Latest Newsletter

May 26th, 2017
Featured reader – Tracy Edley
This month’s featured reader is Tracy Edley from Dronfield in North East Derbyshire – thanks so much for submitting your thoughts on The Back Road. I have chosen The Back Road as it is the first book I read of Rachel Abbott’s and it’s still one of my favourites. It was my introduction to the very gorgeous DCI Tom Douglas. He’s such a fabulous character. It really kept me guessing right to the very end with its many twists and turns. I kept thinking I knew where this book was going then suddenly it went off in a totally different direction! Rachel is such a clever writer, and the end is always such a complete shock!
May 29th, 2017
Interesting Links
Unpublished letters reveal from Sylvia Plath alleged Ted Hughes beat her two days before she miscarried their second child and that Hughes wanted her dead. The two accusations are among explosive claims in unseen correspondence written in the bitter aftermath of one of literature’s most famous and destructive marriages. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/apr/11/unseen-sylvia-plath-letters-claim-domestic-abuse-by-ted-hughes Lena Dunham on ‘Girls’, gender politics and growing up One of the world’s most famous — and outspoken — millennials talks about Trump’s America and life beyond the show that made her famous https://www.ft.com/content/aeef5ada-1eb6-11e7-b7d3-163f5a7f229c It’s that time of year again – time to plan a much-needed holiday – but why not try a holiday with literary benefits? http://www.cntraveller.com/recommended/itineraries/the-best-learning-holidays/page/writing-holidays
June 14th, 2017
In conversation with author Clare Mackintosh
This month I’m in conversation with Clare Mackintosh, author of I Let You Go and I See You, who I recently bumped into at The Crime Fair in Denmark and we agreed to have a chat about our publishing journeys. It was great to see you in Denmark, Clare. Was it a good event for you? It was my second time there, and it was really amazing. I’m still fairly new at this with only two books to my name and last time I was there only about two people – my editor and somebody sitting down because they had a bad back – were interested in listening to me speak! Coming back this year after I Let You Go, suddenly I had queues and a massive audience because the book did so well there. It’s a reminder of how much has happened in such a short time. I remember ...
June 14th, 2017
99p Special Offer on Only the Innocent
Only the Innocent was my first novel, introducing DCI Tom Douglas, and has now sold over 600,000 copies worldwide, with over 2,200 reviews and an average rating of 4.3. It was top of the Amazon bestseller list for four weeks. What set of circumstances could be SO BAD that a woman has no choice but to murder a man? Find out now. Read Only the Innocent for just 99p So what’s it all about? A man is dead. The killer is a woman. But what secrets lie beneath the surface – so dark that a man has to die? Women are rarely cold blooded killers. But when famous philanthropist Hugo Fletcher is found dead, there is no doubt in anybody’s mind that the killer is a woman. And it is clear from the precision of the planning that this was no crime of passion. It was an execution. The victim was revered the world over ...
June 15th, 2017
Take time out to reflect on your writing
What a month it has been, and so exciting! I finished the first draft of a new book, and I enjoyed writing it so much it was hard to let it go. I’m now just waiting to get feedback which is bound to be full of heart-sinking moments when I realise that a paragraph that I thought was brilliant isn’t at all, and it needs to be rewritten. It’s all part of the process, though, and I wouldn’t change it. I learned a couple of new lessons with this book – ones that I’ve been subconsciously aware of, but have failed to really take note of in the past. I know that all writers have their own way of doing things so my quirks won’t apply to everybody, but maybe if you’re a writer too, they will give you pause for thought. And that’s the key. Pause for thought. When ...
June 18th, 2017
Pen the perfect postcard and post it to Rachel Abbott
I’ve been on a lot of book tours this year in all kinds of weather! But now it’s Summer and while I was at the Guernsey Literary Festival I found myself writing a postcard to a friend. It’s not something I’ve done for years and I was reminded how pleasing it is to jot down a couple of paragraphs, sticking to the point and recording a moment or two in time. So, what could be better than dashing off a fictional postcard? In keeping with our dark theme, you’ll need to tell someone why you won’t be coming home! It’s all part of my desire to get you writing. If you’ve never written before it can be scary but so many of you jumped aboard the First Line competition in April that I believe reading your Perfect Postcards will be just that – perfect! I’m looking forward to reading them ...

Recent Posts

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A Writer Reads

I have read some wonderful books recently, but there are three which stand out for me. The Unseeing – Anna Mazzola I don’t often read historical fiction for no other reason than I usually have so many thrillers to read, but I recently met Anna Mazzola at The Alderney Literary Festival, and couldn’t resist picking up a copy of her book. What I love about this book is the sense of time and place. It’s set in the mid nineteenth century, and somehow the author manages to evoke a sense of how it was to live in London back then – the sights, smells and sounds. And it’s the story of a murder – a particularly gruesome one – so right up my street after all! Click here to learn more. Friend Request – Laura Marshall I was lucky enough to receive a pre-release copy of this book, and it’s everything

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A Writer Writes

In so many ways, being a writer gives me a sense of freedom. I can work when I want to, can write about whatever appeals to me (and, hopefully, my readers) and take a break whenever it suits me. That sounds so perfect, doesn’t it? The reality is a little different. Writing provides the income that I live on, so if I don’t write how do we eat? I don’t get holiday pay or sick pay, and if I’m not at my desk the emails and the wonderful feedback from readers will just stack up. This month, I had two major distractions. I had a cold – which was hardly life-threatening, but as we all know can make anything other than sitting in front of the fire with a hot drink seem too much like hard work – and we were in the process of buying a new home. The

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Dying to Write

Every month I look forward to the replies for my Dying to Write competition! From your feedback, I’m delighted to report that hundreds of you are putting pen to paper or rather fingers to keyboards to take part and I’d just like to say well done to all of you for having a go. The most difficult book starts with the first word so please don’t give up if you have any desire to get going down the publishing road. Every book starts with the first word and this month’s Opening Lines competition has been a real eye opener – there are some wonderfully dark minds out there and plenty of you who should be shut away… but only to finish the book that would flow from your killer opening lines! As always it was difficult to choose an outright winner so I have settled on a winner and a

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May Events

This month I’m on the road again! First stop is Guernsey Literary Festival on May 11th. I’m going to share a few tricks of the self-publishing trade so hope to see a lot of you there. I’m at the Festival hub at 4pm. It’s a great line-up this year which includes Clare Balding, Sebastian Faulks, Clare Mackintosh and Tom Holland to name just a few. Book your tickets here: http://www.guernseyliteraryfestival.com/index.php/festival-2017/rachel-abbot Then I’m off to New Writing North on May 20th to talk about the highs and lows of self-publishing and the truth is that it is almost exclusively highs with occasional bouts of annoyance that there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the things I need to do. I really hope to get a chance to talk to readers, so come along and say hello. Ticket information can be found here: http://newwritingnorth.com/

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Interview with Alex Marwood

This month I put some questions to Alex Marwood, author of The Darkest Secret and I’m delighted with the answers. Read on for a wealth of fool-proof advice and wisdom on writing and life! What is the first book you remember as a child? I think The House of Arden, by E Nesbit, though I will have been too young to read it myself. I was the youngest in an academic family, and frustrated by not being able to read, so I taught myself when I was two, though I would still have been at Peter Rabbit level, readingwise, when I consumed this with my siblings. It’s a wonderful book, obviously, because Nesbit was a wonderful writer: my first time-travel saga, and great at bringing history alive. My favourite bit was when the children involved end up somewhere on 4th November and ask when the fireworks are, then recite the

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Special Offers

Wondering what to read over Easter? If you haven’t already read it, my third novel – Sleep Tight – is currently on special offer with Amazon for jut 99p. That’s a whopping 70% off Find out more here. And to get a taste of what’s to come, check out the video trailer.  

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Interview with Sunday Times bestseller Daniel Cole

I am thrilled to be able to interview Daniel Cole – author of the amazing debut novel RAGDOLL for my newsletter and blog. I absolutely LOVED this book and raved about it in an earlier post. Daniel and I are going to be speaking at a number of locations in the North West of England later this month, so check out the EVENTS post for more details. What is the most important element of fiction to you, as a reader – plot, character, location? It’s all about characters whichever medium you’re working in. Not a very high-brow example but quite relevant to me as writer/director Joss Whedon is one of my heroes: The second Avengers movie was enormous. It probably cost a gazillion dollars to make. An evil robot tries to blow up the world by dropping an eastern-European city on it from a great height… and yet, the best part of that

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Forthcoming events – April 2017

This month I’m going to be out and about, and it would be great to meet up with some of my readers. I’m off to Denmark first to speak at Krimimessen in Horsens on April 1 but I don’t suppose I will catch up with many of you there. http://krimimessen.dk/ And later in the month I will be travelling to the North West of England, visiting Oldham, Bolton, Warrington, Denton and Wallasey. Do let me know if you’re likely to attend any of them so that I can say hello.   Moving on a month, I will be speaking at the Guernsey Festival on 11th May http://www.guernseyliteraryfestival.com/ and at New Writing North on 20th http://newwritingnorth.com/   Later in the year, I’m looking forward to being a judge for the Kindle Storyteller Award, a new literary prize recognising newly published work in the English language across any genre. The prize is

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The new novel is underway!

I am so happy to have started work on my next novel! As a writer, it’s such an exciting time as the characters and story begin to take shape in my imagination. Not all writers work in the same way, of course, but for me character definition is a critical part of the writing process. As soon as the overall plot is clear in my mind I begin defining the detail of each of the individuals that the reader will meet along the way. I already have a clear idea in my head of what each of them will look like, but I also like to find a photograph of somebody that is close in looks to my idea. That way I can refer back to it whenever I need a visual reminder. I search Google with a broad description and sometimes find an actor that fits the bill, or

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Dying to write – the opening line challenge

This month I’ve picked out some great opening lines from psychological crime thrillers. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to come up with one sentence that could start off a book that cannot be put down. My latest book The Sixth Window starts like this: “It had been a night like so many others over the past few weeks, and as the woman looked down on the narrow street below her second-floor window she finally admitted that she couldn’t take any more.” So get your thinking caps on – you need ONE sentence that will hook the reader who’s desperate to walk down the dark path, the one who will go into the basement with a faulty torch when they hear something scratching to get in… The bedroom is strange. Unfamiliar. SJ Watson, Before I go to Sleep An hour before her shift started, an hour before