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Rejected for 25 years: Author Angela Marsons on her journey to success

Angela Marsons’s momentous journey from unknown author to best-selling crime writer since signing with Bookouture in September 2014 has been nothing short of astonishing. Her crime series, revolving around the nail-biting cases of D.I. Kim Stone have regularly topped the charts and thus far her books have been translated into fourteen language. Her books are fast-paced, gritty, filled with clever plot twists and turns and are compulsive page turners.

I wanted to find out a little more about the woman behind the writer, the creator of the enigmatic D.I.Kim Stone and how she made it as best-selling author (whose novel Silent Scream has been the fifth best-selling Amazon item EVER) within an extraordinarily short space of time. Here she is, in her own words.

What were you like as a child?

As I answer this I wonder if my response would be the same as my Mum’s! I was a bossy little thing that had her nose in everyone else’s business. My school report card constantly stated that I minded other people’s business better than I minded my own. I was incredibly outspoken and involved myself in every school activity available. I look back at my answer and realise that yes, my mum would probably agree.

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When did you know you wanted to become a writer?
I loved reading early on but I remember being asked to write an essay on my recent holiday. We hadn’t been on holiday so I didn’t know what to write. Eventually I did a piece on the relationship between the rocks and the sea. I got marked an A and received my first and only ever Merit Point. The teacher asked if she could bring me some books that were above my reading age and from that moment I was hooked. The books she brought were exploring complex human relationships and as I read I knew that I wanted to write these stories as well as read them.

Why did you choose to write in your particular genre or field?

I began by writing dramas that were character driven but always enjoyed reading crime. I never thought I could write a crime book but after many years of rejection I knew I had to give it a try. I finally began writing the book that I wanted to write with the character who had been chirping in my head for years and set in my local area. I fully expected to hit a wall at around 20,000 words but at least I would have known I’d tried. It was at this point that my pencil took on a life of its own and the story began to write itself.

Can you tell us something about your journey to publication?
I have been trying to share my work for 25 years. Many of the rejections said ‘we like it but we just don’t love it’. During this time I secured a top London agent who tried to sell my Kim Stone books but failed. When we parted ways it left me crippled with self-doubt and I could not pick up a pencil. If he couldn’t sell my work then no-one could. I’d had my chance and the dream of writing for a living was gone. But, I didn’t know then that I had a fairy godmother named Keshini. We had worked together on the Kim Stone books while she was employed by the agency and she had never forgotten them. Out of the blue I received a message from her that she had submitted Silent Scream to a young and dynamic digital publisher called Bookouture. My response was extremely low key as I couldn’t even dare to hope again. A couple of weeks later I was asked to sign with them for 4 Kim Stone books which increased to 8 following the publication of Silent Scream.

If you had to choose one or two of your favourite books or authors of all time, what /who would they be?
From my childhood my favourite author would have to be Andrea Newman. It was her books that explored the frailty of human relationships that lit the fire in my stomach. My favourite book of all time is Disclosure by Michael Crichton. It was the only book that ever caused me to call in sick for work as I literally could not put it down. I had to re-read it to understand how he had managed to captivate me so completely.

Before you were a writer, what were you doing?
Immediately before becoming a writer I was working 12 hour night shifts in an alarm receiving centre. I have worked within the Security Industry for many years and managed a team of 70+ officers at my local shopping centre.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers out there?

My first piece of advice is to never stop writing. It can be hard to maintain the passion in the face of constant rejection but never forget what made you start writing in the first place. I would also say never to share your first draft with anyone until you’ve reached the end. First draft is your own time in the sandpit and the only time you are free do do exactly what you want. Any comments, positive or negative can affect the way you feel and think before you’ve even fell in love with the story yourself.

When you’re not writing, what do you do to relax?
I love to read and I am addicted to Pet Rescue. I will admit to loving a bit of reality television and watch many of the Real Housewives franchise. Other than that I love to find new places to visit and landscapes to admire. If I’m not in front of my computer I can normally be found at the top of a big hill.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Personally, I struggle to write romance in my books. There is a distinct lack of romantic involvement for my main character as when I am reading crime I want to read about crime and not what sometimes seems like the inevitable pairing of main characters.

For an author set to become the UK’s next biggest voice in crime fiction, follow Angela Marsons on twitter, like her Facebook page and visit her website

2 replies
  1. Renita
    Renita says:

    Wonderful interview. I loved reading about Angela. Such an inspiration to us all. And such a wonderful lady as well. I would love to read that piece about the relationship between the rocks and the sea, Angie.XX

    Reply
    • Rebecca Stonehill
      Rebecca Stonehill says:

      Quite agree Renita – amazing to think that piece of writing as a young girl served as a springboard to what she has become…

      Reply

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