North Shields crime writer signed by JK Rowling agent earns a wizard book deal!

Crime writer Rob Scragg.
Crime writer Rob Scragg.

A crime writer signed up by the literary agents of author JK Rowling has had his first novel published.

Rob Scragg, 43, from North Shields, hopes to follow in the footsteps of the Harry Potter writer after securing a two-book deal.

His detective thriller, What Falls Between the Cracks, has been published by Allison & Busby.

It realises a lifelong ambition of the BT worker and dad-of-two, who began writing his first short stories while a pupil at Tynemouth’s King’s School.

He said: “I used to write short stories and poetry at school, but focussed on my career for long time after that, until around seven years ago, when I started my first serious crack at a novel.

“I always read quite a lot of crime thrillers and so started coming up with my own plots. I came up with a plot and wrote the first two or three chapters.

The front cover of the book.

The front cover of the book.

“I left it to one side but came back to it in 2014 and pushed myself to write every night, starting at 500 words a day, which turned into 1,000 words a day, until I completed my novel. It took me a few years from there to write something good enough to attract an agent, and I signed with The Blair Partnership in 2016, who also represent JK Rowling, so no pressure!”

Despite a number of rejections from publishers, Rob, who is dad to newborn Jacob and daughter Lucy, 18, pushed himself to complete his crime novel and secure the deal.

His book is the first in what he hopes to be a series following the crime-busting adventures of Detective Jake Porter and partner Nick Styles.

“The novels are set in London,” says Rob, “But I have also written a third, standalone crime novel set in the North East and featuring North Shields, Tynemouth and Newcastle.”

Rob hasn’t given up his day job as head of European recruitment with BT, but has been promoting his book at festivals and book signings.

His work was praised by a panel of agents and editors at the 2016 Theakston’s Crime Festival. Rob is also a founding member of the North East Noir crime writers group which meets to discuss crime fiction and offer feedback to would-novelists.

“I’ve no plans to leave BT unless the books took off in a big way,” says Rob, “So for now I work by day, and write by night.”

Rob, who lives in Cornhill Close, with wife Nicola, 38, will be signing copies of his book at the Newcastle Crime Festival, at the Lit & Phil Library, Newcastle, on Saturday.

* What Falls Between the Cracks, by Robert Scragg (Allison & Busby) is available on Amazon priced £14.38 hardback/£8.99 paperback.

Click here to see author Robert Scragg read extracts from his new book