My View, Mel Hewitt: What makes a bestselling fiction writer?

Best selling crime writer Martina Cole, with her new book, at a book signing and question and answer event, organised by Silverdell Books, held at Country Hall, Preston.
Best selling crime writer Martina Cole, with her new book, at a book signing and question and answer event, organised by Silverdell Books, held at Country Hall, Preston.
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We’ve all been there – the name on the tip of your tongue that just won’t come out. 
‘Ooh yes, thingummy jig who used to go out with whatsername – they had a pagoda in the garden and a dog called Colin.’

The evasive answer to the crossword clue or conundrum that resolutely refuses to pop into your head is such a frustrating thing.

I love a quiz. Years ago I nearly broke my ankle rushing to the stage with the answer to a tiebreaker question at a pub quiz night. I just needed to get there first with the answer – which was about Roger Moore modelling for knitting patterns in his early career. (It isworth googling – the pictures are fab!)

So you can imagine my horror when last Friday night at the WI Quiz I couldn’t recall the first name of the Swedish detective Wallander. The fact I have watched all the TV versions and read the books by Henning Mankell made no difference.

The shame of having to admit this to my husband later, who smiled and instantly knew the answer was Kurt, knew no bounds.

As often in life, there are events small and large which link together and whilst writing about Wallander the news came through that sadly Henning Mankell had died.

He was a man with a talent for writing with honesty and humanity in a most compelling way. I admired him greatly. To write a book – something I aspire to but have never done – takes, I imagine, such self-discipline, drive and courage.

There are books written at the cost of their author’s health, books that have changed history and some which have brought joy to millions across the world.

Which is a reason I am so looking forward to meeting Martina Cole when she visits Doncaster next Tuesday. I will be in conversation with Martina, who will be chatting about her life and career for a special evening, which I hope will bring me closer to answering the question – what makes a bestselling author?

Martina has had phenomenal success having written some 23 novels. Sales of Martina’s books have exceeded 14 million and her works have been adapted for stage and screen.

Her new work is Get Even, of which she will be signing copies on the night.

Tickets are available from Waterstones in the Frenchgate Centre and the evening will take place at The Trades and Labour Club – hope I’ll see you there.

Getting back to the quiz, there are two answers I didn’t know that will now always stay with me: Canada has the longest coastline of any country in the world and – on another literary note – it’s H Rider Haggard who wrote King Solomon’s Mines. I never knew there was an‘H’ at the front and I’ve read the book!