My stop on the Blog tour for this debut novel – Turn A Blind Eye by Vicky Newham which is a first in the addictive new crime series set in East London, following DI Maya Rahman who is a Bangladeshi! Wow! Head over to my Instagram to enter the international giveaway and to get a chance to win 1 of 3 hardback copies of this exciting thriller!
Synopsis: A twisted killer has a deadly riddle for DI Maya Rahman to solve in this pulse-racing thriller. A headmistress is found strangled in her East London school, her death the result of a brutal and ritualistic act of violence. Found at the scene is a single piece of card, written upon which is an ancient Buddhist precept: “I shall abstain from taking the ungiven.” At first, DI Maya Rahman can’t help but hope this is a tragic but isolated murder. Then, the second body is found. Faced with a community steeped in secrets and prejudice, and with a serial killer on her hands, Maya must untangle the cryptic messages left at the crime scenes to solve the deadly riddle behind the murders – before the killer takes another victim.
You guys will absolutely love reading about the author and her thoughts, so here’s a very special Guest Post from Vicky Newham! Continue reading!
My path to publication – overnight success or hard work and perseverance?
My debut novel, Turn a Blind Eye, was published last week. A few people have asked me about my path to publication so I thought I’d say a little about it. When I was a child I would write letters to relatives and friends in my bedroom. I remember how much I loved telling them about things that had happened. In my teens, that progressed onto short stories and articles, and I adored essay-writing at university. Growing up, being a ‘writer’ was never discussed as an option. I think the expectation was that I’d get married or become a PA, because that was what my mother had done.
Fast forward many years, and three degrees later, I was still trying to write a novel while teaching A-level Psychology full-time. With a commute which could take anything up to two hours each way, marking and lesson planning to do in the evenings and at weekends, the only time I got to write was in the summer holidays.
In 2012, I left teaching and began writing to a target every day. I set up a writing group in Coulsdon, where I was living, and ran it from the library there. I made a concerted effort to learn as much as I could about writing, publishing and crime fiction. I’d started writing a novel which I wanted to finish so I would write in the mornings and read in the afternoons. I began an MA in Creative Writing that year. I finished that novel and was about to start submitting it to agents when a book with an almost identical storyline was published, so I decided to put mine in a drawer until I could think how to change my plot. That freed up my time and mental space and I was desperate to begin writing the story that features in Turn a Blind Eye. However, one of my MA modules was on literary theory, and for another module I had to study and write poetry and drama. I learnt a huge amount from both modules but wasn’t able to write fiction at the same time. In addition, life intervened: my mother died; I had to clear out my childhood home in Sussex; I had to sell my house in Coulsdon and bought one in Whitstable; I decided to re-home a puppy. Figure 2: the re-homed puppy is not 4 and likes to be involved in everything!
In spring 2014, I seized the opportunity to start writing Turn a Blind Eye for my dissertation piece. It was an amazing chance to learn as much as possible from my supervisor, literary agent, Juliet Mushens. Once that was handed in, I set about finishing the first draft of the book. I rewrote it numerous times, then sent it to beta readers for comments and an editor friend offered to read it for me. I combined the bits of their feedback that felt right, and rewrote the book twice more and started submitting to agents. When I signed with PFD, I did some edits with my agent, Adam Gauntlett, before it was sent to editors, scouts and production companies. I then did more edits with HQ/Harper Collins before publication.
Figure 3: returning to Kingston uni in 2017 to talk about my book
The characters, setting and storyline in Turn a Blind Eye began in my head in 2002 when I was teaching and living in East London. Over the four years that followed, before I changed schools, I was inadvertently researching topics, themes and issues. It wasn’t until I’d left teaching that I felt able to formalise my questions and ideas into a proper plot. So, nothing has happened overnight other than a few grey hairs and wrinkles! Timing and luck are definitely involved with writing, but that’s a topic for another blogpost.