. Maybe see you there?

Rachel Ward

@RachelWardbooks

Rachel Ward

Rachel Ward