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The One With The Origin Story

Ahoy there, me hearties! Tis a day of fair, warm-spirited winds . . . a day of blossoming, bountiful sun beams . . . a day of rum spilling joyously and treasure bursting forth as if Neptune himself were offering it to the scurvy hordes . . .

Okay, I'll stop.

Basically, I've got a book out today.

Yep, you guessed it. Murder at the Pirate Festival is released TODAY and you can finally get this totally unputdownable cosy mystery with Devonshire pirate festival vibes in your very hands.

It's been a long time coming, this little book. Longer, in fact, than I even realised at first.

You might know from my last blog post, that I had the idea for the book about a year ago, during the annual Brixham Pirate Festival of 2023, whilst chatting with my youngest son. As the boom of the firing cannons tore through the town, we contemplated how a person could, if they were so motivated, get away with murder at that exact moment.

As soon as I had the idea, I was obsessed. Proper obsessed. I knew this story had potential and that I was the author gal to tease it out.

And tease it out I did . . . during the year that followed, I schemed, plotted and devised like mad. The characters came to me easily; the names seemed as natural as my own; the setting (I am lucky enough to say) was effortlessly inspired by my home town of Brixham in South Devon. The story itself took a little more work but I was, like I say, obsessed.

As you might know, this is an entirely new genre for me. So far, I've written contemporary uplifting fiction with a little bit of romance and a whole lot of soul. The Life Is Yours Series, if you haven't yet read it, is packed full of down-to-earth wisdom and page-turning relatability. It has taken time to reach its proper readership, possibly because it doesn't fit neatly into a specific genre. As an author with an admittedly slightly anarchic soul, I'm kind of proud of this. However, sometimes it bothers others because they like to know where they stand with a book before they even open it up.

And I get that. I really do.

I knew Murder at the Pirate Festival would be different. I knew it already fit into the genre of cosy murder mystery which, let's face it, is on trend at the moment. Actually, scrap 'at the moment' because murder mystery is the trend that just keeps, well, trending. Think Richard Osman, Alexander McCall Smith, Arthur Conan Doyle and, the Queen herself, Agatha Christie.

Without even meaning to, I'd come up with an idea for a book that might actually appeal to a mass readership. Throw in a by-the-sea Devonshire setting and some pirates fighting for their life and I was on a fictional path of no return.

For the majority of this past year, whilst I've been crafting my story, I actually kidded myself this was all new to me. Like this genre, although I'd devoured it as a reader myself, was something I never could have imagined writing. Everything was so new and sparkly and unplanned.

It wasn't until I was doing an author's talk about the Life Is Yours Series, that it occurred to me that I've had this idea before. Oh, how I love to tell the story but as you're not here to listen to me wang on about my entire life, I won't go into great detail right now. The short version is that when I had a top-of-a-mountain epiphany about writing many years ago, it was quickly followed by a month-long existential crisis at my laptop.

Yup. I knew I needed to write . . . but I just couldn't write.

Why? Well it surely wasn't for lack of fairy lights around my desk or inspirational writing quotes stuck to my wall or cups of tea or packets of custard creams. I figured out, in the end, that I was trying to write the wrong thing. I was trying to write a murder mystery.

The idea was good but the timing felt all wrong. I had, after all, just had the most defining year of my life (thus far) and the phrase 'Life Is Yours' was embedded in my synapses like an iron-willed squatter. Now was not the time for a murder mystery, cosy or otherwise.

The Life Is Yours books took flight, but the murder mystery did not.

Until now . . .

I guess I wanted to share this story with you because it tickles me. It tickles me that my wiser mind knew that it wasn't the right time for a murder mystery back in 2006. That the time would come and it would be when I least expected it. It would come when . . .

  • I lived in a totally new place, filled with swashbuckling inspiration

  • I was more confident about my writing abilities

  • I had a writing desk overlooking an actual pirate ship

  • I was surrounded by authors willing to support and advise me

  • I was more informed about neurodivergence (and was diagnosed myself)

My wiser mind knew the idea would literally boom into my life . . . an actual cannon blast just feet from where I'd be standing at the time. Even so, it would take me a good few months to figure out what had happened. To realise that every idea has its time. Every story comes out when it's good and ready.

My friends, I was going to write a murder mystery all along.

So, here it is! I really hope you love Paulie's story of murder, intrigue and piratey fun.

You can buy Murder at the Pirate Festival on Amazon or you can get a fancy signed copy in my online bookshop here. I've popped the blurb at the end of this post so you can see if it's your kinda thing.

If you're reading this on the actual publication date (2nd May 2024) and you're anywhere near Brixham in South Devon, why not come along to my launch event at the actual Brixham Pirate Festival this weekend? I'll be there, suitably trussed up like a buxom wench, touting first-edition signed copies of the book to the pirate hordes. I can't wait to release Paulie's story just paces from the pirate ship that inspired the setting for the murder (that's the Golden Hind if you're not familiar - check it out!).

Thank you for reading the origin story of Murder at the Pirate Festival (even if the opening chapter went way further back than I first realised). Thank you also, for being the awesome reader that you are and entertaining my frivolous bookish schemes to the ends of the earth / plank.

Go well,





One dead pirate girl. Thousands of eye-patched witnesses. A whole Devonshire town struggling to believe it was murder.


Local teenager, Paulie Trinket dreams of popularity. After she witnesses something at Berryport’s annual Pirate Festival that could prove local golden girl, Tanya Withers was murdered, she sees a chance to achieve her dream.


But making herself heard in this small harbour town isn’t easy. When Paulie discovers Berryport’s only detective has retired, she decides to investigate herself. Soon Tanya’s tycoon boyfriend starts acting shady, and Paulie’s offbeat inquiry style lands her a whole new circle of friends she didn’t even ask for.


With a college counsellor hounding her about her ADHD, sudden interest from Hollywood movie-makers, and the threat of her aunt’s bakery business going under, genuine friendship feels more unreachable than ever. Will uncovering the truth about Tanya really be worth it? Or could Paulie’s chance at happiness disappear like a pirate ship lost on a stormy sea?


P.S. If you enjoyed this blog post then make sure you sign up to get ALL Abigail's bookish news as and when it happens. You'll also bag yourself a copy of Life Is Yours - the first book in the Life Is Yours Trilogy. Sign up here.

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