Genre bender

fingerprintSo when Agent Simon sent my manuscript out into the world of publishing, he told me that I had written a piece of Crime Fiction.

Crime Fiction? I said, mildly appalled.

Not having had any dealings with publishing before, I thought to be classified as a writer of genre fiction was somewhat demeaning. This is an example of the ignorant state I was in. Of course, like many first-time writers I had thought I had written a literary novel, the best I could possibly write, potentially the next Booker Prize winner.… read more

The First Reader

What a first reader looks like

What a first reader looks like

When the first proof copies of Cuckoo were distributed, I likened the feeling to taking my knickers off in public.**

But I have found something in this writing process far more challenging even than that, and two weeks ago, on holiday on France, I had to go through it again.

The most difficult part is the very first read.

Well, not the very first read – I do that myself, obviously (and god knows, that’s hard enough).… read more

Emerges, blinking…


Oh dear, this writer’s blog has been a bit of a builder’s house for the past couple of months.

Well, it isn’t because I have been idle. Quite the reverse. I’ve been busy finishing my fourth novel, the first of  my new two-book deal with Headline and life, blog and all but essential functions have been put on hold since May.

It’s not healthy, in any way.

I’ve not gone for a run, barely walked, forgotten all about yoga.… read more



Last week it was the launch party for TARNISHED, held at Brighton Waterstones. Despite the strange, heavy April snowstorm that kicked off at about the same time as the launch, it was a great night. Loads of people turned up and enjoyed wine generously supplied by my publishers Headline, and amazing mozzarella, parmesan, parma ham and various salume provided, as ever, by my sis-in-law’s company the Ham & Cheese Co.

A book launch is a marvellous thing for the author.… read more

Win a signed copy of Tarnished!

I am completely delighted to let you know that Tarnished is book of the month at You’re Booked – the online community for crime readers and writers over at the Harrogate International Festivals Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival site.

Not only that, but they are running a competition to win a signed copy.

It’s not a piece of cake, though. You have to answer a devilishly difficult question…… read more

TARNISHED publication day!

It’s a funny old business, publication day. Particularly when it’s your third book and you’re writing a fourth, and the deadline is looming.

For your first novel you go out and have a long, boozy lunch, ‘possibly’ followed by an ill-advised walk along the seafront. Your second might see you nipping out to the pub and perhaps sharing a bottle or two of champagne in the evening with a couple of mates.… read more

Tarnished copies arrive!

OK, so I know it doesn’t look much different to the book in the photograph on my last but one post, but believe me, this is a different thing altogether.

They arrived a couple of days ago, a big box of them: beautiful, pristine, gorgeous and smelling as brand new books should.

It’s the finished trade paperback of my new novel TARNISHED, and, unlike the bound proof, it shouldn’t have any typos or errors. I am bracing myself to go through it and check, but as I’m loath to spoil the illusion of perfection it gives me as I flick through it today, perhaps I’ll put my Jonathan Franzen moment off until tomorrow.… read more

About Plotting and Planning

Last week I ran a three-hour MA class on plotting at City University. Apart from being one of the scariest things I have ever said yes to (and I admit this as a constant yes-person), planning the session coincided with a small sea-change in my working process.

If you have even glanced at some of my previous posts, you will have gleaned that, in NaNoWriMo parlance, I am a pantser, not a plotter.… read more

TARNISHED proofs arrive!

This is one of the most thrilling moments in the life of an author. Well, I suppose winning a major literary prize – say the Booker – might almost be up there… It’d be good to find out.

But really! Back down to earth, Crouch. This is the moment. You have spent the past year grappling with the contents of your mind, trying to give this story you have to tell shape and form and voice, feeling sometimes exhilarated, more often downhearted, wilting with guilt about leaving it alone for more than a day, feeling sick if youdon’t hit your deadlines; dreaming and thinking and scribbling and writing and writing and rewriting and cutting and slaying.… read more