Vicki has been fond of writing ever since she was a little girl designing and writing articles for her own childhood newspaper, which she named, The Gazette. At secondary school her interest in writing grew and she decided she wanted to become a Journalist. She began studying A-levels in English, Spanish and Media Studies at Bridgwater College, followed by a BA (HONS) Degree in Journalism at Southampton Institute. Upon graduating with a 2:1 degree, Vicki ventured into her first journalism role at the Weston & Worle News before jumping to a regional daily newspaper, The Bristol Post, 18 months later. During her 10-year journalism career Vicki covered some notable stories and was selected as a finalist in the Press Gazette Scoop of the Year Awards (2008).
Vicki’s stories covered all aspects, but she was always particularly fond of crime, visiting crime scenes and capturing news on the ground as it happened. She once even discovered the identity of a killer before the police by traipsing the cordon and talking to neighbours. One of the most interesting cases she covered involved a serial sex attacker. It was that experience of attending crime scenes, press conferences and talking to victims, that made her want to write a novel. The book, named Deadly Footsteps back then, began to come together and was sent to an agent over 10-years ago. After hearing back almost immediately she was thrilled but disheartened when she was told to change the sex assaults in case they offended women and write another 50,000 words. Having just had her first child, Vicki simply didn’t have the time and the book was put back in the cupboard.
It was only in the last two years that Vicki thought about finishing the book. Having run her own successful PR company in Weston-super-Mare, Paramount PR, for six years, and with her children now older, she felt it was the right time to chase her dream of publishing her book.
“I came to realise after losing several members of my family very close together that life is too short. I didn’t want to look back on my life in a few years’ time and say I wish I’d done that. I guess my motto in life is ‘if you don’t try, you’ll never know!” I dug out my old book and decided I could make it work, only this time it would be better. I drew on personal insight for inspiration, using my past journalistic experiences and a private theme; depression. I conducted research and met up with wonderful forensic experts, visited the mortuary to learn about autopsy procedures and spent time finding real settings that helped formed the new version; Briguella. I’m so glad the book was turned down all those years ago as it allowed me to make it the best it could be. I suppose everything happens for a reason.”
Vicki lives in Wick St Lawrence, outside Weston-super-Mare with her husband Kevin, two children, Matthew and Emily, and her Bischon Frise dog, Bella. When she is not writing her hobbies include travelling to new countries to chase the sunshine and making homemade bath bombs, soaps and bath salts. She also enjoys going to the gym, running, great food and wine!
Interviews & media
Author's note: Briguella
Briguella is based upon my career as a regional journalist. The idea came from a serial attacker case I covered involving a sex attacker hunting several women in Weston-super-Mare. He was never caught.
The story is a thriller, and has elements of psychological thriller, drama, family life, grief, and romance.
Journalist Kate Rivendale is based upon my experience of covering the case. While much of the book is fiction, many of the incidents including the baby scalding, the shooting, and the incident with Charlie’s children being taken into care by social services, all happened.
Being so close to trauma and crime did have an impact on me. It was a tough time door stepping victim’s and even led to me being threatened and pushed around on several occasions. That was one of the decisions I chose to end my journalism career.
Kate struggles with depression, as had I in the past and I wanted to try and convey that everyone goes through difficult times in their lives and show that Kate is not perfect. None of us are.
While I never experienced the miscarriage, I did draw on my own grief when writing these chapters.
DCI Beckley was based on a real person and there was a genuine spark between them. Though I’ll have to keep his identity a secret.
I did carry out a considerable amount of research to make the book as authentic as possible and I cannot thank those who helped me enough.
They include: Steve Green, former Home Office Forensic Scientist & Head of the Investigative Crime Team at Chepstow Forensic Science Laboratory, who gave invaluable insight into forensics and exceptional guidance.
Richard Sleeman, Scientific Director at Mass Spec Analytical Ltd, Forensic Advisor's Vicki Rowsell & Steve Robinson, and Crime Scene Investigator Bindy Cardy, who helped bring authenticity to the book.
John Pitchers gave valuable assistance with autopsy procedures, registered paramedics, Sarah and Natalie, ensured the accuracy of my medical text, and my invaluable police sources were Chris Weigold, former head of Local Policing Directorate, Avon & Somerset Police, and Police Sergeant Jenkinson.