We are the co-authors of six novels including Killing Cupid, Catch Your Death, All Fall Down, Forward Slash, From the Cradle and The Blissfully Dead. We have also written nine solo novels between us. Dubbed ‘internet publishing sensations’ after being the first UK self-published authors to reach the No.1 and No.2 spots simultaneously on Amazon.co.uk back in 2011, we have had a wildly varied and interesting publishing career.
Mark lives in Wolverhampton with his wife and young family, while Louise lives in Surrey with her daughter. We love talking to readers on Twitter, @mredwards and @louisevoss1, and run a very lively Facebook page: facebook.com/vossandedwards, where we chat, run competitions and offer prizes. Many of our character names have been suggested by competition winners – most notably, a dog called Rihanna…
We love hearing from readers and always reply. You can contact us here.
The long version
We both spent much of the nineties trying to get a publishing deal. Hailing from Salisbury, Louise worked in the music industry in London and New York, where she took a class led by Regina McBride at the West Side YMCA. By the time she moved back to London in 1997 she had an agent and two completed manuscripts but no book deal. Meanwhile, Mark was living in his home town of Hastings, writing a number of novels that helped him secure an agent but, like Louise, he couldn’t get a book deal.
In 1999, Mark featured on a documentary on BBC 2 about aspiring writers. Louise contacted him via his agent, as we were both in the same situation, and we became email pen-pals. We exchanged emails for two years before we finally met. During that time Louise got a publishing deal for To Be Someone, the first novel to come with its own soundtrack. To Be Someone came out in 2001, followed by three more novels, but the third and fourth weren’t successful enough for Transworld to renew Louise’s deal a third time and she lost her contract in 2005.
Before that, we finally met each other in 2000 and a year later came up with the idea for Killing Cupid while on a boozy night out – a he-said/she-said psychological thriller that we were still excited about the next morning. We set about writing it. Mark moved to Japan part-way through it and we went back to being email friends for a year. Killing Cupid was optioned by the BBC before it was finished and we were convinced this would help us find a publisher – but it wasn’t to be. The feedback we got was that because it was a blend of thriller and comedy it would be hard to market.
When Mark returned to the UK, we decided to write something that was more of a straight thriller, and spent a year writing Catch Your Death. By this point, neither of us had a book deal or an agent. We finished it in summer 2006 then tried and failed to interest an agent. And then we pretty much gave up. Louise continued to write but Mark stopped completely, exhausted by all the years of rejection, deciding to concentrate on his marketing career and family instead, to do something where he was appreciated and valued. The dream was over.
Four years passed…
In 2010, Mark stumbled across a blog post about a few American authors who were self-publishing on Amazon’s new Kindle platform. After getting a Kindle for his birthday, he persuaded Louise that they should try self-publishing Killing Cupid and Catch Your Death. Louise was initially reluctant. She was sure we would only sell two copies and it would be embarrassing. But we set about revising and updating the books and, in Feb 2011, Killing Cupid went live on Amazon. On day one, as Louise predicted, it sold two copies.
But then things started to pick up and by the time we self-published Catch Your Death in May 2011, Killing Cupid was in the top 100 on Amazon.co.uk. Within weeks, both books shot up the chart and in June, Catch reached No.1 and Cupid hit No.2. We were the first unknown British indie writers to reach the top of the Kindle chart.
We quickly acquired an agent and, while we were appearing on numerous TV programmes and in national newspapers, were offered a four-book deal by HarperCollins. We accepted, convinced that all the years of struggle were over…
Catch and Cupid were re-published in paperback in 2012 but neither sold as well as we had hoped. By the time All Fall Down was published in Jan 2013 our publisher had effectively given up on us and the book sank without trace. We had already finished Forward Slash, but started 2013 in a dark place. It appeared our writing careers were over – again.
Then Mark decided to self-publish a solo novel he had been working on for a long time. The Magpies was released in March 2013. Within days it had entered the Amazon Top 100. Within weeks it was No.1. It went on to sell 200,000 copies, the best selling British psychological thriller of the year, and led to a deal with Thomas & Mercer, part of Amazon Publishing.
While The Magpies was flying up the chart, we wrote From the Cradle, the first in a series featuring DI Patrick Lennon. This book was snapped up by Thomas & Mercer and published in October 2014, with the second Lennon novel, The Blissfully Dead, following a year later.
Now, we are now writing together as well as producing solo novels. We’ve had an awful lot of ups and downs in our writing careers, and expect there to be many more. But the most important thing is that as long as we can find a way to reach our audience we will keep doing what we love – writing books that are always thrilling, never boring – rather like our professional lives…
We are represented by Sam Copeland at RCW.
Our film agent is Emily Hayward Whitlock at Knight Hall.