Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Sheila Quigley and The Road to Hell


Sheila Quigley is a fellow member of the Northern Chapter of the Crime Writers’ Association, and someone I always enjoy bumping into at social events and conventions. I first met her not long after she’d hit the headlines, when her first two books were sold by her agent for a very large sum. According to one article on the internet, the figure was £3 million, but I suspect this is a misprint, and an extra zero was added by mistake! Even so, £300,000 (if that was the right figure) is a fabulous two-book contract, the sort of achievement most of us can only dream about.

One of the things that made Sheila’s personal story so newsworthy was her background. She started work at 15 in her native North East, as a tailor’s presser. She married at 18 and now has nine grandchildren. But fame and fortune haven’t changed her – she has lived on the same estate for 30 years.

Sheila has spoken in public of how health problems, including cataract operations, a couple of years ago set her back a bit, but I’m delighted to see that she has made a good recovery, and has just published a new novel. She’s changed publisher, and is now with an outfit I haven’t come across before, called Tonto Books, who are based in the North East. And Tonto really have done her proud with a nice looking hardback edition of The Road to Hell.

I’m looking forward to reading the book, which I’m sure will be as gritty as its predecessors. From the blurb, I gather that it’s a story involving a murder which replicates a crime of many years before. And it boasts a front cover quote from Tess Gerritsen, no less – impressive.

6 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Martin - Thanks for sharing Sheila Quigley's story with us. It's always so interesting to learn a bit about an author's background. I confess I haven't read her work, but I will be on the lookout for it.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

What an interesting background Shelia has! It sounds like her books are doing really well, too. I'll look forward to the "Road to Hell" although it sounds like it might be a little darker than my usual reads.

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

David Cranmer said...

The Road to Hell is a great title. And I will remember Ms. Quigley during my next Amazon order. Thanks.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks for these comments. David, I don't know if the title has any link with the Chris Rea album of the same name...

Roger Cornwell said...

Sheila's web site is named for the fictional Seahills Estate and I should perhaps disclose that we are her webmasters. We reported on the launch party, which was great fun and quite unlike any other such event we had been to. There was a live band that played a medley of Sheila's books: Run for Home, Bad Moon Rising, Living on a Prayer, Every Breath You Take and of course Road to Hell. The BBC, bless them, have kept a five-year old interview she did for Woman's Hour online. Listen out for the story about the visit to the car dealer, about five minutes in.

Tonto Books are a very enterprising publisher based on Tyneside but with a national reach: the describe themselves as a “minuscule publisher with big ideas”. Early on, they were mentored by your fellow Murder Squaddie, Chaz Brenchley.

Martin Edwards said...

Roger, thanks for these links. I'm very impressed with what I've learned about Tonto. We need enterprising publishers!