Many of our students want to know how to write crime fiction and, indeed, several of those who’ve taken our creative writing courses have gone on to secure book deals for their fabulous crime novels – step forward Jane Harper, Alice Clark-Platts, Jake Woodhouse, Caz Frear and Alex Clare. Underpinning this perennially popular genre, and influencing both writing trends and readers’ tastes, is a lively crime-blogging scene. So we asked one of our favourite (award-winning) crime bloggers – Noelle Holten of CrimeBookJunkie – to tell us how she got involved in the crime community, what the current state of the, erm, crime scene is and what makes a successful book blog work.
Thank you so much for inviting me to tell you a little bit about myself, what prompted me to set up CrimeBookJunkie and what I feel the current state of the crime market to be.
I’ll start with a little about who I am. My name is Noelle and I’m in my forties. I’m an avid reader and – by that – I mean I’m never without a book. By day I am a Senior Probation Officer working out of a police station and a field team office, and by night I read all things crime. My fascination for books started at a young age and I truly feel withdrawal symptoms if I’m unable to read for a few days – hence the name #CrimeBookJunkie.
I’m interested in many genres, my faves being Grit Lit, psychological thrillers and all things murder. I do enjoy Police Procedurals and legal/action thrillers as well. I’m a member of numerous groups on Facebook and can be found across various social media platforms including Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and Facebook. I’ve been fortunate enough to be put on a few publishers’ reviewing lists and there’s nothing more exciting than to come home and find something outstanding in the post. A dream-come-true opportunity happened recently and I now do freelance publicity work for Bookouture. It’s one of my favourite publishers, and has some of the top authors in the UK and abroad at the moment. I’m also doing some freelance work with David and Kelly McCaffrey for Britain’s Next Best Seller. To say I’m excited would be an understatement!
I’ve also decided to bite the bullet and start up my own wee venture via Thick as Thieves Book Publicity & Promo. I’m surprised at how well this has taken off and I’m thrilled to be working with some amazing people. Last but not least, I’m trying my own hand at writing a crime thriller and hope to have my first draft completed by the end of July 2017.
That’s enough about me though. What prompted me to start up CrimeBookJunkie? Well, back in early January 2015 I was approached by a very well-known and established blogger: Katherine Everett of Best Crime Books and More. She asked me if I wanted to guest-review on her blog and I immediately jumped at the opportunity. Prior to this, my reviews were mainly posted on Amazon and Goodreads and I really didn’t have a clue about blogging. After a few guest reviews and some positive feedback from authors/publicists, I was encouraged by Kat to ‘go it alone’. I had no clue what to do, but I’d become online friends with Sarah Hardy of bytheletterbookreviews and she gave me some useful tips. Both Kat and Sarah have moved from online to real-life friends and have been a major influence and pillars of support in my blogging. And on 24 May 2015, CrimeBookJunkie was born! I still feel I’m relatively new to blogging, but I love every minute of it. It’s opened up new opporchancities (yes, a made up word – something I’m known for) and introduced me to the most amazing people ever. The best thing about it though? I get to shout out about the books I love, the authors I adore and hopefully get some readers hooked on some fantastic new, but maybe not mainstream, series and authors.
I personally think the crime-fiction market just keeps getting better and better. Sub genres make crime fiction interesting and really challenge readers to look at crime fiction in a different way. It’s not just the whodunnit any more; we now delve into the psychology of murder, take a keen interest in where the stories are set, and authors try to come up with the most interesting and creative baddies to keep readers on their toes! What I also think is great is how accessible books are through digital publishing. I love paperbacks, the feel of the pages, the crisp covers… but I also love the fact that I don’t have to pack 20 books when I go on holiday – the Kindle has changed my way of reading and also how much I read. Publishers in crime fiction are also coming out with some jaw-dropping covers, taglines and marketing tools, and I’m fascinated by all this. And the use of social media has, again, opened up a lot of doors to reach people who may not have happened across an author by browsing bookshelves in shops.
I think I’ve babbled on enough. Thank you Curtis Brown Creative for inviting me to post on your blog, and if anyone is interested in linking up with me, I can be found on the following: