The Final Frontier

The Final Frontier

BY any stretch of the imagination it’s a big week for me!

Tomorrow in my home city of Stirling I will complete my short four week WHSmith signing tour of Central Scotland on the build up to the final of The People’s Book Prize, which is held on Tuesday, May 23, at the Stationers’ Hall in London, with the voting for the final closing on Sunday, May 21.

‘Write’ now I need to say a huge thanks to my friends at WHSmith and especially their Central Scotland stores co-ordinator Garry Torrance who has been instrumental in giving me the platform to meet people all over Scotland, the North Of England and London and with it the chance to get folk voting for my novel ‘The Shift’ which has made the fiction final of The People’s Book Prize.

Without the support of WHSmith and the opportunity they gave me I doubt very much I would have made the final.

But you never know what you will get from a book signing!

Last week in Paisley as the rain poured biblically down outside, a lady who claimed to be on a mission from the lord professed to save me after a protracted talk about Christian’ theology’….and quite an experience it was too!

Pictured below WHSmith GM Dee makes sure I know who is the boss!Paisley Punch


Earlier this year in Durham I was chastised by a silver haired lady in Durham. Meeting her snooty dismissal of all things crime fiction with an entirely innocent enquiry asking if she preferred ‘Mills & Boon’ I was blasted as a ‘misogynist’ and advised loftily that she was a double first from Cambridge!

While in Hamilton three days before Christmas after wishing a middle aged man a Happy Christmas, I was hit for six by a tirade in which the guy advised me his wife had just died and I was a sarcastic pig….or something like that!!

My crystal ball never seems to be working when I need it!

Anyway enough of all that! It’s now all about Tuesday night for me and I must admit I’m looking forward to making my first final.

As such I have a wee competition question for you!

The first person to provide the correct identity of the tartan trews I will be wearing on my big night out hobnobbing with Freddie & Co will receive a signed copy of ‘The Shift’ in the first class post….so answers on a postcard please!

But I will finish with one last ask!

Voting for the final closes at 5pm on Sunday May 21 so if you haven’t yet then please click and vote RJ Mitchell…you never know it might even put a smile on my face!!!

Vote RJ Mitchell



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Back On The Road Again


AFTER a short break it’s time for me to get back on the road again as I build up to the final of The People’s Book Prize on May 23, in which my latest novel ‘The Shift’ has made the final of the fiction category, at The Stationer’s Hall in London.

Over the next four Saturday’s my friends at WHSmith Scotland have kindly set me up with signings at East Kilbride tomorrow, Sauchiehall Street Glasgow on May 6, Paisley on May 13 and my hometown store in Stirling on May 20.

The name of the game for this whistle-stop tour is all about getting people who buy my books to vote for me when voting opens via The People’s Book Prize website on May 15.

But one things for sure if things go as well as my North of England tour in February & March I will be really pleased.

But while there was a short hiatus between tours I have been very busy starting on a new Second World War project!

As anyone who has read my previous blogs will know I have now signed with The Susan Mears Literary Agency and Susan has been pitching my two unpublished manuscripts ‘The Blood Acre’ and ‘Heist’ at The London International Book Fair and on a visit to New York where she met with some leading American Publishers.

Subsequently I’m delighted to say that 12 ‘blue chip’ publishers then requested excerpts from these works and now it is all about the waiting game….but of course there are no guarantees!

While all of this was going on I had the ‘idea’ for the WW2 novel which Susan liked and we have now had further interest in this work, which meant a frantic 10 day period where I completed four chapters totalling just under 10,000 words for perusal.

This also meant dropping the follow up to ‘Heist’ which is entitled ‘Fear’ at the 40,000 word stage….confused….how do you think I feel!!

But the new work has posed real problems of research.

Dates have to be checked and because real people flit in and out of the MS I need to have a collar on where they were and when they were there in 1945….and that can be problematic.

Also for the first time I am writing about places and an era I have no experience of…so to say this is different is the understatement of the decade.

While the internet is a big help in terms of research there is no substitute for good reference work and I have been sifting through tomes by Anthony Beevoir and Max Hastings.

The early stages of the novel are set in Berlin, or what was left of it, and it has been fascinating trying to build up a picture of the German capital at the point of its destruction!

But suffice to say that my usual 1000 word daily output is now taking three to four hours instead of Jpegtwo!

Anyway if you have a free time and like your crime thrillers full of betrayal, heartbreak, revenge and bullets you know where you will find me over the next four Saturdays between 11am and 3pm!





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