Last Wednesday I had some pretty stiff competition. I was invited to speak at a literary event in a local village, during their annual week of festivities, and on the night I shared a platform with properly-published, best-selling author Sarah Vaughan (she’s even had her most recent book, political thriller “Anatomy of a Scandal”, promoted on London black cabs and on posters in the Tube – she’s that professional an author!). Not only that, but Sarah and I were battling for attention against “Mock the Week” regular Hal Cruttenden (performing at a comedy event in the same village) and the entire England football team playing Croatia in Moscow. Nonetheless, a fine band of about thirty people turned out to hear us talk about crime, writing, and crime writing.
Sarah was a lovely person, and since we met has been very generous with her time and her contacts, but I will admit that sharing a stage with her reminded me that I have a long way to go. She happened to mention that one of her books has over twenty editions in translation, and that the Italian edition alone has sold over twenty thousand copies. Twenty thousand! All five of my novels, in all editions, have sold a total of just over 1,400 copies.
But am I daunted? I am not! Now that I have sorted out just which year I am writing about, I find that 1829 is a cracker of a year. We’ve had the hanging of grave-robber William Burke and the first appearance of the Metropolitan Police – and it’s only the end of June. Added to that, it was a very cold year with a wet, thundery summer and then London snow in early October – very atmospheric. As Sam might say, we’re doing this because it’s the right thing to do, not because it makes us money.