Dark thrillers set Norfolk author Gayle Curtis’ writing career alight

Gayle Curtis is celebrating the publication of her first book Too Close. Picture: Jamie Maxwell

Gayle Curtis is celebrating the publication of her first book Too Close. Picture: Jamie Maxwell - Credit: Jamie Maxwell

Good things come to those who wait, they say, and that certainly rings true for Norfolk-born author Gayle Curtis.

Gayle Curtis is celebrating the publication of her first book Too Close. Picture: Jamie Maxwell

Gayle Curtis is celebrating the publication of her first book Too Close. Picture: Jamie Maxwell - Credit: Jamie Maxwell

Nine years after she was first picked up by a literary agent she is finally seeing the fruits of her creative labours reap success.

Mrs Curtis, who grew up in Downham Market and now lives near Fakenham, vividly remembers the day she was picked up by a publisher and offered a four-book deal.

She saw her first book Too Close published last year and will see her second psychological thriller published next year.

'I have written the other two but they still need some work so they are due to come out in 2019 and 2020,' she said.

'I had so many rejections when I was starting out so it was a hobby for a long time. When the Feldstein Agency took me on in 2008 I was able to start writing full time.'

Mrs Curtis, who turns 40 this year, gave up her job as a personal trainer to focus on her writing. Her agent tried several publishers but it was when they decided to put out an Amazon Kindle story that she started to get noticed.

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And she has not looked back. In 2015 she received the email she had been dreaming of - London-based publisher BonnierZaffre were offering her a four-book deal.

'I remember that day, getting the email from Paul Feldstein titled 'Are you sitting down',' she said. 'I could not believe it.'

Norfolk certainly features heavily in her novels, recreating places she has visited for certain scenes and memories from her childhood. Her mother's side of the family were fishermen in King's Lynn and she loves the sea.

'I had a close friend in Downham Market who lived in an old mid-terrace and her bedroom was in the attic,' she said. 'I've never forgotten that and it was very different to where I grew up, a little bit sinister even. I've also set Too Close in the Fens so it is more or less based on Downham Market.

'I don't really know why I write psychological thrillers though, because I had a lovely childhood and nothing dark ever happened to me. But I do a lot of reading and I like researching crimes so I pick up on little details which I develop. It is like a film set in my head.

'Too Close is not to everyone's taste as it deals with the difficult subject of incest and it is quite erotic but in a suggestive way rather than descriptive.

'I have been asked if I would write something on the lines of Fifty Shades of Grey but that is not going to happen. My mum and dad read everything I write!'

Mrs Curtis is now hoping for film and television adaptations, akin to her fellow BonnierZaffre author Lisa Hilton who has just got a Hollywood film deal for her erotic thriller Maestra.

But in the meantime she is just thrilled to see her first book in the Amazon best-sellers' list and have a promise from her publisher of first refusal on her fifth book.

'It is going really well,' she said. 'I have worked really hard and it has taken a while to get here but I just love writing.'

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