When I look back on the last year of my career, I am struck with a deep sense of gratitude for getting this far. As a former police officer, I know how lucky I am to be able to spend time with my family over the festive season. As an aspiring author, I used to dream about working from home.
It’s over two and a half years since I left my job in the police to write full time. It was such a huge leap of faith, and I remember praying that I would earn enough royalties to pay the mortgage and generally get by.
2018 exceeded all my expectations, starting when Silent Victim hit the number one spot in the Amazon charts. I sold hundreds of thousands of books (police officer me was shocked by this) and had so many wish lists ticked. I appeared on breakfast TV, (nerve-wracking but amazing!) was interviewed on national radio, spoke on panels throughout the UK, won an award and was shortlisted for another at the Thrillerfest awards in New York. I was thrilled to be able to attend the ceremony and visit the big apple for the first time. Meeting George R.R. Martin was the highlight of my career. I was even cheeky enough to get Lee Child to take a picture as I kept his seat warm!
I am so fortunate to have Thomas and Mercer, my publishers behind me. I could not ask to work with a more dedicated team of professionals. The same can be said for the fantastic Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency. But without my readers, I would not be writing this at all. They are at the heart of everything I do. Each time I plot a new book I wonder if will appeal to my readership, and fit in with the style I’ve become known for. I love my brand of dark twisty thrillers and am excited about what’s coming next. I’m currently writing the second of the two books I’ll be publishing next year.
It’s funny, when I first left my job to write I was very regimented and worked around the clock. In 2018 it was nice to be able to relax a little more. I still hit my word count but found it hard to stick to a routine. I envied my early-bird author friends. I would have loved to have been able to get up early and finish my writing by noon. But even though I rose at seven most mornings, I couldn’t get going with my writing until late afternoon. I poodled about, making notes, answering emails and dreaming up plot-lines. But the real work came in the evening when the kids had been fed, the dogs walked and the house began to settle down. I’m hoping that in 2019 I can get myself back into a routine.
I’m always wary of sharing my successes because I don’t want to sound like some kind of narcissist. In truth, I want to inspire other authors who are dreaming about giving up their jobs to write full time. I used to eat up articles like these in the early days. They were the fuel that kept me going, and without them, I would have surely given up. I’m still hugely inspired by my fellow authors and you can never get complacent in this game. It’s a highly competitive world, but if you work hard and believe in yourself, you never know what next year will bring.
I’d like to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and may your dreams come true in 2019 xxx