It is time for a new takeover and I am excited to bring to my blog 8 days of fun with Noelle! I always had in my mind to have Noelle on an #AuthorTakeOver. I mean if I can’t have my #bookpusher then who could I have! Luckily for me, Noelle was over the moon to be a part of this for me!
Noelle has also been very generous in providing a giveaway too! 2 different giveaways.
The International One!
A signed copy of Dead Inside and Dead Wrong (You lucky lucky devils!!)
The UK One!
A Kindle bundle of Dead Inside and Dead Wrong.
So what do you have to do??? I love this bit! On the pinned tweet, I would love you to tweet, in excitement for Book 3 of the series Dead Perfect…..what you think is perfect?
The giveaway will run the entire of the #AuthorTakeOver so you have a while to think about it!
On to the other reason why we are here, the guest post by Noelle, I am now handing the baton over to her as she talks about……
My journey so far…
I’ve previously been asked to share my journey starting with Probation all the way to published author so rather than re-invent the wheel, I’ve just tweaked the original facebook piece I wrote when Dead Inside was first published and I hope you all enjoy it! I have to be honest and say that I still can’t believe it has happened.
I started in Probation after I finished my Masters in Criminology what seems like many moons ago. I joined as a trainee in a very busy office in the north of London. So busy, that my average caseload ranged from 40-80 at any given time (most trainees had 10 cases ?). Despite the pressure, it was a great way to teach me how busy a PO’s caseload would be. Throughout my years, I had a range of cases – low to very high risk, drink drivers, shoplifters, dangerous offenders, murderers, rapists, sex offenders – you name it, I had it. My favourite time in probation however was working in a multi agency setting – with prolific offenders, various risk, substance misuse issues and of course, domestic violence. In total, I spent about 10 years working in multi agency teams- as an officer and a manager – and it was fantastic. Little did I know, but this experience would inspire me to create a similar type of team in the novels I was yet to write!
During part of this time – I had a lot going on in my personal life. Thirteen of my years in probation, I was also in an abusive relationship – I won’t go into details (you can read more about that here: https://crimebookjunkie.co.uk/2019/11/abusive-relationships-my-journey/, but quite like my character Lucy Sherwood in Dead Inside, I lived two lives. Probation – my job, was my escape but in late 2014/early 2015 I had finally had enough – I knew that if I didn’t make and stick to the decision to end/leave the relationship I may not mentally survive.
Then I met a wonderful group of people – bloggers/readers who made me laugh on a daily basis, saved me from the darkness and encouraged me to share my reviews. One blogger – Best Crime Books and More – offered me an opportunity – she gave me a guest review spot on her blog and from there encouraged me to go it alone. In May 2015, CrimeBookJunkie was born! I could not even imagine the support from authors, bloggers, publicists and publishers – it was phenomenal. I had to find a way of thanking those people – the bloggers who initially rallied around me and made me believe in myself again – so I made them characters in my debut novel.
Probation around this time was going through significant changes – privatisation split us into a public and private sector and I ended up being in the private sector. This meant I had to manage two teams, a larger area and focus on targets rather than the people we were supervising. Never in my 18 years had I ever hated going into work – even when I had to deal with very stressful cases… until we went private. I needed to get out for my own health. I saw my colleagues and teams falling apart under the pressure – at times I had to do three- or four people’s jobs, just to cover absences. It was debilitating. It was demoralising. And most of all, it was scary – where did public protection fit in all of this?
Cue fairy godmother …. I was then approached by Kim Nash – PR & Social Media Manager at Bookouture. I had been a huge fan of Bookouture and their authors for some time – taking part in blog tours and shouting out about their fantastic authors. Kim asked if I wanted to do some freelance work … I jumped at the chance. So, in the evenings, after a hectic day in probation, I would organise tours for some of my favourites. David McCaffrey had also approached me as he and his wife had just taken over Britain’s Next Bestseller. He asked if I would look at some submissions and provide detailed feedback. So, two guardian angels had given me an opportunity to work on a freelance basis in publicity and I couldn’t be happier. My dream of leaving came true in July 2017 when I started FT at Bookouture.
In March 2017 I attended author Graham Smith’s Crime & Publishment – I had a story in my head and wondered if I could turn it into a book. I used to love writing, morbid poetry and short stories mainly – but stopped before University. Blogging and reading reminded me of that passion – and I wondered if I could do it. I wrote the prologue to Dead Inside and attended C&P – and my passion burned bright. I learned so much and felt so motivated that when I returned home on the Monday (March 13th) I wrote every day for an hour – by May 19th 2017 the first (rough) draft of Dead Inside was done! I let it sit for a few months to carry on blogging etc and then started editing it. Emma Mitchell (of Creating Perfection) then did a professional edit and when I attended Crime & Publishment in 2018, I pitched my book to Karen Sullivan of Orenda and she asked me to submit! I couldn’t believe it.
Karen’s enthusiasm encouraged me to think about submitting elsewhere. At Harrogate 2018 one of the fabulous (now former) editors at Bookouture introduced me to her friend, Finn Cotton – an editor at Killer Reads. OMG! I gave a very nervous pitch and handed him a flyer I had made up with my details (at the time, the book was called A Perception of Justice – I had originally named it Dead Inside and then changed it – ?♀️) Finn contacted me the Monday and asked for the full MS. I had submitted to a few other places in the meantime. Within a week, Finn came back to me and said Killer Reads would love to publish two books – Dead Inside and whatever followed. I cried and cried and danced and squealed with happiness…but I had been advised not to jump at the first offer, so I waited to see the contract and got some advice.
A few other offers followed – Whaaaaaaat? Other publishers were interested? I was floored! There was NO WAY anyone would want to read my book. I have to say, even the rejections I received were amazing – the book was not for them, but they would be open to further submissions because they liked my writing – REALLY!?! OMG!!
I finally signed with Killer Reads in August 2018 and I am so glad I did. The whole team are amazing! I loved working with my editor – he gets my writing but also teaches me where to make things stronger. I now have a new editor, Charlotte Ledger and she is fabulous too! I’m learning still. I know that. I don’t think I will ever stop learning but I am so grateful that Killer Reads- now called One More Chapter – took a chance on me and believed in my writing. I really look forward to writing more in the DC Maggie Jamieson series.
Reading the reviews has been a whirlwind of emotions. The support has been phenomenal and I have to give a massive #shoutout to all the readers, amazing bloggers and Sarah Hardy (Book on the Bright Side Publicity) for being a part of / organising the #epic blog tours – there are no words!
I’ve been contracted to write five books in total and I’m currently writing the fourth. What happens after that is anyone’s guess! But I am so grateful for the experience and opportunity and love that not only can I continue to read/review books, work for a publisher FT and write in the evenings – but that I have no idea when this journey will end. As long as people want to read my books, I will keep writing. It’s hard work – but I can’t complain!
Thank you so much for this Noelle, and I can not wait for the next 3 books in the series!! Exciting times!
Until next time xxx