UNIVERSITY lecturer Diana Bretherick is celebrating becoming a published author after beating thousands of hopefuls in a national competition.
Judges were so impressed with the criminology lecturer at University of Portsmouth’s crime thriller, The Devil’s City, that they crowned it winner of the first-ever Good Housekeeping novel competition, in association with Orion Books.
Her gripping story – which beat more than 7,000 others – is described as a dark and evocative tale of murder set in 19th century Turin, in Italy.
It will be published and available to buy next year – and Diana also won £25,000 for her efforts.
‘I was amazed when I found out I’d won, absolutely stunned,’ Diana said. ‘I didn’t think I would in a million years.’
She said the idea for the book came to her during a seminar when she was discussing the man reputed to be the father of criminology, the Italian Cesare Lombroso.
‘One of my students asked me if Lombroso had ever investigated crime and it gave me the seed of an idea,’ the 49-year-old said.
‘I visited Turin, the intriguing city where he lived and worked, which has a fascination with the occult and is reputed to be the location of the gates of hell and the stage was set.’
Inspired, she penned the novel and sent it off to a panel including bestselling author and co-director of the Chichester Writing Festival, Kate Mosse, best known for her novel Labyrinth.
Also on the panel were literary agent Luigi Bonomi, Orion Books fiction publishing director Kate Mills, and Good Housekeeping editorial director Lindsay Nicholson.
Commenting on Diana’s book, Kate Mills said: ‘It was an outstanding entry in the competition and a very worthy winner. I have no doubt Diana has a very promising career ahead of her as a writer.’
Diana is currently working on a sequel.