NI author expects big sales boost after Richard & Judy book selection

Stuart Neville (centre) with Richard Madeley and Judy Finnegan. Inclusion on their book club list likely means a huge boost to sales figures
Stuart Neville (centre) with Richard Madeley and Judy Finnegan. Inclusion on their book club list likely means a huge boost to sales figures

A Northern Irish crime author has declared that no success will dim his desire to keep writing, after his work was included on one of the literary world’s most sought-after shortlists.

Stuart Neville was speaking as it was revealed his novel ‘Those We Left Behind’ has been chosen for the Richard and Judy summer book club list – a massive boon to any book’s sales figures.

The shortlist is still selected every year even though the Richard and Judy TV show itself has ceased broadcasting, and are available online.

The book – centring on a boy’s conviction for murdering his stepfather – is Mr Neville’s sixth published novel.

Asked if he would retire if the book makes his fortune, he said the chances of making that amount of money is akin to “winning the lottery”.

But he added: “No – I think as long as I am fit to write, I’ll keep doing it. As long as I have the faculties to do it, I’ll keep doing it. And as long as anybody wants to publish me. I think it’s one of those things you don’t really retire from.”

His books are all set in Northern Ireland (except ‘Ratlines’, set in Dublin), and sell especially well in the USA.

The news that his latest crime novel has been thrust into the national limelight comes at a time when the TV show ‘The Secret’ is keeping audiences enthralled with a dramatised version of the real-life murders of Trevor Buchanan and Lesley Howell in Co Londonderry in 1991.

Some family members have objected to the show, and asked where he stands on dramatising real-life tragedies, he said: “I fully understand the family’s position. Personally, it’s not something I would write about.

“But, at the same time, I do not think that it shouldn’t be written about. I guess it’s a matter of whether things are handled in good taste or not.”

He watched episode one of the four-part drama, and thought it “very well done”.

“At the same time, at the back of my mind there is that slight discomfort, knowing this is going to be very, very raw for some people,” he said.

“I wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing it myself, but I wouldn’t condemn anybody else for doing it. There’s a fine line between showing sensitivity, and that turning into censorship.

“We can’t start restricting what stories can be told based on who it might hurt.”