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It feels good to win, doesn’t it? Perhaps it’s a perfect pitch at a crime festival, or an award for your debut novel; these can be all that it takes to launch your career in writing! Join authors Robert Scragg, Rachel Sargeant, Alison Belsham and Margaret Kirk as they discuss how their wins have influenced and shaped their career as writers.

Robert Scragg

Robert Scragg had a random mix of jobs before taking the dive into crime writing; he’s been a bookseller, pizza deliverer, Karate instructor and football coach. He lives in Tyne & Wear, is a founding member of the North East Noir crime writers group.

Rachel Sargeant

Rachel Sargeant is the author of Kindle Top Ten bestseller The Perfect Neighbours, a psychological thriller.

Her second novel with HarperCollins, The Good Teacher, is a detective mystery, featuring DC Pippa “Agatha” Adams.

Book number three, out soon, will be The Roommates, a psychological thriller set in a university freshers' week.

She is also the author of Gallipoli: Year of Love and Duty, a novel featuring Great War nurses on a hospital ship.Rachel is a previous winner of Writing Magazine’s Crime Short Story competition and has been placed or shortlisted in various competitions, including the Bristol Short Story Prize.

She was born in Lincolnshire and is a graduate of Aberystwyth University. She also holds a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Lancaster University. After many years in Germany, she now lives in Gloucestershire with her family. Her hobbies are swimming, visiting country houses and coffee shops, and going to the theatre.She is represented by Marilia Savvides at Peters, Fraser and Dunlop.

Alison Belsham

In 2016, Alison Belsham won the Bloody Scotland Pitch Perfect competition with her fledgling idea for a serial killer novel. This went on to secure her both an agent and publishing deal, and The Tattoo Thief was published in 2018. Its sequel, Poison Ink will be hitting the shelves in September 2019.

Margaret Kirk

Margaret Kirk writes ‘Highland Noir’ Scottish crime fiction, set in and around her home town of Inverness.

Her debut novel, Shadow Man, won the Good Housekeeping First Novel Competition in 2016. Described as ‘a harrowing and horrific game of consequences’ by Val McDermid, it was published in 2017 by Orion. Book 2 in the DI Lukas Mahler series, What Lies Buried, will appear in June 2019.

Margaret is also the writer of several award-winning short stories, including The Seal Singers, which has been published in translation in Germany, and Still Life, which was broadcast on Radio 4 as part of the ‘Scottish Shorts’ series.

To check out some of these authors' books, visit our Recommended Reading page!