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An Introduction to James Oswald

In 2012, when Scottish writer and farmer James Oswald self-published his debut crime novel, Natural Causes, he could not have imagined the response he was to receive. After seeing 1,500-2,000 downloads every day, the book shot to the number one position in the Kindle charts and ended up selling hundreds of thousands of copies.

Having tried to find a publisher for over twenty years, James came close to securing a publication deal a number of times but found that many were reluctant to take on a crime book that explores elements of the supernatural, as cross-over genres are often approached with caution. Although James has always wanted to be a writer, he inherited the farm on which he now lives and works in Fife after his parents were killed in a car crash. At the time, he lost all enthusiasm for writing and believed he would have to abandon it to make the farm work – but when he realised he could self-publish on Amazon, the feasibility of achieving his dream was restored. With the success of Natural Causes a bidding war ensued and James soon found himself signing with Penguin and spending his advance on a brand new tractor.

Now, James has five titles published in the highly successful Inspector McLean series – Natural Causes, The Book of Souls, The Hangman’s Song, Dead Men’s Bones and Prayer For The Dead. Set in Edinburgh, these gripping thrillers explores the Scottish city as though it were another character, with James taking advantage of its layers of dark and bloody history. He has recently released the first title in his epic fantasy series, with two more titles on the way.

Rather than distract him from his writing, tending to his 350-acre livestock farm provides him with the time he needs to think things through, refining the detail of his plots while driving along in his tractor, and considering his characters while delivering lambs. His two lives complement each other well, allowing James to write so that he can farm, and farm so that he can write.

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