Friday, June 5, 2020

SOUTHERN CROSS CRIME and thoughts on COVID lockdown

SOUTHERN CROSS CRIME by Craig Sisterson (Oldcastle Books, 2020)

We are living in strange times, with many countries around the world battling a global pandemic, and lots of uncertainty. The books world has found itself in a strange place as the citizens of many nations have been in lockdown, quarantine, or 'sheltering in place', effectively asked to stay at home to stop the spread of the virus. Streaming services and e-book and audio downloads have provided a welcome relief, and plenty of entertainment for millions of people. At the same time creators are struggling. Bookshops have been closed, planned book releases delayed, events cancelled.

At the very time many people are consuming even more arts and entertainment than usual, from their home if not out and about in their cities, the artists and creators are losing their jobs, having their projects cancelled or delayed, and having many of their income streams wither away to nothing.

People need information, yet media companies are culling journalists and other staff. People are devouring books and other entertainment, yet creators are at risk.

I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately, and almost forgetting I've personally been caught up in it too. Some of the publications I write for have closed or cut back. My own first book, a bit of a labour of love and a culmination of more than a decade as a professional critic, interviewer, and awards judge, has actually been released during the COVID-19 crisis - though the print version has been delayed due to the lockdowns (it was at the printers as the UK went into lockdown).

I often forget that my first-ever book is out there in the world, in e-book and audio download. It doesn't feel very real, with no official book launch, no London celebration, and the many books festivals I was to attend over Spring to Autumn all cancelled. All the tangible things stripped away.

But my book is out there, I have to remind myself now and then. A celebration - I hope - of the growing stature of Australian and New Zealand crime writing on the global stage. The farthest edge of the former British Empire has been contributing to teh world of detective fiction since its earliest days, had one of the Queens of Crime, but has really taken flight in recent years (in terms of global notice). It's great to see so many terrific Aussie and Kiwi writers building overseas readerships.

My book, SOUTHERN CROSS CRIME, is a readers' guide to the modern era of Australian and New Zealand crime fiction, film, and television. It includes more than 300 novelists, TV dramas, and films. It sits alongside the likes of British Noir, Nordic Noir, Historical Noir, and American Noir guides by Barry Forshaw - offering an overview of a slice of the global crime writing pie.

While the paperback copies won't be out there until late September, the e-book and audiobook has been getting some lovely feedback, which I do appreciate. Here's a few things said:

  • "Southern Cross Crime is a valuable and illuminative resource for crime fiction fans everywhere." - Book'd Out
  • "This is an essential purchase for crime fiction readers ... an authoritative guide to what to read ... I now have a list that will keep me busy for many years." - Mysteries in Paradise
  • "This is a great reference to have at your side when you're hunting out a different spin on crime - the books reviewed here are none of your ordinary tales. The Australia and New Zealand settings give a frisson of difference with sensibilities and attitudes that twist your expectations even while lulling you into thinking they are more of the familiar." - David Ivory

I've had several people ask on social media whether the book is out or not. To clarify, while the paperback has now been delayed to late September, the e-book & audio download are available now from KoboKindle (UK)Kindle (Australia), Apple Books, and other outlets. 

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or ask away on social media. 

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