Reading my writes: on crime thrillers

Well, I made it through. One major operation and two infections later and I live to tell more tales.

Sounds more like the premise for a gore-fest, horror novel than something you would expect from a crime thriller writer; but hey, in this digital age of publishing, genres aren’t so restrictive anymore!

Hell, I can write what I like! More about that in future posts.

Anyway, here we are, just two weeks away from the release of our next book – ‘Snow White’.

Gulp!

It’s a really exciting (and nerve-racking) time for us.

We have now passed the 75,000 copies mark with ‘Sugar & Spice on Amazon alone – not bad for a debut novel that agents didn’t have the ‘dangly bits’ to touch!  😉

It continues to sell thousands a month and is sitting pretty comfortably in the Top 100 on Amazon UK.

Result.

It’s a well-known fact among authors (up there with having a great cover and blurb) that the more books you publish, the more you sell. Write, publish, then write another. We get it.

So that’s what we’re doing. Writing commercial crime thrillers with a USP that we hope, readers will love and tell their friends about. (see Kristen Lamb; I am still reading and following the WANA mantra!)

We hope to have the second book in The Rose Red Series (‘Rapunzel’) out in time for Christmas 2011 and that will take us to 4 books published in 12 months – something that a year ago, would have been nothing but a figment of my ever-overflowing imagination.

So yeah, scary and at the same time, ‘squee-ably exciting’!

I mean, we just said ‘no thanks, not at the moment’ to representation by the biggest Lit agency in New York and the chance to pitch our books to ‘The big six’ – we must be crazy, right?

No, but it helps. It helps when writing crime thrillers too.

It’s a tough genre to write in – crime thrillers. There are millions of great writers out there, many of whom I have read avidly over the years and still do; so when we chose this genre (or rather, it chose us) it wasn’t a decision made lightly.

We were (and still are in some respects) tiny, unknown fish in a literary ocean and the competition from the predators is fierce. James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell, Jo Nesbo, Konrath, Stephen Leather, Stieg Larsson; the list of sharks is endless and they have massive teeth! So deciding to go head-to-head with them was a biggie.

Would we sink? What was going to get us noticed in a sea of super-writers? How do we take on the big fish?

All questions that went through our heads when we first released Sugar & Spice, but you know what? We did it.

There isn’t some magic formula (so you can stop emailing and asking thanks) or ‘how to’ guide (although we may publish some tips that wannabe writers might find useful in the future) and success is never guaranteed. But if you have the balls, a bit of market savvy and a decent story, then who knows? You might just make it.

Snow White is a pretty unique concept and one that kinda crept up on us without us realising. That’s the fun bit about writing. In the words of Forrest Gump “You never know what you’re gonna git.”

 Both Mark and I are ‘pantsers’, we never plot or sketch out ideas. We start writing and see where the story takes us. Sure, this isn’t for everyone, but for me, it’s freedom.

Freedom to write what I want, how I want and about what I want.

We didn’t want to write a typical crime thriller. I have lost count of the reviews I have read where readers have accused writers of ‘following the rule book’ and producing the bog-standard thriller.

We also wanted to do something completely different to Sugar & Spice.

There may well be a sequel (and even a third) book in that series in the future, heaven knows, we have discussed it enough, but for now, we wanted to give our readers something totally different. Something that hasn’t been done before.

I think we did it with The Rose Red series. Honestly, I do.

This isn’t your run-of-the-mill thriller. Yes, it is set in modern-day London, there is a bad guy (or two) and the protagonist fights constant battles and jumps through hoops to achieve her goals, but that’s where the similarities end.

If you are looking for a fast-paced, urban thriller, with characters you can relate to and some you wouldn’t want to, then this is for you.

Everyone remembers their fairy tales, right? Well Rose Red is re-writing happy endings.

As for nice fairy tales, well ours is just beginning.

I can’t wait to get Snow White out there and see what the readers think. I can’t wait to write the next one – I am in love with Red and the family already. We hope you will be too.

I like being a writer, in fact, I love it and who knows what we’ll come up with next?

The oceans are vast, there’s room for everyone; but it’s survival of the fittest – do or die – and we don’t intend to be sleeping with the fishes any time soon. 😉

Saffi

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8 Comments

  1. Glad to see you survived and are back in action! 🙂

    I bet there are a few publishers and agents out there kicking themselves for not having the cojones for S & S. I just LOVE stories like this.

    PS. The cheque is in the post for the “secret formula”. 😉

    Reply
    • Me too!

      Haha. Maybe so, but a the moment, we are happy to ride the wave!

      If I had the secret formula, I’d gladly share it! 😉

      Reply
  2. Of course, if we shared it with anyone it wouldn’t be a secret anymore.

    Reply
  3. So sorry to hear about the personal horror-fest. I hope you’re on the mend. I also hope you and Mark are having a great time pantsing your way to the next in the series. (I’m a pantser, too–I want to be surprised.)

    Many, many good wishes for a successful launch of the Rose Red series.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Anne – getting there!

      We have just about worn out the first pair of pants and will require a change for Book #2 and the other WIP’s that we have on the go! Thanks for the good wishes and backatcha!

      Saffi

      Reply
  1. Sugar & Spice hits #1 – again! « Saffina Desforges
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