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Unpublished letters reveal from Sylvia Plath alleged Ted Hughes beat her two days before she miscarried their second child and that Hughes wanted her dead.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 Writes – December 2016

In October’s post about writing, I talked about the editing process, and mentioned that I read my whole manuscript out loud when I get near to the final version. I have always done this, and highly recommend it. But it was only when I was going through my new book that I was reminded why it’s so effective. The eye skims over words, and so it helps with spotting errors, but the most important benefit, as I discovered this time, was finding repeat words. It may be that the same word or phrase is used several pages apart, but when reading out loud I find that I ‘hear’ it, much more accurately than I ‘see’ it. It’s not the wrong word, so it wouldn’t stand out normally. But if you listen to your own voice (or maybe even record yourself) your book will be all the better for it. If

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Christmas Links

A festive treats for you! Whether you are looking for something to read, want to escape, or you’re thinking of making the most of 2017, we have some suggestions for you. Best 100 Books for Christmas. Doing exactly what it says on the tin, The Telegraph gives you a luxuriously long list of Christmas beauties on paper. The Best Places to Spend Christmas. All worn out by the thought of hanging stockings, lighting fires or stuffing turkeys? Get away from it all with these suggestions. Get a head start on your New Year’s resolution to become an international best-seller. Check out The Guardian on art holidays and creative writing retreats.

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Featured Cake

It’s Christmas, so this week’s featured reader is actually a FEATURED CAKE! We like the blood red colouring, here at Team Abbott – it could disguise a multitude of sins!! Christmas Velvet Cake Ingredients Cake: 0.5 cup butter 1.5 cups sugar 2 eggs 2.5 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup buttermilk 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa 2 tablespoons red food coloring 2 teaspoons baking powder 2 tablespoons cider vinegar Frosting: 1.3 cups semi-skimmed milk 7 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1.3 cups salted butter, softened 1.3 to 2 cups icing sugar, sifted 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract Instructions To prepare cake, preheat oven to 350F. Grease three 8-inch layer pans or two 9-inch layer pans; line bottoms with greaseproof paper. In a mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour alternately with buttermilk; beat until blended. In a small bowl, whisk cocoa and

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A Writer Reads – December 2016

I love Maeve Binchy, if at any stage I need I reassuringly accomplished read I turn to her. For this Christmas I would recommend A Week in Winter. It is set in one of her familiar small towns on the west coast of Ireland where everyone knows everyone else, perhaps a bit too well. The main character Chicky Starr lives in a decaying mansion set high on the cliffs overlooking the windswept Atlantic Ocean and turn it into a restful place for a holiday by the sea, everyone thinks she is eccentric at best. But Chicky, who has just returned from something of a veiled existence in America, sets about rebuilding her life and she is not short of other eccentric individuals to help her – look out for the clairvoyant librarian among many others. This is Maeve Binchy’s last novel and has been described as sketchier than some of

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Dying to Write – December 2016

Those of you who have been reading the newsletter each month will know that we have been running a writing competition. I wrote the first paragraph and then asked readers to write the second and subsequent paragraphs. We have had some terrific entries, and have drawn the competition to a close this month with a paragraph by Carolyn Mahony. I have added a concluding chapter, and the whole story can be read below. If you think you have a good title for this short story, send it to newsletter@rachel-abbott.com to win a signed paperback of Kill Me Again Here’s the story and thanks so much to all of you for your inspiration! 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

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Scary Music from Rachel’s Video Producer Trevor Jenkins

Part of the joy of being a self-published author is the variety of people I get to meet. This month let me introduce Trevor Jenkins, the music producer behind my last three video trailers. In conversation, it became clear that he’d had a couple of spooky experiences so I asked him to share them for Halloween. If you do nothing else this Halloween, listen to the audio track at the end of this article and tell us what you make of it. It made my blood run cold! Having made some original music inspired by three of Rachel’s superb novels, we started to talk about the creative DNA of music and drama and it’s emotional impact. It’s a powerful alchemy. Imagine Hitchcock without Herrmann or the opening scenes from Jaws without the strings? The virgin listener to Tubular Bells will hear not a note of menace within the music but

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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