Latest Newsletter

March 28th, 2017
A Writer Reads
I have read some wonderful books recently, but there are three which stand out for me. Dead Woman Walking – I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of this excellent novel by Sharon Bolton, and as many of you know she is one of my favourite authors. It begins with a dramatic hot-air balloon ride and a view from above of a killer. With a twist that I genuinely didn’t see coming, the tension never drops until the last page. Although not published yet, Dead Woman Walking is available for pre-order. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Woman-Walking-Sharon-Bolton-ebook/dp/B01KL65GTM/         Wrong Place – Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Michelle Davies’ first novel, Gone Astray, I was keen to read the next story in the DC Maggie Neville series. Neville is a Family Liaison Officer, and this gives a unique spin to a police procedural. Wrong Place is the story of a woman ...
March 30th, 2017
Interesting links
Here are a few interesting links that I thought you might enjoy. Is it way past time you finished that novel you’ve been carrying around in your head? Try this article for inspiration! https://www.theguardian.com/books/ng-interactive/2017/mar/20/how-to-finish-a-novel-tracking-book-progress-wyl-menmuir Peter Swanson, author of The Kind Worth Killing describes his perfect reader perfectly! ‘They have no gender or age, but they are in for the night, and looking to get lost in, and maybe a little scared by, a book.’ Sounds good to me! https://www.ft.com/content/e9c39ac4-f529-11e6-95ee-f14e55513608 An interesting and timely read? I think so: Margaret Atwood on what The Handmaid’s Tale means in the Age of Trump http://nyti.ms/2mo9wkr If you have any interesting links you would like to share, just let me know!
March 30th, 2017
Featured Reader – Beth Moist
Thank you all so much for responding to my request for featured readers – now I have a library of you! I’m going to start off with Beth Moist from Phenix City, Alabama, USA who has some very interesting memories to share. My love for psychological thrillers comes from my childhood. My father was a police officer and he used to ride me around in his patrol car and he would take me in the back of the jail with him. It was so exciting. My father also used to take me on his adventures into ancient Native American burial grounds where we would search for old pottery, arrow or spear heads. The mystery of looking and what I might find was a great thrill for me. My big brother Tom and I would often play and explore in the woods, looking for a secret cave or hide out, pretending ...
March 30th, 2017
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 ...
March 30th, 2017
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 ...
March 30th, 2017
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 ...

Recent Posts

dying-to-write

Dying to Write – paragraph 3

If you read last month’s newsletter, you will know that we are running a writing competition – and it’s a bit like a game of consequences! I wrote the opening paragraph of a story, and asked you lovely readers to put flesh on its bones. This month’s winner is Karen Turner who has taken our character down a very dark path – congratulations Karen – your signed book is on its way. Here’s the story so far: Opening paragraph Friday the 13th was the day that my world fell apart. I hadn’t been expecting it. I was happily splashing a lovely stone coloured emulsion onto the rough plastered walls of my tiny cottage, singing along to an old Take That tune on the radio, thinking how lucky I was to have found this wonderful home in the middle of nowhere, when the old bell hanging in the tiny front porch

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News and Events – October 2016

First of all, apologies that the Good Housekeeping Masterclass was cancelled – it will be rearranged for 2017 and I will let you all know as soon as I have the date confirmed. Bristol Festival of Literature – How I became a Bestseller In conversation with SilverWood Books – who produce and distribute my paperback editions – I talk about my route to self-publishing success, and how 2015 psychological thriller Stranger Child became the UK’s bestselling self-published ebook. When: 6-7pm, October 29th Where: Riverside Room at Bristol Mercure Hotel, Welsh Back, BS1 4SP. Ticketed via Bristol Festival of Literature. Please click here to view and book. Chorlton Manchester’s most literary suburb? Yes please! I can’t wait to go to this event – it takes place near my hometown on November 18th-26th and as an author event there will be lots of Q&As on books, writing careers, self-publishing – anything you desire in

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A Writer Reads – October 2016

Take one dead cat and add a few dark secrets involving an ancient Indian burial ground and the result is terrifying. Note that Stephen King is the author and you’ll soon wish you’d stayed in the safety of the basement! I love this book as I love all of Stephen King’s books because he can place a perfect American family in an idyllic setting, in this case the Creeds who move to a house in the woods in Maine, and just let us watch them unravel! This is definitely one to savour over Halloween, a season dedicated to the (hopefully) faithfully departed. Just make sure the cat pretending to purr beside you on the sofa has your best interests at heart as you lurch towards the final chapters.       Do not be fooled by the gentle tone of this book, it lures the reader in like a spider

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A Writer Writes – October 2016

The Highs and Lows of Being a Writer This month has seen the completion of the first draft of my new novel, and it’s an exciting – but nerve-wracking – time. Now I have to wait for feedback from my agent and editor. Do they like the story? Do they like the characters? Is the pace consistent? Do I give away too much too soon? Do we feel that the narrator is intentionally withholding information from the reader? Before I started writing, I had no idea what an editor does. I thought that they read a book and made some corrections, perhaps rewrite paragraphs that are badly written. I was so very wrong. They read it, of course, with great attention to detail. Then they add comments: ‘this bit is too slow’ or ‘this character sounds wooden’ or ‘this exposition it too complicated’. And then the rewrites begin, until the

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Interesting Links – October 2016

Meet the author of the Worst Witch series of children’s books, Jill Murphy. She sensibly advocates the need to read to children rather than just turning them loose with an iPad. Click here to read more. Shirley Jackson – featured as one my spooky reads this month – comes under the spotlight in this review of her biography by Ruth Franklin. This is a writer who deserves much more attention than she got in her lifetime, both from a literary and personal perspective. Click here to learn more. Two powerful and simple antidotes to the vices of our digital media culture: read old books and have good friends. Click here to learn more. Feast of horror! Thirty reads from An American Psycho to Dracula via The Exorcist and on until The Silence of the Lambs – delicious! Click here for more about these scary reads.

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Featured Spooktail

This month, I thought I would give you a featured cocktail instead of a featured reader, although any of you keen to appear next month holding up any one of my books with a few words on why you enjoyed it can write to me at newsletter@rachel-abbott.com – the chosen reader will get a signed copy. Now on to more liquid delights… ‘Tis the season to drink in the ghoulish! Enjoy this grisly cocktail – just the thing for Hallowe’en. There are hundreds of devilish cocktails out there, a Bloody Mary, Death in the Afternoon (yes, it does contain both Absinthe and Champagne!) or even a Zombie? But this one is a winner in the sinner stakes – but please remember to imbibe responsibly! Satan’s Whiskers Ingredients Cracked ice 1 ounce gin 1 ounce dry vermouth 1 ounce sweet vermouth 1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice 4 teaspoons orange curaçao or Grand Marnier

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Killer Women: Rachel Abbott & Louise Voss

In this article Rachel Abbott and Louise Voss talk about the pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing. Voss is what’s known as a ‘hybrid author’, with a publisher for some of her books whilst others are self-published. All of Abbott’s novels are self-published in the UK. In 2015 she was named as the No.1 self-published author on Amazon Kindle UK and the fourteenth best-selling author overall. Louise Voss: Hi Rachel! Many writers these days are asking themselves whether they should self-publish or try to get a traditional deal. So, let’s kick off with why you chose to self-publish. Rachel Abbott: Some people believe that writers only self-publish because they can’t get a publishing deal. But that’s not always true. I self-publish out of choice. I like being my own boss and making the decisions, and for now I am prepared to put in the extremely long hours I

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How To Get Away With Murder

This article was originally published at NovelKicks. In the very first of my novels, Only the Innocent, I wanted a man to be murdered and I wanted his killer to get away with it. I didn’t mind that people might guess who the killer was – the book wasn’t really about that. It was about why he had to die. The most important part for me, though, was creating an unbreakable alibi for his murderer, and that took some thinking about. If you want to be credible, it takes a lot of research – checking out train timetables, flight routes, maybe even tide tables. You might also want to check details like the time of sunset according to the month and location of your murder, if that’s relevant. Every detail has to be considered, or readers will see straight through it. So, alibi is top of my list of techniques

dying-to-write

Dying to Write

In my monthly newsletter we are running a writing competition – and it’s a bit like a game of consequences. I wrote the first paragraph of the story, and then asked newsletter readers (or blog readers!) to submit the next paragraph. I am so pleased that so many of you took the time to turn in your rogue paragraph! I am also delighted that so many of them were so good. It has been difficult to choose just one for you all to carry on with but the writer at the front of the field on this occasion is Ryan Kaminski. Close runners up were Karen Turner and Jess Perry. We’re now waiting for your inspiration for the next part of the story – so do send us your idea of how the story might continue, but please only use Ryan’s entry to take your story forward! Good luck! I’m

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News and Events

Jersey Festival of Words: This is the second JFOW, a five-day literary festival featuring visiting and local writers, poets and events, writing workshops, competitions and more. This year’s festival will take place between September 28th and October 2nd, and will see us welcoming internationally renowned writers including Michael Morpurgo, Victoria Hislop, Louis de Bernières, Louise Doughty and Alison Weir to the island. My presentation is on October 1 – Crime Fiction and Publishing versus Self-Publishing and for once I won’t have to travel very far – Jersey is only 30 minutes from my home on Alderney. Learn more at www.JerseyFestivalofWords.org Good Housekeeping Self-publishing Masterclass: Always dreamed of publishing your book but don’t know where to start? Come and meet three of who have made a success of self-publishing and learn how we did it. On the panel with me are Tracy Bloom, author of No-One Ever Has Sex On A Tuesday, an ebook number 1 best-seller in the UK in