Success Stories

Adventures in Fiction has a strong reputation for supporting emerging new writers.
We’re always immensely pleased and proud to watch them progress and to highlight success.


The Tattoo Thief
Alison Belsham

(Trapeze Books 2018)

A fast-paced serial killer thriller that follows a trail of blood and ink and cut skin through the streets of Brighton. Now an international bestseller, it is the first of a trilogy.

On the Apprenticeships scheme “Highly recommended … Not only did I learn about the technicalities, but also about the industry and getting published.”

The Other Mrs Walker
Mary Paulson Ellis

(Pan Macmillan. 2016)

Published as part of a two book deal: an intriguing and evocative debut that opens up a hidden world behind Edinburgh’s genteel façade.

“It really helped me to step back and take the time needed to consider how best to fulfill the potential of the material. I feel energized by your intervention.”

Until Our Blood Is Dry
Kit Habianic

(Parthian Books. 2014)

A big, dramatic novel set in South Wales during the miner’s strike of 1984.

“A roaring success: a gripping and ultimately moving novel that fills a gap in our national story…” Wales Arts Review.

Hunting Shadows
Sheila Bugler

(Brandon 2013)

A chilling psychological debut which attracted praise from major crime writers, Ken Bruen and Cathi Unsworth. Sheila has since published a further six novels.


Secrets of the Sea House
Elisabeth Gifford

(Atlantic Books 2013)

A wonderfully evocative debut set in 1860’s Scotland. Shortlisted For Historical Writers’ Association’s Debut Crown For Best First Historical Novel.

Read Elizabeth’s blog

Shireen Jilla

(Quartet 2012)

A dark, dysfunctional family psychodrama, played out against the backdrop of privileged society in New York City’s Upper East Side. Published with a great strapline from Boris Johnson.

“I found your report invaluable and referred to it again and again.”

The Tyranny of the Blood
Jo Reed

(Wild Wolf Press 2011)

The first of the Blood Dancer trilogy. Former apprentice, Jo Reed was mentored by the award winning scifi/fantasy writer Liz Williams who also championed her work.

“Compelling and intense, The Tyranny of the Blood draws you into a dark world of danger and power play, where one man must battle to change his own destiny – and that of his race.”

Inside Out
Andrew Theophilou

(Legend Press 2007)

A tragicomic coming of age (and coming out) novella set within the London Greek community. Former Apprentice Andrew was our first success story.

“After months of sometimes brutally honest editorial feedback, my novel began to make progress in leaps and bounds.”

Cows Can’t Jump
Philip Bowne

(Neem Tree Press 2020)

Winner of the Spotlight First Novel Award 2018. An explosive, laugh out loud coming-of-age odyssey.

“Detailed, direct, honest feedback really helped me to take my writing up a notch. Above all, my mentor was kind and constructive. I learnt so much from him.”

Lament for a Siege Town
Clare Hawkins

(Red Lion Books 2015)

Independent publishing continues to lead the way with targeted fiction and novels with strong local interest. Lament for a Siege Town by Clare Hawkins is set in Colchester during the English Civil Wars and comes with a ringing endorsement from a local historian.

“It was extremely useful to have such detailed and constructive comments.”

Stretching It.
Mandy Sutter

(Indigo Dreams 2013)

A quirky and original romantic comedy set in Leeds.

“This is just to re-iterate how brilliant your report was. It was so clear and insightful and I just know it is going to be really, really useful.”

The Skull In the Wood
Sandra Greaves

(Chicken House 2013)

Over to the dark side, with a spooky supernatural tale for children. Winner of Undiscovered Voices 2012, The Skull In the Wood is a nail-biting ghost story set on Dartmoor.

“Working with my mentor, Catherine Johnson, was a revelation— her judgment was spot on.”

The Sacrificial Man
Ruth Dugdall

(Legend Press 2012)

Ruth’s first novel made a splash with a CWA Debut award and an appearance on Woman’s Hour.

“It confirmed my judgment and reassured me that my instincts re editing were good.”

The Sun Hasn’t Fallen from the Sky
Alison Gangel

(Bloomsbury 2012)

Former apprentice, Alison Gangel’s debut was Book of the Week on Radio 4 Woman’s Hour and collected great reviews.

“Excellent advice, ongoing support and a level of expertise that just wasn’t available on my MA or the various workshops I have attended over the years.”

The Marriage Bureau for Rich People
Farahad Zama

(Little Brown. 2010)

Farahad Zama’s first novel was selected as a Richard and Judy Book of the Month in 2010 and has been translated into eight languages. He has since published Not All Marriages are Made in Heaven the third novel in his trilogy.

” I met my new agent today! Exciting stuff—and you had a big hand in making it possible!”

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