Winning a Dead Good Reader Award by Marnie Riches, author of "The Girl Who Wouldn't Die".

So, The Girl Who Wouldn't Die was shortlisted for a Dead Good Reader Award, which I had never
anticipated would happen. I went along to the awards ceremony on Friday 17th July 2015, during the Theakstons Crime Festival, otherwise known as Harrogate, with my agent and my publisher. The queue to get into the room was enormous, and though I never had a hope in hell of winning in my category, given the huge names I was up against, I was nervous as hell.

I could tell you about the prizes that were handed out in the other categories. I maybe have a memory of Val McDermid saying some wonderful things, and Lee Child being debonair and handing an award out. Peter James said something endearing which everyone clapped. Anne Cleeves went up on stage with Blenda Blethyn. I remember being impressed by that. But I wasn't paying attention... not until the lovely Alison Hennessey from Harville Secker, who took to the podium to hand out The Patricia Highsmith Award for Most Exotic Location, started talking about the, "city coming alive" or something or other. I'm slightly hard of hearing in my left ear, so I'm not the most attentive listener at the best of times. But by this point, my agent was practically propping me up, because on some level, I knew Alison was referring to Amsterdam in The Girl Who Wouldn't Die. On another level, however, I was a bag of self-doubting nerves and couldn't possibly have won.

Yes, I look bonkers. This is what surprise looks like.
But then, I did win! I stumbled up onto the stage and swore almost immediately, waxing lyrical about how I never could win an argument, let alone an award. People actually laughed, but probably because I looked manic and slightly bonkers, as is witnessed in this photo, taken by official Harrogate photographer, Fenris Oswin. I think I remembered to thank the correct people from the bottom of my heart. And my thanks are from the bottom of my heart - thanks to the readers, my agent, my publisher, my mother, my kids and the Dead Good people, of course. I thanked Alison later in the bar, once I had got a good six or seven units of champagne inside me.

It was a vintage night. Winning an award for your writing - particularly one that has been voted for by readers - is a life-affirming experience. I could get hooked on that kind of high. And the best bit? The best bit is that I get to keep the award and the photos of me looking like Kermit the Frog on acid.

I hope that the follow-up to my debut - The Girl Who Broke the Rules - will prove as popular as George McKenzie's first adventure.
Me, with Eli Dryden, Publisher at Avon/HarperCollins

Literary Agent Madeleine Milburn Chooses Critique Winners

During the BritCrime Festival 11-13 July 2015, new writers were invited to tweet literary agent Madeleine Milburn a one-line pitch or a tantalising question about their unpublished crime novel.

Today Madeleine Milburn chose these three pitches tweeted to her during the festival to win a personal critique:

3 bed rural cottage needs tlc, great views, large garden with mature shrubs, pond and bodies to be unearthed

A little girl is lost at sea, presumed dead, in an accident. 20 years later a young woman claims to be her. Is she?

A secluded barn homes orphaned boys. One by one they get to go to live in The Big House and innocence is lost. Forever

Congratulations to Joy, Louise and Jeanette.

The three winners will be offered feedback on their covering letter, synopsis, and first three chapters of a crime novel.

More about the Madeleine Milburn Literary, Film and TV Agency
Q&A with agent Sarah O'Halloran and author Mel Sherratt

#BritCrime @BookDPodCast + @HarperCollinsUK: What Advice Would You Give Your Unpublished Self?

Simon Toyne, Martyn Waites, Helen Smith, C L Taylor and Alex Marwood recently visited BookD to record a special edition interview for the #BritCrime Festival 2015. In this short trailer, the authors  discuss what advice they'd give themselves, pre all the hype, pre the publishing deal and pre winning awards.

To see the interview in full, please go here.
Please follow @HarperCollinsUK and @BookDPodcast and @Britcrime for more like this.

#BritCrime Festival 2015: Thank you

Thank you for joining us at our first free online crime fiction festival, 11-13 July 2015. Don't miss out on the next one! Be one of the first to receive an invitation.

More about BritCrime
More about Helen Smith
Helen Smith's books on Amazon.

Alex Marwood Looks Ahead to Bouchercon 2015 #BritCrime

by Alex Marwood
This year I'm taking the summer off, like a schoolkid, and spending it in London's commons and lidos with the friends I feel I've barely seen in years, and I can't wait. And to ease myself back into work, I'm going to fly to Tampa, hook up with friends and road trip all the way to Raleigh, North Carolina, to go to the Bouchercon mystery convention.

My novel, The Killer Next Door, is shortlisted for three amazing prizes there, but honestly, I'd be going anyway. It'll be my third, and it's a blast - a mix of panels and partying and seeing my American bezzies and feeling like one's on holiday with one's British crime cohorts.

I've grown to really love America - the people especially - since I've been published there, and Bouchercon is a mix the best of it. The enthusiasm! The friendliness! The new city every time! The mad discussions of the best ways of getting away with murder! Being surrounded by so many people with such a love of books is the perfect way to ease myself back into remembering that I do, actually, love making books of my own.


Alex's British crime cohorts attending Bouchercon this year include these authors who participated in the BritCrime Festival: 
♠ Craig Robertson
♠ Alex Sokoloff
♠ Helen Smith
♠ Sarah Ward

More about Bouchercon:

There Will Be Blood…

Bloody Scotland
Anya Lipska looks ahead to Bloody Scotland, 11-13 September 2015

Stirling will be knee-deep in gore this September for Bloody Scotland – now in its fourth year, and fast becoming a major fixture in the league table of international crime writing festivals. It certainly has a setting to rival any of them: famous for its medieval castle squatting atop a hunk of volcanic rock, and its forbidding nineteenth century town jail, Stirling is an atmospheric spot.

This year’s line-up is spearheaded by Scottish crime fiction luminaries, including Val McDermid who’ll be talking forensics in the wake of her fascinating book on the subject, and Ian Rankin who’s sharing a stage with Philip Kerr – a double thrill for me as Rebus and Bernie Gunther are probably my two top crime fiction heroes.

Among the big international visitors are Martina Cole, queen of gangland crime (fiction…), and the mega bestselling Linwood Barclay – flying in from Canada for his first visit to Scotland – who are promising sneak previews of new books. Also on stage will be the latest stars of Nordic Noir, a poisoning expert, a bunch of upcoming Scottish talent, and a few non-Scots (like me) tiptoeing over Hadrian’s Wall to get in on the act.

Other treats include a Crime Writing Master Class led by Denise Mina, no less, and ‘Deadlier then the Male?’ which promises to be a fascinating discussion by writers from the Killer Women collective on the portrayal of women in crime fiction. But the event that tops my unmissable list has to be the late night pub ‘lock-in’ where crime writers will strut their stuff performing readings, poems and songs til the early hours. That nineteenth century jail might just come in handy…

Author image: Martyna Przybysz
Anya Lipska will be appearing at a Bloody Scotland panel on the joys and pitfalls of writing about other cultures with Kati Hiekkapelto and Eva Dolan. 

A Devil Under the Skin, Anya’s third book in her series featuring Polish private eye Janusz Kiszka and Met detective Natalie Kershaw has just been published.

The following authors who participated in the BritCrime Festival will be appearing at Bloody Scotland in September:

Mason Cross ♠ Julia Crouch ♠ Eva Dolan ♠ Helen Giltrow ♠ MJ McGrath ♠ Michael J Malone ♠ Craig Robertson ♠ Alexandra Sokoloff

A Look Ahead to Harrogate by Sarah Hilary
by Sarah Hilary

Once upon a time, Harrogate was famous for Betty's tea rooms, and its ornamental gardens. Then Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival descended and no one's looked back since. In the prettiest of towns, on the sloping lawns of its prettiest hotel (The Old Swan) beer and book tents are pitched. Here you can drink a pint of Old Peculier and have a chinwag with the likes of Lee Child, Mark Billingham, Val McDermid and -- this year -- Eddie Izzard, Sara Paretsky and Sally Wainwright. No one stands on ceremony, there is no dry stonewall between the writers and readers, the legends and wannabes. Beer is a great leveller and boy--do crime writers like to talk.

This year I'm lucky enough to have been shortlisted for the Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year (alongside Belinda Bauer, Ray Celestin, Elly Griffiths, Antonia Hodgson and Peter May) so I'll be on my best behaviour on opening night, but after that? Join me in the bar, or lolling on the lawn, and we'll talk about TV, books, bashing out words or getting blocked. Just try and shut me up. It'll be like BritCrime all over again, except no one will be in pyjamas (probably).


Someone Else's Skin shortlisted for crime novel of the year

Four years ago, when I first rocked up at Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, my favourite moment was the opening night, as the winner of the Crime Novel of the Year is announced. The buzz in the ballroom, the speeches, the shortlisted authors, all heroes of mine... I was starry-eyed all night. I didn't have a book deal, or even an agent, although I was stalking the Queen of Harrogate herself, the stupendous Jane Gregory.

At Harrogate the following year, I'd been signed by Jane, but was still working my way towards a book deal. Anyone who's on that leg of this journey will tell you that it's agony. You daren't hope, in case you jinx it. You want to dream, but that too can be dangerous. It was a rarefied form of torture going to Harrogate, getting within sniffing distance of all those famous writers and debut novelists. (I didn't actually sniff any of them.)

Denise Mina scooped the Crime Novel of the Year Award that year, and the next. The second time she won, I had a book deal. A proof copy of Someone Else's Skin was in the delegate bags. Last year, I was with Belinda Bauer and her agent (my agent!) Jane Gregory celebrating Belinda winning the Crime Novel of the Year with her astoundingly good book, Rubbernecker.

This year...
This year, Someone Else's Skin has been nominated for the same award. It was on a long list that included so many of my writing heroes, my head was spinning. Ian Rankin, John Harvey, Belinda Bauer... And then the shortlist was announced yesterday, and I was on the shortlist and that sound you heard? Was my head exploding.

On Thursday 16 July, I'll be on the stage with Mark Lawson, and five amazing writers including two other debut novelists (Ray Celestin and Antonia Hodgson). I'll be on the stage with Belinda Blacklands Bauer.

The dream just got crazy-real.

I'll be talking more about the Theakstons festival during BritCrime. BritCrime! Where there's no long schlep to Harrogate, no mosh-pitting in the ballroom. You can stay in your pjs and catch all the news and gossip free online.

See you there.

Sarah Hilary

BritCrime Festival authors who have been invited to appear at Harrogate:
♠ Steve Cavanagh
♠ Sarah Hilary
♠ Clare Mackintosh
♠ Nick Quantrill
♠ Craig Robertson
You will find plenty of other authors who participated in BritCrime at Harrogate. Look at the biographies on to see who is going. Please say hello if you're there.

#ThrillerFest15 Report from New York City for #BritCrime Festival

by JF Penn
While the BritCrime online festival rocked the UK this weekend, several of the participating authors joined the International Thriller Writers’ (ITW) ThrillerFest in New York.

Peter James Simon Toyne J.F. Penn
Simon Toyne, J.F.Penn and Peter James in New York #britcrime

Simon Toyne, SJI Holliday and J.F.Penn attended panels, cocktail parties and seminars with some of the biggest names in thriller and crime who have sold hundreds of millions of books between them.

Here are some interesting tidbits from behind the scenes …

Karin Slaughter interviewed Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse series which became the TV series True Blood. It was a hilarious session as Charlaine has an infectious giggle and Karin has a sharp wit.

Charlaine used to do a form of karate as well as weightlifting to help improve her strength. The practice made her feel stronger inside and out and that personal change is something she brings to her books. People can change, but it’s often at great cost.

Kathy Reichs Karin Slaughter

Charlaine doesn’t allow people behind her at book signings, because of a number of weird experiences with fans. Both Karin and Charlaine said that they won’t eat anything fans bake for them. They appreciate the thought but they also have haters who might try to poison them!

When asked what scares her, Charlaine said that the paranormal isn’t a problem at all. Humans are the real monsters because they look normal until you’re alone with them … she did say that those blow up men outside auto retailers really do creep her out though!
Simon Toyne Mark Billingham J.F.Penn
Simon Toyne, Mark Billingham and J.F.Penn #britcrime
 Mark Billingham noted in one panel that crime and thriller writers are the “smokers of the literary world.” There’s a kind of gang mentality, we protect each other and we are supportive. We’re also considered by many in the literary community as somehow less important, but Karin Slaughter pointed out that we’re the ones hitting the bestseller lists!

Lee Child with Mark Billingham

Lee Child interviewed Mark in a spotlight session and the two Brits had the crowd in stitches with tales of their respective Birmingham history. Mark talked about his former acting career with an enjoyable stint running around in forests for Maid Marian and Her Merry Men, as well as being the first human actor on Spitting Image. He also revealed a personal story about being a victim of crime and how his own visceral fear is used in his books.

In talking about London as a setting, Mark asked the mainly American audience whether they really wanted to keep London as 'heritage' rather than gritty. He explained that it’s a Jekyll and Hyde city with both beauty and darkness. His Tom Thorne crime thrillers explore both sides, always with an edge of humour. Mark also recommended BritCrime author Clare Mackintosh's new book, I Let You Go, as an example of a fantastic twisted plot.
david morrell britcrime
David Morrell, author of historical crime novel, Inspector of the Dead ... and creator of Rambo!
 Peter James and Greg Iles talked about how covers rejected by bigger name authors often get handed down to the lesser known. It’s apparently common in the publishing industry. Peter James has hens named after the characters in his Roy Grace novels at his home in the Sussex countryside.

holliday penn cussler
SJI Holliday at the Debut Author breakfast. J.F.Penn with Clive Cussler
CJ Lyons won the Best eBook Original award for Hard Fall, a Lucy Guardino FBI crime thriller. CJ is a former pediatric ER doctor whose life of crime fiction writing was inspired by meeting a serial killer. Lucy Guardino's character was inspired by a real life FBI Supervisory Special Agent whose favorite photo of herself was taken when she was eight months pregnant and shooting a Remington pump action shotgun during firearms re-qualifications.

Simon Toyne signed advanced reader copies of his upcoming novel, The Searcher at Thrillerfest, as well as taking charge of filming top authors on their writing tips. That video will be out in the next few months so keep an eye out! Simon loves to write at his place in France, an old presbyter, a French priest’s house located on the outskirts of a 13th century bastide, or fortified town. Simon also loves movies. His favorite film is Jaws and in his previous occupation in TV production, he once interviewed Stephen Spielberg. You can watch a video interview with Simon Toyne here on YouTube.

To add to the excitement, SJI Holliday was featured at the Debut Author breakfast and J.F.Penn fulfilled a dream of meeting Clive Cussler!

All in all, it was a fantastic Thrillerfest and today the BritCrime authors return home just a little worse for wear after the celebratory Gala Dinner last night … See you next year!
♠  More about JF Penn

#BritCrime Festival Day 2: Join us!

BritCrime Festival Panels Sunday
The BritCrime Festival continues today, midday UK time/7am EST. Please join us if you can.

We have five panels of participating authors. Details here:

You can go straight to the events here:

If you have questions about how BritCrime Festival, or would like to chat to other readers, please visit the BritCrime Readers' Cafe.

Some of our readers have been leaving reviews to participating authors' books in the cafe. Thank you! Please take a look here to see what they recommend.

Meet us after the panels at 10pm UK/5pm EST in The Slaughtered Author virtual pub, also on Facebook.

Want to see who you’re talking to? Take a look at these photos:

Where Are They Now? Our authors out and about:
Writing Dens:
Or watch our Opening Ceremonies video, below.

BritCrime Festival Opening Ceremonies
BritCrime Festival Opening Ceremonies
Posted by BritCrime Festival on Thursday, July 9, 2015

#BritCrime Festival starts today. Join us!

BritCrime Festval
The BritCrime Festival starts today, midday UK time/7am EST. Please join us if you can.

We have five panels of participating authors. Details here:

You can go straight to the events here:

If you have questions about how BritCrime Festival, or would like to chat to other readers, please visit the BritCrime Readers' Cafe.

Some of our readers have been leaving reviews to participating authors' books in the cafe. Thank you! Please take a look here to see what they recommend.

Meet us after the panels at 10pm UK/5pm EST in The Slaughtered Author virtual pub, also on Facebook.

Want to see who you’re talking to? Take a look at these photos:

Where Are They Now? Our authors out and about:
Writing Dens:
Or watch our Opening Ceremonies video, below.

BritCrime Festival Opening Ceremonies
BritCrime Festival Opening Ceremonies
Posted by BritCrime Festival on Thursday, July 9, 2015

New release: Alexandra Sokoloff's COLD MOON

Book 3 in my Thriller Award-nominated Huntress/FBI series is now out in print, audio and ebook!

It is very strongly recommended that you begin this series with Book 1, Huntress Moon.  
$3.99 on Kindle

Special Agent Matthew Roarke thought he knew what evil was. He was wrong.

FBI Special Agent Roarke is closing in on a major criminal organization in San Francisco when he witnesses an undercover member of his team killed right in front of him on a busy street, an accident Roarke can’t believe is coincidental. His suspicions put him on the trail of a mysterious young woman who was present at each scene of a years-long string of “accidents” and murders, and who may well be that most rare of killers… a female serial.

His hunt for her will take him across three states, and force him to question everything he knows about evil and justice.



Book 1 of Thriller Award-winning author Alexandra Sokoloff’s Huntress/FBI Thrillers, Huntress Moon, became a #1 Amazon mystery/thriller bestseller and was nominated for a Thriller Award for Best E Book Original Novel. 

Told in continuous, serial format like True Detective and The Killing, and utilizing the intricate psychological/forensic procedure of Criminal Minds, the Huntress series sets a cast of complex FBI investigators in pursuit of an unforgettable female suspect who has been called “a female Dexter.” The story combines nail-biting suspense and a twisting mystery plot with deadly erotic tension, and has garnered hundreds of rave reviews from readers who find themselves sympathizing with its haunted male lead and unexpectedly empathizing with its highly unusual killer.

For thousands of years women have been the victims. Isn’t it time someone turned the tables?


Alex will be talking about the Hutnress series and serial killers in general on Panel 6 at Britcrine: Saturday, 6 pm-8pm:  Serial Offenders.  Stop in any time today and leave a question for the panelists! 


Books 1, 2 and 3 of the Huntress/FBI Thrillers, Huntress MoonBlood Moon, and Cold Moon are available now from Thomas & Mercer.  $3.99-$4.99 on Kindle.

It is very strongly recommended that you read the series in order, starting with Huntress Moon.   
Huntress Moon                     Blood Moon                      Cold Moon

#BritCrime Festival Opening Ceremonies

BritCrime Festival Opening Ceremonies
BritCrime Festival Opening Ceremonies
Posted by BritCrime Festival on Thursday, July 9, 2015

See you there!

The Grape, The Gin, The Harbour Master Giveaway...

The Harbour Master
by Daniel Pembrey

There’s nothing Amsterdam cop Henk van der Pol likes more than to slip into his local bar, De Druif (The Grape), for a quick Dubbelbock beer or a jenever (Dutch gin).

It helps that the bar is almost at the end of his street, Entrepotdok, in Amsterdam’s eastern docklands. Entrepotdok has seen its fair share of changes since Henk started living on his houseboat there in the 1980s, but De Druif has remained reassuringly undisturbed, as one of Amsterdam’s oldest bars.

It’s a ten minute/one kilometre walk from Amsterdam Centraal train station if you happen to be in the Dutch capital.

Daniel Pembrey grew up beside Sherwood Forest, studied history at Edinburgh University, then worked for ten years at a technology company in Seattle and later Luxembourg. He now writes crime thrillers with a strongly ‘Euro noir’ flavour. To write The Habour Master, he spent several months living in the docklands area of Amsterdam, counting De Druif bar as his local ...

♠ Daniel has a signed print copy of The Harbour Master to give away to someone who has joined a BritCrime Festival event on Facebook: This giveaway is open internationally. One winner will be chosen Monday 13th July.

♠ You can read exclusive additional material about The Harbour Master over The Book Trail

♠ You can see Daniel Pembrey reading an excerpt for Broadcast Amsterdam, inside De Driuf, on Youtube.

#BritCrime Festival Special: Extended Interview with MJ McGrath

Don't miss this special BritCrime Festival edition extended interview with MJ McGrath from our friends at the Joined Up Writing Podcast. 

Here's the introduction from hosts Wayne and Leah:

The Bone SeekerThis week we talk to The Bone Seeker author, MJ McGrath about her work and process as well as being a panelist at the online Crime Fiction festival, BritCrime. The festival runs from July 11th to 13th and features more than 40 Crime Authors, online panels, inside knowledge, book giveaways and opportunities for aspiring writers too. Check out the #BritCrime hashtag, follow on Twitter and scoot over to the website for more info.

Melanie McGrath is a successful journalist and writer with two CWA Gold Dagger nominations to her name. In addition to her Arctic crime series, Melanie has written several non-fiction books, some based on her world travels to places like Iceland, Madagascar, Mali, Namibia, Ethiopia, Malaysia, Russia, China, Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico and, of course the Canadian Arctic, which is where her Edie Kiglatuk series takes place.

Melanie has some fascinating insights in to her research and writing life, including a traumatic real-life experience that shaped the way she views the Crime genre.

Listen to the interview on the Joined Up Writing site here or find it on iTunes here.


♠ Melanie McGrath is a journalist and author of bestselling nonfiction. As MJ McGrath, she writes the Edie Kiglatuk series of Arctic mysteries.The series has been translated into 18 languages. The Bone Seeker has been long listed for the 2015 CWA Gold Dagger and is a Financial Times crime pick of the year.

Joined Up Writing Podcast
♠ Wayne Kelly is editor and soundman for MGL Media (@mglmedia) He loves writing, running, and co-hosting The Joined Up Writing Podcast. Follow Wayne on Twitter @MrKelly2u and say hello.

♠ Leah Osborne writes as Ileandra and Raven. Find her on Twitter @ileandraXraven

♠ Joined Up Writing Podcast Episode 23: Helen Smith talks about BritCrime

♠ Subscribe to The Joined Up Writing Podcast on iTunes

♠ Follow Joined Up Writing Podcast on Twitter: @JUPodcast

Behind the Scenes with The Book Trail #BritCrime
The Booktrail is showcasing some wonderful behind-the-scenes material for the BritCrime Festival including maps, musings from authors, and more:

Today, you can read about Huntress Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff.

Alex will be on Panel 4, Serial Offenders,
Saturday 11 July, 6-8pm UK time, 1-3pm EST.
Find the panel on Facebook here.

Mel Sherratt in conversation with Sarah O'Halloran

Sarah O'Halloran, Literary Agent
Sarah O'Halloran is starting as a Literary Agent at the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency this August. I asked her a few questions about her role and also what she likes to read : 

Hi Sarah. Can you tell me what you look for in a manuscript?

Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction the first thing I look for in a manuscript is a strong, unique voice and stylish, distinctive writing. But of course an engaging plot is essential! I also have a fondness for dark themes and unlikeable characters.

What is your favourite read this year?

There have been so many impressive debuts this year but I’m going to chose HERE ARE THE YOUNG MEN by the incredibly talented Irish author Rob Doyle. It’s a dark, provocative and violent portrait of a lost generation of disillusioned young men and I can’t recommend it enough. 

How/why did you want to be an agent?

Being an agent gives you the opportunity to champion books and authors you’re passionate about which is a real privilege. Publishing can sometimes seem opaque and exclusive and it’s very satisfying to be able to help an author navigate the industry.

What's your perfect pitch look like?

I look for a professional and concise pitch. If an author can convey the essence of their book in a few sentences, that’s wonderful. It’s also really important that the author has thought about where their book sits in the market as well as what makes their book stand out from the crowd. It’s hard, though, to write a pitch letter so I try not to be too judgemental!

What do you see as the next big thing?

This is always such a hard question but there has been a lot of wonderful narrative non-fiction published recently. Books such as DO NO HARM by Henry Marsh, THE EXAMINED LIFE by Stephen Grosz and H IS FOR HAWK by Helen Macdonald have opened up non-fiction to a new audience and I think it’s a very exciting time to be representing non-fiction authors. 

What is your favourite genre to read? and to sell?

I love reading upmarket commercial and accessible literary fiction with real ambition. Some of my favourite books of the last couple of years include STATION ELEVEN by Emily St. John Mandel, ASTONISH ME by Maggie Shipstead, THE INTERESTINGS by Meg Wolitzer and WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY BESIDE OURSELVES by Karen Joy Fowler. It’s always a particular pleasure to sell children’s and YA titles as there are so many innovative and talented editors working in children’s books at the moment. 

What qualities does an agent need?

Obviously you need to be hard-working and a passionate reader, but more importantly you need to know the market well and to have both a strong editorial and commercial eye. You also need to genuinely enjoy talking to people and networking so that you know exactly where best to submit your clients’ work.
How has the role of an agent changed over the past few years?

It seems to me that agents are more involved than ever in helping their authors publicise and package themselves and their work. Agents are also doing more editorial work with their authors in order to give them the best chance of securing a publishing deal in a busy market. There is also, I think, an increasing awareness of the importance of properly exploiting subsidiary rights such as translation rights and film and TV rights which are an essential part of an author’s income.  

Who's the author whose book you wait for and buy as soon as it's published?

I’m a big fan of the Dutch author Herman Koch, the author of THE DINNER and SUMMER HOUSE WITH SWIMMING POOL, who handles the unreliable narrator so skilfully and whose books are populated by casts of flawed and unpleasant characters. I love the way he uncovers the violence simmering beneath the surface of middle-class family life. His stories are so compelling I know that if I take one of his books on holiday I won’t be disappointed!  

Sarah began her career with the agent Norman North at The Agency, before going on to work at Curtis Brown and The Marsh Agency. She spent three years working as a literary scout at Louise Allen-Jones Associates before joining Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency in 2015 as an agent representing fiction, non-fiction and children's and YA authors. Sarah has a BA in History from the LSE and an MA in Literature from UCD.   


Are you a debut crime writer? Would you like the chance to receive a personal critique from agent Madeleine Milburn? If so, find out more here.

I am really excited to be taking part in BritCrime this weekend. I shall be on a panel 'This is Personal' at 14.00 Saturday, along with fellow crime authors Steve Cavanagh and Paul Finch. You can find out more here

Meet BritCrime Festival's Assistant Producers

We're delighted to have hired two publishing professionals to work with us during the BritCrime Festival, 11-13 July 2015:

BritCrime Festival Assistant Producer: Event Manager

Stephanie Cox is joining us as an event manager. She will be moderating panels, including live Q&As and fast-moving round table discussions between participating authors, and producing edited highlights during the BritCrime Festival, 11-13 July 2015.

Stephanie Cox is a Publishing Editor at Emerald Group Publishing. She has worked on newspapers, newsletters and books and was Editor of a programme for a National League basketball team. She has completed work experience at Hodder & Stoughton and Sweet & Maxwell, among others. Recently she joined the Society of Young Publishers North and Midlands committee and is a guest blogger for BookMachine. Her own blog currently hosts dozens of interviews with publishing professionals.

More about Stephanie here:
Twitter: @cox_stephanie
BookMachine guest posts:

BritCrime Festival Assistant Producer: Writer/Editor

Charlotte Sabin is joining us as a writer/editor. She will be live tweeting the fast-moving round table discussions between participating authors and compiling highlights to be published on our blog during the BritCrime Festival, 11-13 July 2015.

Charlotte Sabin is a writer and editor based in Cornwall. Her non-fiction projects – from memories of a favourite pair of shoes to folk music archiving – have attracted national attention - even receiving a submission from Dame Judi Dench. She is also working on performer biographies for Port Eliot Festival. She writes regularly for art curatorial organisation Field Notes. She is currently working on a feature length script, a reinterpretation of Icarus set in a London hotel. She is a student on MA Professional Writing at Falmouth University.

More about Charlotte here:
Twitter: @charlottemsabin

More about the BritCrime Festival
Panels & live events here:

What is BritCrime? Q&A | BritCrime Facebook Page | 8pm UK/3pm EST Friday 3rd July

We will be talking about BritCrime and answering questions about the festival on our main FB page 8pm-9pm tonight:

At 9pm, we will be popping into The Slaughtered Author, our virtual pub which has been set up as an event on our main FB page.

We will draw the prize for the meat raffle(six print books from authors participating in BritCrime) at 9.30pm UK time/4.30pm EST in the pub. Please drop in any time before then to take your virtual ticket by commenting under the picture.

Main FB page for Q&A, 8pm UK time/3pm EST:
Slaughtered Author pub 9pm UK time/4pm EST:
Draw for meat raffle, 9.30pm UK time/4.30pm EST:

BritCrime Festival Preview on Rocking Self Publishing

by Helen Smith
Rocking Self Publishing
I appeared on Episode 106 of Rocking Self Publishing talking about the BritCrime Festival.

More here: Rocking Self Publishing

Thanks to Simon Whistler for hosting and to Angela McConnell for the show notes.

Please go here to listen and comment.

The London StoriesHelen Smith is a novelist and playwright who lives in London. She is the author of the Emily Castles Mysteries and other books. More about Helen Smith here

Helen Smith's books on Amazon

BritCrime Festival Preview on the Joined Up Writing Podcast

by Helen Smith

I appeared on Episode 23 of the Joined Up Writing Podcast  talking about BritCrime and how much I have enjoyed the world building involved in creating the virtual venues for our online crime fiction festival, 11-13 July.

More here: Joined Up Writing Podcast

Thanks to Wayne Kelly and Illeandra Young for hosting.

Please look out for next week's BritCrime Festival special Joined Up Writing Podcast. Wayne and Illeandra will be talking to MJ McGrath, author of The Bone Seeker.

You can subscribe to the Joined Up Writing Podcast on iTunes.

The London StoriesHelen Smith is a novelist and playwright who lives in London. She is the author of the Emily Castles Mysteries and other books. More about Helen Smith here

Helen Smith's books on Amazon