Today I’m hosting a stop on the blog tour for Death in Dulwich and it’s my pleasure to welcome author Alice Castle to the blog to talk about her road to publication. Many thanks to Alice and to Emma Mitchell for the opportunity to join the tour!
Author : Alice Castle
Title : Death in Dulwich
Series : The London Murder Mysteries #1
Pages : 281
Publisher : Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication date : May 31, 2017
Thirty-something single mum, Beth Haldane, has her hands full – with a bouncy young son, a haughty cat, a fringe with a mind of its own, and bills to pay. She loves her little home in plush London suburb Dulwich, but life here doesn’t come cheap.
She is thrilled to land the post of archivist at top local school, Wyatt’s, though she secretly fears she’s not up to the job. But even Beth couldn’t have imagined how badly things could go, until she discovers a hideous crime and finds herself prime suspect.
Setting out to clear her name, Beth encounters a cast of characters who will follow her through the London Murder Mystery series, proving along the way that the nicest places can hide the nastiest secrets.
THE ROAD TO PUBLICATION
My journey to publication has been a long and winding road, like all the most interesting stories! I had my first idea for a chick-lit novel while I was living in Brussels and I got an agent quickly, by writing off with a synopsis and the first three chapters to about twenty people. That agent couldn’t find me a publisher, so I changed to another agent, and then another, before getting my first deal with, to my surprise, the very well respected German publisher Ullstein. So, my novel, Hot Chocolate, was duly translated into German and was a bestseller as Schokohertz, selling out in two weeks. It’s now available in German and English on Kindle. I blush to admit that I don’t speak (or read) a word of German!
After this, I thought I’d go for another genre I love, the cozy crime mystery. I’ve always loved reading crime fiction and had become more and more intrigued by the way plots work. Then I thought up an idea for a story. Last April I started writing Death in Dulwich, inspired by my years living there. I thought the beautiful setting and the concentration of ambitious parents and precocious children would provide a rich setting for a whodunit. I also loved the idea of a clever and determined single mother solving the crime where the Met police, so strapped for resources, was doomed to failure. I finished and edited the book over the course of the year.
By this time, my previous agent had decided to concentrate only on non-fiction, so I went it alone and submitted to Crooked Cat just after Christmas. I’d heard of them as a great indie publisher and had been keeping my eye out for signs that they were open to submissions. As soon as the page went up I sent Death in Dulwich off. I crossed my fingers, then had an email from them that was very short. I was sure it was a rejection – but it just pointed out I hadn’t attached the book file! Once I’d stopped kicking myself, I sent it over and, days later, I got an email saying they loved the book and wanted to publish.
I’ve been very lucky with Crooked Cat, they’ve been hugely supportive and really encouraging. Every email is answered swiftly, there’s so much advice on offer and I had lots of input in the choice of cover. The editing process was really thorough but painless, as no major changes were asked for. I really feel we’re a partnership and they are just as concerned as I am to try and give the book every chance in what is a very crowded market.
If I could do it all again, I would save myself my early moments of despair at thinking the book would never get published. But, apart from changing my name to Dan Brown and getting my hands on a massive marketing team and unlimited publicity budget, I’m not sure I would change a thing. I think the book cover looks great and I really hope it’ll find some kind readers who’ll enjoy being transported to a pretty, and gently murderous, corner of our great capital city.
Thanks so much Alice for taking the time to share your road to publication!
Death in Dulwich will be published as an ebook on September 6th but the paperback is available now!