Sheila Quigley is a fellow member of the Northern Chapter of the Crime Writers’ Association, and someone I always enjoy bumping into at social events and conventions. I first met her not long after she’d hit the headlines, when her first two books were sold by her agent for a very large sum. According to one article on the internet, the figure was £3 million, but I suspect this is a misprint, and an extra zero was added by mistake! Even so, £300,000 (if that was the right figure) is a fabulous two-book contract, the sort of achievement most of us can only dream about.
One of the things that made Sheila’s personal story so newsworthy was her background. She started work at 15 in her native North East, as a tailor’s presser. She married at 18 and now has nine grandchildren. But fame and fortune haven’t changed her – she has lived on the same estate for 30 years.
Sheila has spoken in public of how health problems, including cataract operations, a couple of years ago set her back a bit, but I’m delighted to see that she has made a good recovery, and has just published a new novel. She’s changed publisher, and is now with an outfit I haven’t come across before, called Tonto Books, who are based in the North East. And Tonto really have done her proud with a nice looking hardback edition of The Road to Hell.
I’m looking forward to reading the book, which I’m sure will be as gritty as its predecessors. From the blurb, I gather that it’s a story involving a murder which replicates a crime of many years before. And it boasts a front cover quote from Tess Gerritsen, no less – impressive.