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Nirvana BitesIf I hadn’t joined the East Dulwich Writers’ Group, (see also Biog) I would never have become an author.

An article appeared in Crime Time no 36, describing how my first book was written.

So – having written the book, how did I get published? I wasn’t the kind of person who had ‘contacts’, who knew influential people who worked in media. Or so I thought …

But my partner had other ideas. His plan was simple. Tell everybody Debi’s writing a novel and if you spread your net far enough eventually you’ll reach the right ears.

Living in East Dulwich and having children at the local school helped a lot. We never chose where we would be living (see Biog for details) but no one could deny our chances of those ‘right ears’ being available were a great deal better in SE22 than they would have been if we had been housed elsewhere in the borough.

In the event the ears belonged to a marketing director working at Weidenfeld & Nicolson, whose son was in the same class as our oldest son.

I couldn’t believe my luck. He would be reading it at leisure at home, so it wouldn’t just go into the slush pile. I hoped he would tell me whether it was worth my while continuing and maybe I would also get some constructive criticism. At the very best, I thought I might get a nudge in the direction of an agent.

In the event, I found myself being offered a deal, joining the Society of Authors, receiving their specialist advice and negotiating a contract with W&N, all within a scarily short space of time.

See also an interview that appeared in the South London Press in that long hot summer of 2003.

One of the strangest aspects of becoming a published author (apart from the number of people who had previously never given me a second glance but who now wanted to be my best friend) is that my private life was suddenly exposed to all and sundry.

I had naively assumed that if you wrote the book that was all you needed to do. The reality is that as soon as you sign that contract, you become part of the package and as such you are now officially public property.

I had never taken personal credit for any of my photographs and had always taken care to keep my name and face out of the public domain. Suddenly this was no longer possible. It was quite a culture shock, I can tell you.

An article that appeared in the Metro illustrates the point that most of the publicity is around the author and not their book.

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