Crime certainly does pay – at least for these three crime fiction writers (sorry, the hack in me couldn’t resist that).
The latest event in this excellent first Stoke Literary Festival was a discussion and question and answer session between Mel Sherratt, Cath Staincliffe and Nicola Upson.
It was an interesting session – well chaired by the Sentinel deputy editor Martin Tideswell – and gave some great insights into writing.
First, the hard work. These three writers are enjoying increasing success – Mel has tremendous sales and Cath has written for primetime TV – but they’ve all had to work so hard.
‘For the first ten years I earned about the same as a lollipop lady,’ Cath admitted.
Success with Blue Murder (filmed with Caroline Quentin) and writing the novels for Scott and Bailey has doubtless helped her finances but it was clear that money was not her motivation. She had discussed finances with her partner and made a lifestyle choice – this was what she wanted to do. Nicola had a similar story to tell and Mel, who was made redundant from her post as a housing officer with Stoke City Council, grafted for years before breaking through. She was turned down by agents and publishers but decided to self-publish and enjoyed such success she hasn’t looked back.
The passion for telling the story was the driving force for each of them and it was great to hear their stories.