Please introduce yourself and your published works
I’m 38, live in Wiltshire with my hubby, 4-year-old daughter and two crazy cockers, and I’ve always been passionate about reading and writing (and shopping). Mother Loves Me and The Cult are my psychological thrillers. I wrote Mother Loves Me while teaching secondary school English, which I think helped because it’s written from the POV of a 13-year-old girl. I even test-trialled the first chapter on my students, and completely freaked them out!
When did you start writing? Can you tell me about your journey to publication?
I wrote my first novel when I was 18, submitted it to about 20 agents and received 20 rejections! Every couple of years after that I wrote another book, experimenting with Young Adult Dystopian and books for younger readers as well as adult thrillers. In 2012 I did a Creative Writing MA which ironically damaged my confidence! I lost my mojo for a while, but when I read Emma Donaghue’s Room closely followed by S. J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep, the idea for Mother Loves Me sprang forward and I wrote my first ever psychological thriller. I submitted the first 5,000 words to Mslexia Novel Competition 2018 and was shortlisted! Part of the prize was to attend a pitching workshop in London. I pitched my book to an agent, and they offered me representation. After 17 years of hard graft, I’d finally got an agent! Euan secured me a publishing contract with HarperCollins and Mother Loves Me was published in 2020. The Cult came out the following year. It really was a dream come true.
What were the pivotal moments so far in your writing career and what you have learned from them?
A truly pivotal moment was receiving my first set of notes from my agent. I learned a great deal from Euan about pacing; never rush the scene when there is high tension – draw it out and let it build to maximise suspense.
What drew you to write crime fiction?
I’ve always watched and read crime, finding it absorbing, intriguing and exciting, so I think my love for the genre drew me to write it.
Who are your favourite authors?
Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Jane Austen, Jilly Cooper, JK Rowling, Kathryn Stockett and many more!
What advice would you give to other people wanting to write?
Read everything about writing that you can get your hands on, read numerous books in your chosen genre/area, enter competitions, and never ever give up. Rejection stinks but sadly it’s inevitable in this business.
Finally, what are you working on now?
I’m trying my hand at a rom-com! It’s so fun and refreshing to write something a bit lighter. I’m loving it!
Thanks Abby! You can follow Abby on Twitter @Abby13Richards and on Instagram @AbbyDaviesAuthor.