I lived in Shetland for a short while in the seventies and have been visiting ever since, so I have lots of useful contacts!
Shetland's influences are far more Scandinavian than Celtic.
Television is much more collaborative in many ways than prose.
You must never call it the Shetlands. Islanders are proud and can be prickly about the name: it's either Shetland or the Shetland Islands.
A writer loses possession of her work as soon as it's reaches its audience. Each reader brings his own experience and prejudice and imagination to the work. Television adaptation just goes one step further, and the novelist has to learn to let go.
I especially don't like the graphic violence against women and children often depicted in novels such as 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' and others. I'm not sure if it's being done just to entertain or whether it really is necessary for the characters involved.
I write traditional drama, and the small enclosed communities work well with this form. I enjoy exploring secrets. On small islands, privacy is important, and there are secrets that everyone can guess but nobody talks about.
I'm aware families sit around the telly to watch 'Vera', which is making entertainment out of murder. But I don't enjoy reading about people's pain. I tend to put myself in that position, and it's not somewhere I want to be.
My work is less violent because we tend to write what we want to read... and I'm not that interested in gruesome books. Any violence, to fit in well with a crime novel, has to have compassion.
Shetland has always been a place of sanctuary for me. I visited when I dropped out of university, and I just loved it from the minute I got there. It's a bleak but very beautiful place.
Shetland is the most remote place in the U.K. It's a part our country, but completely unique. It might be British, but it's closer to Norway than to Edinburgh, and it feels very different from the mainland.
'Shetland' is adapted from the novel 'Red Bones.' The book is based around an archaeological dig, and the mystery starts with the murder of the elderly woman who crofts the land where the dig is happening.
The best place for puffin watching is Sumburgh Head, at the south end of the Shetland mainland. There used to be a lighthouse there, but it's now a visitor centre and gallery; they run a webcam, so you can check on the puffins in advance.
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