In 2011 I entered a writing competition run by Harrogate Crime Writing Festival and the Writing Magazine. It’s prize was a Weekend Break Package for two, at the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate for 3 nights. Two weekend rover tickets for access to all the festival events. To enter the competition, you had to write a short crime story (maximum of 1,800 words) with the theme Ten. The winning entry would be judge by the bestselling and internationally renowned crime writer Mark Billingham. I wrote a story, about an artist’s and his ten paintings, called Roofscapes, in time for its closing date 27th January 2012. The final winner was to be announced in the April.
My husband and I had arrived home from the Whitby Goth Festival on the 30th April. Just before going to bed I decided to check my email. To my amazement, I found one that said my entry Roofscapes was the overall winner. I was left stunned. My story was then published the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival site online and in the Writing Magazine. Roofscapes remained on the site until 2019.
For two years, I handed out my business card with details about where Roofscapes could be read online. I received an email in November 2012 from the one of the organisers of Crime Writing Festival to say my story had created some great interactivity on their website. Many of the readers asked when was I going to turn Roofscapes into a novel. To begin with, I couldn’t see how it would be possible, so I just forgot about it and focused on writing a sci-fi novel. When The Phoenix Hour suffered a few rejections, one being told by an editor that no woman would want to read my novel because of its subject matter, I decided to give up on sci-fi and try writing a crime novel instead.
So began the birth of Stone Angels. To start with I knew I couldn’t lengthen my story, that I needed to write the novel from a different point of view. While driving up to Whitby for the Goth Festival, I started thinking outside the box, and came up with an idea to tell the novel from the artist’s point of view. Most crime novels are either told from the victim’s or the police’s point of view, very few from the killer’s.
After many rejections, rewrites, and edits Stone Angels has now found a publisher in Darkstroke and will be available to read on the 11th August 2020. It has been a long journey, but I would gladly do it again.