Path to Publication: Rebecca Kelly

From page one I was hooked on Monstrous Souls by Rebecca Kelly.  I don’t give out many five stars ratings on Goodreads, but this one earned them. I didn’t want to stop reading and finished it in record time thanks to excellent writing and a gripping plot that held me tight and didn’t let go until the last page.

Take a look at the premise:

Over a decade ago, Heidi was the victim of a brutal attack that left her hospitalized, her younger sister missing, and her best friend dead. But Heidi doesn’t remember any of that. She’s lived her life since then with little memory of her friends and family and no recollection of the crime.

But lately, it’s all starting to come back.  As Heidi begins retracing the events that lead to the assault, she is forced to confront the pain and guilt she’s long kept buried. But Heidi isn’t the only one digging up the past, and the closer she gets to remembering the truth, the more danger she’s in.

When the truth is worse than fiction, is the past worth reliving?

I asked Rebecca about her path to publication; I was curious to see what her experience was, and she kindly shared the following with me.

Thank you for the opportunity to talk here about my journey to publication. Strangely, I had never dreamed of becoming a writer when I was younger, and yet I do not recall a time when I did not have words and ideas in my head and a pen in my hand. Over the years I’ve won a few short story competitions, written songs, attempted a ‘horror’. Having said all that, I never really imagined finishing an entire book, and it being published.  That desire changed about four years ago when I began reading a Karin Slaughter thriller on holiday. The book was breathtakingly good. After I put it down, the ambition to write a hard-hitting, dark thriller hit me like a bolt out of the blue and I began Monstrous Souls, writing a ridiculous 10,000 on that first day.


When we returned home from holiday, my life fell back along the familiar lines of work and family. Although I picked at Monstrous Souls, I didn’t believe I could seriously consider it as a money earning prospect and began a bookkeeping course.  About a year later and hating every single second of bookkeeping, I returned to my novel and felt as if I were coming home.

Writing did and always had felt ‘right’. Over the next months, I struggled to fit in the time but it wasn’t easy juggling my responsibilities – the book was nearly three quarters written by then. I realized however, that if I didn’t make a determined effort, I would never finish.  For three months, I ignored all but essential housework, fed the family on convenience food (which was largely burned) and worked every hour I could grab.  When I finally wrote ‘The End’ on the last page of Monstrous Souls, it was one of the best feelings I have ever experienced. I had no idea if the result of my toil was of any value and so I edited it and sent it off to a few kind friends who had offered to read. The feedback was encouraging enough for me to consider trying to secure an agent.

Writing can be a very solitary pursuit and it was around this time that I began to take part in a  monthly, mini-story competition on Twitter. Through this I met some serious fellow writers who, like me, were hoping for that breakthrough moment. A few of us formed a group; that was two years ago and we now talk every day and help each other with beta reading, pitches and query letters and have lots of fun too! We met in ‘real life’ last year for the book launch of the first of our writers to secure publication. I started sending my book out to the world of agents which was very daunting. Although it received some interest, ultimately there were huge flaws in the story and the structure and it did not gain representation. I did however get feedback from some full requests which I used to begin remodeling the book.


You write so beautifully- the inside of your mind must be a terrible place Writer problems or could be a prompt but I think it describes a writer's tone and what it going on around them in their personal life.


The contact with other writers was hugely helpful in keeping me at the laptop when all the words seemed wrong and I received rejections. Meanwhile, I put my bookkeeping course in the bin and began another novel in a totally different genre: it’s a historical, Gothic ghost story set on a remote Scottish island. I made this genre jump because I realized how flooded the thriller market was and had begun to believe that Monstrous Souls would never find a home and I had noticed how Gothic stories with a supernatural element had become extremely popular.

I edited Monstrous Souls yet again and sent it out for a final round last year and was utterly thrilled when Agora Books told me that they wanted to publish it. There were lots of edits required to pull Monstrous Souls into shape, but my editor at Agora is fantastic, and working with her has been like a masterclass in editing and structuring.

In between edits, I finished the next-  would say my ghost story here to avoid confusion novel- Skin-whistle, and sent it out hoping to get an agent offer, which this time I did. I am now in the final stages of editing that book and my agent will take it to publishers soon.


"If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot, and write a lot." Stephen King


With each book and each day, I feel more passionate about writing and cannot imagine now that I left it so long to make a proper start. I have shuffled my life around giving myself adequate time to write and I otherwise it makes it sound like you’ve given yourself adequate time to hope generally! hope, with luck and good health, that I may continue until my words or my passion run out.


Order the book here 

Follow Rebecca on Instagram here


If you are an author and want to share your publishing journey, please reach out to me,

Distressedbluejeans (at) or via Instagram!