HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY TO
‘THE SANS PAREIL MYSTERY’
Sans Pareil was the first novel I’d written in three years. During that time, my beloved husband, Chris, was diagnosed with terminal cancer and died. After a year of grieving, I’d started to run out of money and needed to return to teaching. Recklessly, I abandoned that plan and pursued my creative dream instead.
I also had new publishers to worry about. Thomas & Mercer had taken over Heiress earlier in 2015. Could they repeat its success with The Sans Pareil Mystery? Would they want any more books in the future? Everything from the mortgage payments to my dream of remaining a full-time author depended on the successful publication of this new novel and I was full of nerves on publication day. What would the fans of Heiress make of Detective Lavender and Constable Woods’ latest adventures? Could I really make it as full-time author?
Fortunately, the answer was ‘yes’. Sans Pareil gained wonderful reviews, sold well and was long-listed in a prestigious historical fiction competition. Thomas & Mercer published the third book in the series, The Sculthorpe Murder last month. I’m now writing the fourth book in the series and my teaching career is definitely over. I’ve so much to be grateful for, and the publication of The Sans Pareil Mystery was a turning point in my life.
A series of novels on Amazon or in bookshops always look very similar to the reader. They have book covers in the same style and the same font and typesetting throughout. Homogeneity is the key to success in publishing.
But to the author, each novel is as individual as a child. Born and created out of a unique set of real-life experiences, often written in difficult circumstances, each one holds a special place in the author’s heart and is loved for different reasons. The Sans Pareil Mystery is a precious baby to me.
Happy first birthday, sweetheart.