The most successful British crime author you’ve never heard of

After working as a security manager for 19 years, Marsons took voluntary redundancy to give herself more time to write

Angela Marsons is probably the most successful British author you haven’t heard of.

Now her rise to the top of the literary pile is complete with the BBC planning a TV crime drama based on her books.

Marsons, 55, who lives in the Black Country, has sold millions of digital copies of her novels worldwide.

BBC Studios – which is producing the series with Los Angles-based Bees and Honey Films – is so excited by her writing that it has optioned all of her books.

But traditional publishers have not seen the potential of Marsons’ main character, the formidable policewoman Kim Stone – “a detective who hides dark secrets, who will stop at nothing to protect the innocent”. There was even some protest against the setting of the stories in the Black Country.

After working for 19 years as a shopping center security manager, Marsons took voluntary redundancy ten years ago to give herself more time to write – only to find she was about to give up on that dream because she was struggling to pay the mortgage.

Her confidence dwindled, as she gave him one last tour with digital publishers Bookouture, now an imprint of Hachette.

Fully expecting another rejection letter, she sold possessions to raise money and had taken a night shift security job.

She recalled: “A few days later, I had an email from a commissioning editor saying I love this, please let me know if you have any more ideas. I couldn’t reply to that email fast enough to say that two more books have been written and these are all the other ideas I have. A week later, they signed for the first four books.”

Four months later, she had her first Kindle number one seller with her first, titled Silent Scream, a story about unearthing human remains and disturbing secrets at a former children’s home.

It has now sold more than 1.1m copies. On Amazon, it attracted thousands of five-star reviews. One reader describes it as “a real page turner”, another calls it “a standard complaint from start to finish”.

In May, Miss Marsons will publish her 20th book in a series which has sold well over 5.5m copies. Guilty Mothers is a murder story involving beauty pageants.

Deborah Sathe, creative director of drama at BBC Studios, told the Telegraph that the first adaptation is in development and there are plans for early next year in the West Midlands: “Angela is passionate about the Black Country, as we are.”

Idiosyncratic characters

She said the books were “so exciting, with a wonderful bunch of idiosyncratic characters”, adding: “No crime is too dark or scary for DI Stone, who throws herself into the crime – and often the criminals, ignoring her. own safety to facilitate justice. Angel can write a poem like no other, which means you have to devour chapter after chapter, which often keeps me up past my bedtime – but it’s best converted from book to screen . We can’t wait for them to entertain TV viewers.

“It’s not unusual for BBC Studios to pick up a non-traditional IP, but what Angela has achieved through a digital path is remarkable in terms of the size of her fan base.”

In her stories, Miss Marsons drew on her security experience: “In one of the books, there was a scene about a possible suicide from a high-rise car park and that was a situation I dealt with in real life. “

Her books consistently rise to the top on pre-orders alone. In March, Bookouture released the cover of her latest novel and, like her previous books, it went straight to the top of the charts within hours of going live for pre-order – this time to literally within an hour. New releases have generally returned to the top position on the day of publication.

Ms Marsons’ agent, Lorella Belli, said the digital sales figures were “staggering”, with readers as far afield as Japan and South America: “When the BBC starts selling its drama series, it’s not just the UK that will be involved. able to sell it in all the other countries it succeeds in.”

The success of the e-book led to a print deal, but Ms Marsons did not feel that her books needed to be on supermarket shelves to reach her readers.

Although she has received scant mentions in the UK national press, that is likely to change when the BBC production begins.

Ms Belli said of Ms Marsons previous rejection: “Everyone rejected him in the early days. But when she started to succeed with Bookouture, there was a lot of interest and offers from other publishers wanting her to leave Bookouture, but she is so loyal. She always said, ‘no, they weren’t the ones who believed in me’. Not many people would do that.”

Asked how excited she was to bring her stories to life on the BBC screen, Miss Marsons said: “It’s the stuff dreams are made of.”

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