As announced today on BBC radio, The Dog Sitter Detective has won this year’s Barker Book Award!
I’m still reeling, to be honest. Reviews and praise for Gwinny’s adventures have been very positive, but an award win was totally unexpected. Enormous thanks to the dedicated and enthusiastic staff at publisher Allison & Busby, to my agent Sarah Such, and of course to the Barker Book judges (including head judge, actor and dog lover Peter Egan). What a thrill!
The Dog Sitter Detective is available in hardback, ebook, and audiobook (narrated by the formidable Nicolette McKenzie, who I’m pleased to report many audio readers are praising as much as the book itself). A paperback edition will be published in January.
Do you run a book club or reading group? You can now download a PDF of discussion materials for The Dog Sitter Detective via the official website at https://dogsitterdetective.com/index.html#book1groups
Likewise, I love doing events at bookshops and libraries. If you’d like to book me, contact the publisher. Click through for pics from a recent reading + Q&A:
A surprising number of people have asked if The Dog Sitter Detective is suitable for children. The book wasn’t written for children, of course, but it’s a reasonable question. Heaven knows I read plenty of adult fiction when I was young. Unfortunately it’s impossible for me to answer, because only you can judge what’s suitable for your child. What I can do is tell you what’s in the book so you can make an informed decision. To that end, I created this handy graphic:
As for future dog sitting escapades… stay tuned, and keep an eye on https://dogsitterdetective.com 😉
Enjoy the Silence
I hinted at this a few times from late 2021 through early this year, but was NDA’d to the hilt and unable to say anything definitive. Now, though, the news is public:
For 16 months (!) I was a narrative consultant on SILENT HILL ASCENSION, the upcoming interactive web series, working with Bad Robot and Genvid.
I also co-wrote the script for this launch trailer, with head writer Shanon Ingles:
I’ve been a Silent Hill fan since the original game, so you can imagine my excitement when I was invited to work on this project. Combined with the chance to work with Bad Robot, it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down – even though it meant more than a year of time-shifting my working hours to be in sync with Los Angeles!
What does “narrative consultant” mean? Well, that differs from one job to the next. In this case I worked with the writers’ room to break an engaging, complex story; develop deep, memorable characters; and give notes on their scripts. I’m thrilled to have been able to help guide them along the way.
Here’s the bit that really blows 🤯 my 🤯 mind 🤯: to the best of my knowledge I am now the only writer – very probably the only person in the world – to have worked on all ‘big three’ horror gaming franchises of Dead Space, Resident Evil, and Silent Hill. Not bad.
Meanwhile, my current game writing project is ALTERED ALMA, an action-filled cyberpunk Metroidvania with a deep story and romancing mechanics (!) being developed by 2 Awesome and published by Critical Reflex.
I’m working with the excellent Emma Beeby (like me, a writer who works in both comics and games) and we’re having a lot of fun. It also makes a nice change to be able to talk about it for once, unlike so many of my game gigs 😅
Emma and I have done a huge amount of worldbuilding, narrative design, and character development already, and are currently building the romance system. We’re working hard to make the whole experience as fun, diverse, and inclusive as possible for players.
OK, back to The Dog Sitter Detective, but I’ve shunted this section to the end because it’s really just a massive link dump. Hopefully you’ll find something you’re interested in.
If this was a magazine it would be the kind of run-on multi-page sidebar filled with lengthy URLs that, when I was an art director, used to make me very angry with our feature writers 😅
Culturefly, talking about the effort to represent older women in fiction: https://culturefly.co.uk/antony-johnston-invisible-underdogs/
Shots Mag, with a list of my “Magnificent Seven Female Detectives”: http://shotsmag.co.uk/feature_view.aspx?FEATURE_ID=531
Crime Time, on my unexpected pivot to cosy murder mysteries and their enduring appeal: https://www.crimetime.co.uk/getting-cosy-antony-johnston-talks-to-crime-time/
Writing Magazine online, on why I encourage all writers to work in different media if they can: https://www.writers-online.co.uk/how-to-write/the-benefits-of-mixed-media-for-your-writing/
Bookfrolic, for their regular feature “The Cozy 52”: https://www.bookfrolic.com/author-interviews/the-cozy-52-qa-with-author-antony-johnston/
Bookshop.org, a piece about five books that inspired The Dog Sitter Detective. At least one of them will surprise crime readers 😉 https://uk.bookshop.org/lists/books-that-inspired-the-dog-sitter-detective-by-antony-johnston
Gareth Powell’s “Writer Wednesday” feature at his Substack:
Likewise, Cav Scott’s “Perfect Sunday” feature:
My first-ever appearance at a crime writing festival was at Newcastle Noir, run by “Dr Noir” aka Dr Jacky Collins, so it was lovely to chat with her again:
The Murder Most English podcast, which normally covers TV but made an exception for Gwinny: https://www.murdermostenglish.com/episode-301-the-tower-and-the-dog-sitter-detective-with-antony-johnston/
The Bestseller Experiment, talking Dog Sitter Detective but also The Organised Writer, Frightening Curves, and much more about my whole career: https://bestsellerexperiment.com/ep462-antony-johnston-right-place-right-time/
The Luke Deckard Show, in a talk that ranges from Dog Sitter Detective to Resident Evil Village, making Atomic Blonde, and more:
Even Suns Flicker and Die
Right now, authors are all scrambling to figure out which social media platform will eventually ‘win’ the ongoing battle for supremacy. For the moment you can find me on just about all of them.
Search for my username @antonyjohnston, or check the Contact & Follow page of my site for links to the most popular networks: https://antonyjohnston.com/contact/