Michelle Spring‘s six crime novels, published by Orion in the UK , Ballantine in the USA and Random House in Canada, have been translated into French, Dutch, Finnish, German and Russian. Michelle is also co-author of a best-selling social science textbook, and has published four other non-fiction books on a variety of topics. She has won major awards for both her fiction and her creative non-fiction. Her latest book is a collaboration with the outstanding American crime novelist Laurie R. King; as well as a comprehensive introduction to the hows and whys of the genre, Crime and Thriller Writing: a Writers’ and Artists’ Companion (Bloomsbury) delivers 26 essays packed with insights from top writers in the field.
Michelle enjoys one-to-one mentoring, and is equally comfortable advising on the effectiveness of short pieces and the structure and coherence of full-length manuscripts. She has more than twenty years experience of lecturing in sociology (at Anglia Ruskin University and Cambridge University) and, since devoting herself to writing fiction, she has: held posts as Royal Literary Fellow (at Newnham College, Cambridge and at Magdalene College, Cambridge); taught creative writing (on the Master’s programme at the Institute of Education, University of London, and at the Institute of Continuing Education, University of Cambridge); offered crime writing workshops at several literary festivals; and given public lectures on novel writing in (among others) the Chawton House Public Lecture series, the Toronto Public Library, and the Popular Culture Annual Meeting in New Orleans. She chaired for many years the panel of mentors and judges for the Arts.
'The experience working with Michelle has brought me so much more than I expected. Michelle’s also given me really practical advice - from small things like ‘you don’t need so many things in a list’ and ‘don’t introduce seven different character names on the first page’, to much more strategic insights about how to balance the dialogue and description, how to reshape plot action to get the reader more invested in my characters, and even how to bring out the book theme. What I’ve loved about working with Michelle is that she’s so positive and interested in my book - I’d recommend the experience to anyone who wants to improve their work.' – Joanna Munro
'Council Escalator programme devoted to developing the careers of promising new writers. ‘The advice and support I received from Michelle laid the best possible foundations for all that’s happened since. Her patience and encouragement gave me the confidence to develop my own voice, and her belief in my writing created a safe place in which to experiment. To work with someone who is so insightful about the genre of crime fiction and the industry as a whole was a wonderful experience, and one which continues to inspire me.’ – Nicola Upson, author of An Expert in Murder and other novels featuring Golden-Age mystery writer Josephine Tey
‘Being mentored by Michelle Spring was a wonderfully rich and rewarding experience. Michelle is both kind and understanding, which really helped me feel comfortable when showing her my unfinished work. She always had an immediate grasp of what I was trying to achieve and could see where I was succeeding in this and where not. Her attention to the text was astonishingly detailed and painstaking, and her insights as to where I might improve it, and how, were spot on every time. Michelle looked at every aspect of my writing, from the construction of a single sentence, through locations and characters, right up to the narrative arc of the book as a whole. Her notes were fantastic and clear, as were the warm, detailed, and wide-ranging conversations we had. The whole experience of being mentored by Michelle was like having a really great friend reading my work, but one who happened to be terrifically experienced and insightful, and a widely-published and successful author to boot.’ – Martin Ungless
‘An Arts Council grant enabled me to pay for Michelle to mentor me over a six month period while I was completing the first draft of a novel. She was a tremendous help. As part of the process she produced an extensive report in which she analysed the novel chapter by chapter, giving detailed instructions on what needed fixing. She is a very encouraging mentor who has the experience to gently but firmly point out the pit falls and set you in the right direction.’ – Judy Forshaw
‘Having Michelle Spring as a mentor was essential to my creative development but, just as crucially, she gave me the confidence to persevere in the face of rejections and set-backs. Writing is such an uncertain occupation, and having the support and guidance of a mentor can make all the difference. I was fortunate enough to work with Michelle for a year whilst I completed The Sacrificial Man and both novel and author went through many improvements under her watchful supervision.’ – Ruth Dugdall
‘My relationship with Michelle Spring worked incredibly well and I remember words of her advice most days while I’m writing away. ‘My time spent working with Michelle as a mentor was enjoyable and productive on so many levels. Michelle’s many years of experience as a writer were distilled into practical advice on crafting my novel, working on all aspects of plotting and character development, and keeping the reader hooked to the end. Michelle dispensed constructive criticism, editorial advice and warm encouragement throughout, the end result being a much leaner first novel, on the basis of which I soon found an agent and publisher. However, just as important as this success, Michelle’s mentoring skills helped to cement a quiet self belief that I could continue to develop as a writer, something for which I shall always be immensely grateful.’ – Sarah Ridgard, author of Seldom Seen, Random House, 2013
‘Put simply, Michelle Spring helped me to transform a creaky outline into a polished first draft. But so much more – she combines a powerful analysis of plot and searching insights into character with a sympathetic and supportive approach to her ‘mentees’. A highly successful writer in her own right, Michelle understands the process and will deftly guide you through, around or over the many obstacles along the way.’ – Kathryn N. Skoyles, Escalator winner
‘Michelle has been extremely helpful on many levels with the novel I have been trying to write for some time. She has sharpened the structure, differentiated more clearly between the characters, helped cut the fat and given an overall clearer focus. ‘Michelle has been a warm and sympathetic mentor. I have looked forward to our meetings as highly constructive and somewhere we can be entirely honest with humour!!’ – Veronica Thornton