The Althorp Estate is where the Earl of Spencer lives and where Princess Diana is buried.

I took part in a literary festival there in 2017. After the panel, everyone was invited to stay overnight in the house and have dinner with the Earl and his family and friends.

The photo here shows me sitting in a bedroom window of this amazing house. So far this has been the highlight of my career.

If anyone had told me ten years ago that I would be a bestselling author with 1.5 million sales, I would have laughed at them.

You see, I’ve always wanted to write a book. It’s been a dream of mine since I was eight years old.



It actually took me until I was forty-five to achieve my goal but it wasn’t for want of trying. 

At the end of 2010, at 44 I was made redundant. I was also facing major surgery and my third operation in as many years. 

Once I got over the surgery, losing my job became a positive experience. I would never have left a full-time post without another one lined up. It was too much of a gamble as I was on a really good salary for the area where I grew up. I had bills to pay and a mortgage. I knew I wouldn’t be able to find a job similar to what I was doing, and on that salary.  

Yet, I also knew this was an opportunity I couldn’t miss. So I decided to take a year out to realise that dream I’d had from a child. 

Redundancy gave me a lump sum equivalent to six months of my salary. I knew if I cut back, I could stretch this to a year and try to realise my dream. If I hadn’t got a book deal by the end of 2011, I’d have to get a job again. I’d start temping and hope to get something permanent and go back to writing in my spare time.

Writing had always been my side hustle. For years I wrote every spare moment I had around my full-time job. As well as this, I started a blog. I called it High Heels and Book Deals. I wrote book reviews and invited guest authors to answer a questionnaire and show a picture of their favourite shoes. As a lover of high heels, I was in my element!

But the blog worked two-fold. I got to know a lot of publicists, editors and authors. I was invited to book launches across London – from the Oxo Tower, to The Tower of London; from The Ivy to the Groucho Club. 

Getting myself out there and mixing with people I didn’t know was like facing my fear. Here I was a woman from a small city, going off to London. It was amazing and I have a lot of fond memories. 

Back then, I had several books written that had been rejected by all the major publishers. As the latest one, book five, was turned down by them again, I decided to self-publish it on Kindle. 

Pressing that button was the scariest thing I have ever done, but it was the best thing ever. It completely changed my life. 

If anyone had told me ten years ago that I would be a bestselling author with 1.5 million sales, I would have laughed at them. 

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The book, Taunting the Dead, has so far sold over 200,000 copies. Writing that still staggers me. I’ve now written fifteen crime novels and five books under a pen name, Marcie Steele. 

By the end of 2020, I will have published that 20th book. This was something I thought I’d never type, I can tell you that for nothing.