'We all give each other grief or happiness and that all comes out in the stories I write'

 she’s holding a canvas of a Penguin Classics cover of her first book, Georgia, which was gifted to her by her publisher

Lesley at her 25th anniversary in publishing party, which took place in 2018 at Pier Point, Torquay. - Credit: Shot by Rob

International best-selling author Lesley Pearse has lived a very eventful life, filled with some setbacks and plenty of triumphs, but all have shaped the writer that she is today.

Now living in Torbay, Lesley has sold more than 10 million copies of her books, with 29 titles under her belt.

She’s one of the nations best-loved storytellers and is a master of the gripping storyline, introducing her readers to strong and unforgettable characters in everything she writes.

Often influenced by others’ stories of courage and adversity, Lesley credits her natural ability to write and her love for reading to her successful career as an author.

“I was always good at English but I never thought that I would be a writer. It was like aspiring to be a concert pianist or ballerina to me. I used to do other people’s English homework so they would do my maths.

"I would read anything I got my hands on and I started off sending articles to the local paper. It was all a bit of fun really.

"I sent them a piece about the contents of my fridge and how there was nothing in it and they loved it! But of course, you can’t make a living out of writing like that, so I started writing short stories.”

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Through discovering her love of writing, Lesley enrolled on a short story writing course at the London School of Journalism, before writing her very first book.

“From the moment I started doing that, I just loved it. Towards the end of it, the story I wrote got published and they sent me £65 which is what the course had cost, so I thought well, I’m on a winning streak here.  

"I carried on with short stories for a while, but then the market got smaller and smaller for short stories, so I started writing a book.”

Lesley’s success didn’t happen overnight. After her first book flopped, Lesley never gave up trying and her resilience paid off.

“I didn’t do my research. I sent my first book to Virago would you believe, how cheeky is that? But I thought, I’m a virago, I’m a strong woman, but didn’t bother to research the publisher.

"They wrote back to me with a lovely letter, telling me to try again and so I did – and I never stopped trying.

"I eventually wrote my first novel Georgia. My agent loved it, and they held my hand with it throughout the seven years, until it was published.”

Despite Lesley’s success, her humble approach to her is key to the quality of the writing that she produces.

“I never believe anything I write is great, until someone tells me it is. When they day comes when I think I’m the best there is, is the day that I'll have to give it up.

"I think you need a bit of doubt in yourself, it gets you through the day.

"Life should be a long series of trying to get better at whatever we do, whether you paint rooms or dig roads. The longer you do it for, the better you’ll get at it."

Lesley’s advice for budding authors? Be persistent.

“You can have anything in your life if you want it badly enough and you work at it. I really do believe that.

"When I’m writing a new book, I know I’ve nailed it when I get to the stage where I’m thinking about the characters as if I'm thinking about my children or one of my friends. If they’ve become real to me, they’ll be real to someone else too.

"I didn’t have any money at all until I was 50 something.  Writing isn't a get rich quick scheme so people should forget that. You should write because you love it.”

Her latest novel, ‘Suspects,’ was released today (June 24). The storyline follows a young couple’s journey as they begin to realise that their dream new home isn’t all what it seems.