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CRIME PAYS; Exclusive pounds 300k FOR FIRST-TIME WRITER.

Byline: By Ben Spencer

FIRST-TIME novelist Caro Ramsay's crime debut has won her a pounds 300,000 advance.

The 37-year-old osteopath's novel Absolution so impressed publishers Penguin that they offered her the huge deal for a five-book series.

Caro said yesterday: "It is just incredible. The first publisher I put my book in front of decided to take it.

"When I told the others in my writing group what had happened, they could not believe it."

She added: "I had thought about writing a book a long time ago. But I only started properly about three or four years ago when I was having problems with my back.

"Once I started, I found it quite easy to write. I almost have an addiction now to putting words on paper. It's something I have to do otherwise I go in a sulk.

"I finished writing the book about two years ago and decided to go to a writers' group to get some help with it."

A member of the writers' group put Caro, from Elderslie, Renfrewshire, in touch with Jane Gregory, who represents best-selling Scots crime writer Val McDermid.

They worked on it for about a year before sending it off to publishers. Caro said: "One day at work, I got a phone call from Jane. She told me she had a letter from a company interested in publishing the book even though it had only been sent out for a few hours.

"When she told me how much they wanted to pay for it, I couldn't believe it."

Caro has written the sequel and is currently writing the third.

Absolution tells the tale of three detectives trying to catch the "Crucifixion Killer" - a murderer who kills women and leaves them posed with their arms outstretched. Much of the action takes place in Glasgow's west end.

Caro said: "There are a lot of great Scottish crime writers. It's got a lot to do with the weather and our football teams. You get so used to this kind of depression, it's easy to write about murders."

CAPTION(S):

NEW CHAPTER: Osteopath Caro is on her third book; THRILLER: Caro's first book
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 25, 2007
Words:359
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