In the beginning there was…

LesleyToday, I’m delighted to welcome to my blog Lesley Cookman, author of the enormously popular Libby Sarjeant Murder Mystery series and co-founder of Accent Press. As some of you will be aware, I’m connected to Accent via my L.C. Wilkinson work. Here Lesley takes us through how it all began.

Ten years ago, Accent Press was born. It all began when Hazel Cushion and I decided to publish a charity book on behalf of Breast Cancer. We had met doing a Master’s Degree in Wales and the course members had published a book of short stories. Hazel had enjoyed that so much, we decided to carry on, with Hazel doing the business side and me hijacking authors. Luckily, I already knew several high profile authors whom I was able to force – sorry, encourage – into donating stories, then I threw the whole thing open to the members of The Romantic Novelists’ Association. My husband produced the cover, which was to become the template for the whole series of Sexy Shorts, we launched at The Groucho in London and set off on a grand tour, which included the National Library of Wales and the Guildford Literary Festival. Hazel then set up the business in her back bedroom and Accent took off.

SExy Short for ChristmasSexy Shorts became the inspiration for Xcite, the imprint which Hazel started a few years later. By this time, I was no longer connected with Accent in an editorial capacity but as an author, and although I can’t read or write erotica, I welcomed it – I knew it was a “coming thing” (no pun intended) as I’d watched its rise (oh, sorry) in the US, along with the rise of the ebook, and I knew it would bring great business to the company.  I did attempt an erotic novella when asked, but it sent my blood pressure through the roof and I haven’t stopped taking the tablets ever since. So I admire authors like Laura who can do it so well without becoming clichéd.

Accent, and indeed, Xcite, have now become established as one of the foremost independent publishers in the UK, and I am proud to have been in at the beginning. We celebrated a couple of months ago with champagne and cake in Accent’s new offices, and I’m looking forward to the next ten years.

Find out more about Lesley and her work here: @LesleyCookman

New MurderintheDarkFrontThe 12th novel in Lesley’s Libby Sarjeant Murder Mystery series is out now in ebook with the print edition following on 10th October.

Buy it here: Murder in the Dark

Thanks for popping by, Lesley, and best of luck with the book. I’ll be buying copies for a couple of relatives who adore murder mysteries come Christmas.


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