The Devil’s City

Posted: June 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

Winning a competition is weird but wonderful, particularly when it brings a prize that makes a dream come true. I have won the Good Housekeeping Magazine Novel Writing Competition.  I entered earlier this year along with 7,000 other people and didn’t expect to hear another thing. I never win anything usually – not so much as £10 on the lottery – so this came as a complete shock. “Are you sitting down?” I was asked by GH’s features director, Andreina Cordani, when she finally tracked me down to give me the news. I have to say that it was just as well that I was.
I have been writing fiction in a desultory, dabbling, rather vague kind of way for as long as I can remember. But I’d never really finished anything and lacked the confidence to take it any further. I decided to do a Master’s in Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth, where I lecture in criminology and criminal justice. This changed absolutely everything for me – and not just because I won the competition. It taught me the skills I needed to produce a finished piece and also through the feedback of my tutors and fellow students, gave me confidence in my writing.

My novel is a historical crime thriller set in Turin in 1887. A young Scottish doctor has journeyed to Italy to study with the world’s first criminologist – Cesare Lombroso. But soon the city – reputed to be the location of the gates of Hell – is rocked by a series of macabre murders.
It will be out next year – published by Orion Books – but if you want a preview – an extract appears in this month’s issue of Good Housekeeping Magazine – out on Monday 2nd July. Happy reading!!

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