St Albans novelist’s sequel to hit book published

Kate Griffin is releasing her second novel

Kate Griffin is releasing her second novel - Credit: Archant

Novelist Kate Griffin has come a long way since winning a story-writing competition and embarking on a career as an author.

Kate Griffin's first novel

Kate Griffin's first novel - Credit: Archant

For her second novel, Kitty Peck and The Child of Ill Fortune, has just been published straight into paperback and she is working on her third Kitty Peck tale.

As if that isn’t enough, she also has a deadline to meet for her fourth Kitty Peck novel - not bad for a writer who says she is a bit lazy yet spends hours writing at her basement dining table. “I am the Mo Farah of procrastination.” she joked.

In fact she admits that during the recent hot weather as she has been beavering away in the basement and seeing the legs of people passing by out enjoying the sunshine, she has yearned to join them outside.

Instead, she has got on with ensuring she hits the September deadline for the third novel, Kitty Peck and the House of Lost Souls.

Kate Griffin

Kate Griffin - Credit: Archant

The fourth Kitty Peck novel has been commissioned but the deadline for that is not until January 2017 giving Kate some much-need breathing space.

When Kate, 52, who lives in Albert Street, St Albans, wrote her first novel, Kitty Peck and the Music Hall Murders, it was greeted with critical acclaim and shortlisted for the CWA Endeavour Historical Dagger.

Kitty Peck and the Child of Ill Fortune, while a standalone novel, picks up the story of spirited 17-year-old Londoner Kitty but this time she is far from the music hall and finds herself as the reluctant heiress to Paradise, the criminal empire previously overseen by the formidable Lady Ginger.

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It takes her to 19th century Paris and back to Victorian London where she realises a child she is asked to help is the target of a murderer.

Kate Griffin

Kate Griffin - Credit: Archant

Kate, who has lived with her husband Stephen in St Albans on and off for the past 20 years, still works three days a week at the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.

It is a job which suits someone with a self-confessed passion for history and perhaps more importantly, the imagination to convert her particular fascination for Victorian England into a series of historical mystery novels.

Her maternal family lived in Limehouse in East London at the end of the 19th century and, said Kate, “I thought it was widely romantic having parents born in Victorian London although of course it wasn’t.”

She believes that subconsciously she has based Kitty on her mother with her protagonist demonstrating her mum’s fierce sense of justice, witty sense of humour and Cockney accent.

Kate has plenty of ideas for future Kitty Peck novels but admits: “This particular series of books will come to a natural end but there are several other characters I could work with.”

Screen rights for Kitty Peck and the Music Hall Murders have been bought by Lovely Day, makers of ITV’s Grantchester, and the first series is currently being written for ITV by Daisy Coulam, who adapted Grantchester, ironically also written by an author with strong St Albans connections, James Runcie.

Kitty Peck and The Child of Ill Fortune is published in paperback by Faber & Faber, price £7.99. It is also available as an ebook.