Author who is happy with a life of crime writing

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Steve Mosby started out like a lot of aspiring writers. He had attempted several novels, spent hours daydreaming about what might be and in the meantime worked as a temp doing what he describes as “unfulfilling jobs for small amounts of money”.

For most of those who imagine they are destined to become the next Alan Bennett or Keith Waterhouse, reality generally intrudes. The angst-ridden manuscripts are put away and proper jobs have to be secured.

Mosby was, he admits, one of the lucky ones. Having secured a publishing deal with Orion, his first book The Third Person came out in 2004. While it had elements of science fiction, it was marketed as a crime novel and Mosby has been ploughing the same furrow ever since.

His seventh novel Dark Room has just been published and while he may not have the profile of an Ian Rankin or a Lee Child, Mosby, who has also been nominated for the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, has a reputation which is growing.

“It’s funny really, I never set out to be a crime writer, but that’s how the first book was marketed and it just sort of stuck,” says the 34-year-old, who studied philosophy at Leeds University. “Crime has obviously changed a lot since it was all centred around a whodunit, it’s now such a broad church and one I’m more than happy to be a little part of.”

Mosby now has the luxury of being able to write full-time and generally spends his days tucked away in the quiet corner of a pub or cafe.

The Packhorse is his current favourite and being away from his home helps him concentrate.

“Obviously being an author is about talent, but it’s also about sheer hard work. It’s about getting up everyday and putting one word in front of the other.

“Everyone works differently, but I’d much rather close my computer down knowing I have typed 2,000 words, some of which might be awful, than five brilliant words. I like to have something to work with.”

Mosby has been nominated for the novel of the year award for Black Flowers, and he is in illustrious company. Ian Rankin is in the mix for The Impossible Dead, as is SJ Watson’s Before I Go To Sleep.

The winner will be announced on the opening night of this year’s Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, which will kick start four days of talks and events in Harrogate. Chaired this year by Mark Billingham, the usual suspects will be found roaming the corridors of the town’s Old Swan Hotel.

Bestselling author John Connolly will begin the programme of talks, with the likes of Kate Mosse, Val McDermid and Harlon Coben waiting in the wings, while Front Row’s Mark Lawson is due to chair a debate on the future of the printed book.

“Back in 2003 when the very first crime festival took place in Harrogate, the idea was to create a small weekend of events to enhance the programme of the already well-established International Festival,” says event director Erica Morris.

“However, then Val McDermid got involved. Thanks to her knowledge, contacts and tenacity, she brought some of the biggest names in crime to Harrogate.

“We knew then that we weren’t going to stay small for long and this year we will welcome more than 80 of the world’s best crime writers and sell more than 10,000 tickets.”

Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, July 19 to 22. 01423 502116.