The Crime Readers' Association

Martin Edwards – A New Life for Take My Breath Away

4th July 2014

Take My Breath Away is a novel of psychological suspense that means a great deal to me, and I’m delighted that at long last, it’s beginning a new life as an ebook, published by Allison & Busby. This was the novel that brought me to A&B, when David Shelley, the then editor, took a shine to my work. It was after this stand-alone book appeared that David suggested I write a new series with a rural setting. The result was the Lake District Mysteries, so I’ll always be grateful to him. And he’s now the editor of a promising writer called J.K. Rowling, so I hope he does as much for her career!!

The background to Take My Breath Away is that, after seven Harry Devlin novels, I was ready for a change, and to stretch my writing in a fresh direction. I wasn’t (and still am not) fed up with Harry – I’d love to continue writing about him in the future, no question. But I had an idea for a one-off book that really excited me, and I was desperate to write it up.

I knew that executing the story idea would be a challenge, because of its unusual and ambitious nature, but I didn’t realise quite how much of a challenge it would prove to be. The book was harder to get right than any other that I’ve produced, and it went through many revisions, and much cutting. David was keen that I make the story crisper and more accessible, and though this took time to achieve, I am sure his editorial advice was spot on.

The novel is set in London, and I still think the tantalising opening scenes are among the best I’ve written. Two storylines gradually converge, and there’s a sub-text that (to my surprise) few reviewers spotted, though I was, and am, pleased with it. I hoped that this would be my “breakthrough” novel, but it wasn’t to be. Reviews were very good, but sales weren’t as high as for the Harry Devlin books, and certainly far below those for my Lake District Mysteries. I must admit I was disappointed, because I feel that it’s at least as good as my series novels, and despite the many differences, it does have a whodunit aspect.

To this day, I remain proud of the book, and I like to think it has aged well. And you never know – perhaps its time has finally come, and lots of ebook fans will take it to their hearts! I’d love it if that happened. Take My Breath Away is certainly different from my other novels, and if any of you do give it a go, I hope you’ll find it a satisfying and intriguing read.


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