How I got published by A.M. Castle

Today I’m pleased to welcome psychological thriller and cosy crime writer, Alice Castle, to the blog with her guest post: How I got published by A.M. Castle.

Over to Alice:

How I got published by A.M. Castle

For about half a second, it looked as though my publishing story was going to be one of those ridiculously lucky, happy-ever-after fairytales. I sent off a bunch of letters about my charming chicklit masterpiece, and got a call on my answering machine from a famous agent saying he’d read my book until late into the night and was desperate to represent me. It was honestly one of the most exciting moments of my life. I signed up in seconds flat.

Then two long years passed, while absolutely nothing happened at all. Oh, I had a couple of lovely lunches with the agent. But he wasn’t quite sure yet about showing the book to anyone… could I just do this little tweak? And make that small change? Of course I could. I had faith in him, and his strange process. Things were just going to take a little longer than I had originally hoped. But, unbeknownst to me, my agent had acquired the rights to a recently dead, fabulously successful author’s lucrative back catalogue – and he had absolutely no reason to hustle any more. My book and I were going nowhere.

Someone eventually let me in on the secret and I left that agent and signed up with another. This one bust several guts on my behalf, eventually securing, to our joint surprise, a contract to publish my book with a very eminent publishing house… in Germany. People in Germany loved it, the UK not so much. It wasn’t until the agent asked me to write a sequel, and I spent 60,000 words writing nonsense about scented candles, that I realised I couldn’t bear chicklit either. ‘What do you actually read?’ My agent asked me in perfectly justified exasperation. Duh, that was easy. I’d been hooked on crime since I picked up Agatha Christie’s Sparkling Cyanide at the age of 13. It was like the moment when the detective calls the suspects into the library and reveals whodunit. Things finally slotted into place.

Right after that, I wrote my first crime novel, Death in Dulwich. It was published in 2017 and was followed in quick succession by half a dozen more cozy crimes featuring my beloved single mum amateur sleuth, Beth Haldane, who potters around south east London tripping over dead bodies. Then, after a chat with an editor who pointed out one of my books, Calamity in Camberwell, was shading into psychological thriller territory, I wrote The Perfect Widow for HQDigital. Last year, in lockdown, I wrote The Invitation, trying my hand for the first time at the holy grail of murder mystery formats, the ‘closed circle’ novel.

Will I always write locked room mysteries now? I don’t know. If my time getting published has taught me anything, it’s that the path to publication – for me – never has run smooth. There have been dead ends, but unexpected uplands too. And I’m confidently expecting more of the ‘jaw-dropping twists’ they love to talk about in blurbs, before we get to The End.

Read Alice’s blog or see her other books via her website

 About Alice

Before turning to crime, Alice Castle was a feature writer on national newspapers including the Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. She writes the Death in Dulwich cozy crime series for Darkstroke/Crooked Cat as Alice Castle and psychological thrillers for HQDigital under the name A.M. Castle. Her first HQ thriller, The Perfect Widow, was an Amazon number one best seller in Noir Crime and is a top-selling audiobook. Her latest, The Invitation, was published by HQDigital in March 2021. Find her on Twitter, @AliceMCastle, or on her websites and She lives in south east London with her two daughters and two cats.



Twitter: (1) Alice Castle (@AliceMCastle) / Twitter

Amazon UK author page:

Amazon US author page:

Links to buy Alice’s books

Death in Dulwich is now also out as an audiobook: Death in Dulwich: The London Murder Mysteries, Volume 1 (Audio Download): Alice Castle, Alex Lee, Alice Castle: Audible Audiobooks

The Perfect Widow audiobook is available here:


Thank you, Alice. Great to hear your publication story. I’m in awe of your prolific writing success.

Here are links to more Publication Journey guest posts.

Helen Cooper

Chris Curran

Jackie Baldwin

Anne Coates

By Rachel Sargeant

Rachel Sargeant is a British author. She writes the Gloucestershire Crime Series, published by Hobeck Books. The first title is Her Deadly Friend, and the second is Her Charming Man. Her titles with HarperCollins are: The Roommates, a psychological thriller set in a university during freshers' week; The Good Teacher, a detective mystery, featuring DC Pippa “Agatha” Adams, and The Perfect Neighbours, a psychological thriller set in Germany. Rachel studied at Aberystwyth University, spent several years living in Germany and now lives in Gloucestershire with her family. She holds a PhD from the University of Birmingham.

Comments (2)

  1. Alice Castle 15th April 2021 at 1:30 pm

    Hi Rachel, thanks so much for having me on your blog today! I hope the story of my publishing journey will encourage those writers who aren’t yet published to keep going 🙂

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