Welcome to Karen King who is chatting with Sally
Quilford about her writing life.
Welcome, Sally, I understand you have a new book just out
with Crooked Cat Publishing. Can

you tell us something about it?

Secret of Lakeham Abbey is my first ‘straight’ crime novel. Though as with all
my books there is an element of romance at its core, not least in the heart of
Percy Sullivan, the 13 year old sleuth who wants to be heroic and save Anne
Pargeter from execution. The novel is told in epistolary form; that is letters
and journals as told by different characters.
You publish traditionally and
self-publish. Can you tell us something about being a hybrid author?
like the freedom that self-publishing gives me, so that I don’t always have to
stick to the guidelines set by a publisher. It means I can find a home for
books that would be otherwise hard to place. I can also self-publish previously
published novels, so that readers online have access to works that might have
only been available in print for a short time.
I also love being published traditionally, as it’s a terrific validation of my
writing skills to have a professional editor decide that what I’ve written is
good enough for their range of books. Plus, it pays the bills a bit better than
How much planning do you do before you
start to write?
little, apart from spending several days thinking about my new idea. I may
write a very brief summary of no more than 500 words, but other than that I
just sit down and write. I figure I can iron out any problems with plot and
research once I have the story on the page.
Do you work in long-hand first or write
straight onto the computer?
to the computer for me. In fact, I’ve almost forgotten how to write in
longhand, I do so little of it now. Like all writers I always have a notebook
to hand for ideas, but they’re literally just quick notes to get the story
committed somewhere before I forget it.
How important do you think it is to have
an agent?
think it depends what you want to do with your writing career. If you want to
be published by a major publishing house (and let’s face it, who wouldn’t want
to be?) then an agent is essential for getting your work to the right people.
However, for the sort of writing I do – My Weekly Pocket Novels and my
self-published work – I don’t need an agent. I’ve heard the same said by Mills
& Boon authors, who don’t need an agent to be published by M&B, and
some say they prefer not to have one.
would love an agent, as a way of moving my career onto the next level, but at
the moment I don’t have anything to send to one and I can’t promise them fresh
Facebook or Twitter? Which is your
preferred promotion tool?
all the way. There’s more scope for sharing blurb and pictures. And more scope
for interacting with readers on a meaningful level. That said, the RNA’s own
#TuesNews hashtag on Twitter is proving to be a fantastic promotional tool for
so many members, including myself.
How do you relax when not writing?
watch TV boxed sets on Netflix or DVD. I read. I spend time with my family. I
go to RNA events whenever I can. But mostly I just think about what I’m going
to write when I get back to it (not that I always do, you understand. My head
is full of unused ideas!)
What’s next for author, Sally Quilford?
would love to write another Percy Sullivan novel, as he’s proved to be very
popular with readers and with me! I also have an idea for a saga, and an idea
for a Christmas novel for My Weekly. But at the time of writing I’m supporting
my husband through a serious illness so writing is taking a bit of a back seat.
The wonderful thing is that I know it will be there waiting for me when I
return to it.

Book Blurb:

When Percy Sullivan’s family take over Lakeham Abbey for the summer, it was a
chance to get away from battered post-war London and be cossetted by the
capable and pretty housekeeper, Anne Pargeter. 
They soon learn that the Abbey conceals a dark secret; one that someone was
willing to kill to hide. When Anne is convicted of murder and sentenced to
execution, Percy is determined to do all he can to save his friend from the
gallows. He encourages everyone to tell their side of the story. This leads to
some startling revelations, including a shocking secret that Percy’s mother
tried to hide from him. 

Will it be enough to save Anne’s life?


Quilford is the author of nearly 20 DC Thomson pocket novels, and several other
novels published by Ulverscroft. Her stories and articles have been published
in magazines in Britain and abroad. Until recently, Sally served on the
committee of the Romantic Novelists Association and organized their bi-annual

Twitter @quillers
Thank you for taking part, Sally, and good luck with your book.
This interview was by Karen King on behalf of the RNA Blogging Team
If you would like to be interviewed by the team please contact us on elaineeverest@aol.com
  1. Author
    Karen 2 years ago

    It was lovely talking to you, Sally. The Secret of Lakeham Abbey sounds intriguing. I wish you much success with it.
    I hope your husband make a full recovery soon.x

  2. Author
    Sandra Mackness 2 years ago

    Lovely to read your interview with Karen, Sally. I still thank my lucky stars I signed up for your workshop sessions a few years ago. Wishing you all the best with your new book and with your husband's health.
    Sandra (aka Jill Barry)

  3. Author
    Quillers 2 years ago

    Thank you for giving me space on the RNA Blog. It's always an honour to be here.

  4. Author
    Elaine Everest 2 years ago

    Thank you, Sally, a most interesting interview. Good luck with your book xxx

  5. Author
    Julie Vince 2 years ago

    Lovely post, Sally, The Secret of Lakeham Abbey sounds compelling. Wishing you every success with this book and all the best to your husband. xxx

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