There's nothing quite like a local market when you're a newly published fiction writer. All those years of sitting on the press benches in my days as a reporter paid off for me last month when I launched my second crime novel, Glacier Murder, in Hokitika on New Zealand's West Coast.. It wasn't about the stories I told back then but the people I met along the way ... Hokitika did me proud with 50 people turning out on a wet autumn night to listen to me telling stories again - this time they were pure fiction! My novels belong on the Coast and I had a real sense that they belong to the people there as well. Next day my launch made it to the front page of the Hokitika Guardian but the paper just got better the more I read. There was my old neighbour and friend telling someone they might like to go and live in Hell, a small Norwegian town, if they really couldn't stand the noise of his microlight. This gem was on the letters page. And then, in the court news, there was the account of a punch up at the Franz funeral which left a bystander unconscious. The miscreant was represented by a guy we'd had dinner with the night before the launch (best night out in ages it was!) who said the assailant was truly sorry. Then just last week the Greymouth Star gave Glacier Murder a generous review - and put it on the same page as a review of the wonderful Kate Atkinson's new novel Life after Life. What's more my review was the lead one - Kate's was smaller. I'm under no illusion about who is the better writer here - Kate of course! But only on the Coast could a rookie crime writer hope to secure the best spot on the reviews page when they are up against someone of the calibre of Kate Atkinson. Local support is generous, quirky and totally biased in favour of local people. Long may these newspapers go on.