Ann Cleeves literary guides: Northumberland – ANN CLEEVES,
Vera, Joe and Jimmy Perez talk crime on the new booktrail website
To help launch the new travel feel to the whole event – we met up with the lovely Ann Cleeves of Vera and Shetland fame. Now this is an author who lives and breathes the North East, and those far and distant Shetland Islands. Both are beautifully evoked and become major characters in her crime fiction. This lady knows about cracking crime locations, evoking a sense of culture and community.. and for bringing that unlikely crime fighter with the green mac..
It’s a nice place we’ve come to chat – a quiet cafe in Vera country no less – and full of literary characters. Jimmy Perez has popped down from Shetland and is sitting opposite us in this Drift cafe near Cresswell where we are supping tea and eating cake – giving us that steely glare that only he can. He wants us to talk about him first apparently. Vera is outside talking animatedly to Joe Ashworth . She’ll be along in a minute… )
Your love of Shetland is well known and now you’ve produced a photographic homage to the islands. Why was this project important to you?
The Shetland book celebrates my 40 years of visiting the islands – I first went there in 1975 to work as a cook in the bird observatory in Fair Isle, the UK’s most remote inhabited island. It was a way to capture some of my favourite places and to share my love of the islands with other people. I hope it’ll persuade more people to visit. A lot of the pictures were taken by a local photographer.
Location is important in both your Vera and Shetland novels What does Shetland offer in particular?
The bare and open landscape provides a wonderful contrast to secrets hidden. Shetland is an interesting and vibrant community, which believes in the old traditions but looks forward too. Now the oil industry’s contracting it’ll be fascinating to see how the islands change.
For the rest of the chat – please pop over for a cuppa and a cake on the new booktrail site
We’re dying to welcome you there, we’ve had a spruce up especially!