Stephen Leather

Biography

Stephen Leather is one of the UK’s most successful thriller writers, an eBook and Sunday Times bestseller and author of the critically acclaimed Dan “Spider’ Shepherd series and the Jack Nightingale supernatural detective novels. Before becoming a novelist he was a journalist for more than ten years on newspapers such as The Times, the Daily Mirror, the Glasgow Herald, the Daily Mail and the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. He is one of the country’s most successful eBook authors and his eBooks have topped the Amazon Kindle charts in the UK and the US. In 2011 alone he sold more than 500,000 eBooks and was voted by The Bookseller magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the UK publishing world. Born in Manchester, he began writing full time in 1992. His bestsellers have been translated into fifteen languages. He has also written for television shows such as London’s Burning, The Knock and the BBC’s Murder in Mind series and two of his books, The Stretch and The Bombmaker, were filmed for TV. You can find out more from his website www.stephenleather.com and you can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/stephenleather

Smashwords Interview

When did you first start writing?
As a kid. My uncle was a TV screenwriter and did shows like The Avengers, Department S, Danger Man, Randall and Hopkierk (Deceased). He went on to write a few thrillers, too. I guess I always wanted to be like him. I tried writing fiction at school and again at university but wasn't any good at it. It was only after I'd worked as a journalist for ten years that I had the necessary skills to write a novel. They say that it takes 10,000 hours to acquire any skill and I definitely believe that's true in the case of writing.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
My regular publisher had consistently turned down several of my books, so they languished in my desk drawer and then on various hard drives. When ePublishing came onto the scene I was in the perfect position to take advantage of it. I had a backlist that was already selling well, I had two new books a year being published by Hodder and Stoughton, and I had new novels that I could publish myself. I started self publishing in the summer of 2010 and with six months I had three self-published eBook bestsellers on my hands - Once Bitten, The Basement and Dreamer's Cat. In the first year alone I sold more than half a million eBooks and now my total eBook sales are close to two million.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Stephen Leather online


Books

More Short Fuses (Four Free Short Stories)
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Price: Free! Words: 48,590. Language: British English. Published: June 17, 2014. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller
(5.00)
Four free short stories from bestselling author Stephen Leather, plus opening chapters of five of his bestselling thrillers. The short stories are: Rules of Engagement (where Spider Shepherd has to help a friend who is in serious trouble with the police), The Constituency Meeting (where a group of old folks decide to commit a murder), Ghost Kids and Massage Therapy.
Blood Bath (Seven Free Jack Nightingale Short Stories)
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Price: Free! Words: 63,140. Language: English. Published: April 27, 2014. Category: Fiction » Horror » Occult
(5.00)
Supernatural detective Jack Nightingale investigates a spate of mysterious deaths in a struggling hotel. Plus six extra short stories from fans and writers drawing inspiration from the Blood Bath title and cover.
Personal Protection (A Spider Shepherd Short Story)
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Series: Spider Shepherd Short Stories, Book 6. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 13,250. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: March 12, 2014. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
An action-packed short story featuring Dan “Spider” Shepherd during his days in the SAS. In Personal Protection he is assigned as a bodyguard to a Middle Eastern ruler whose life is under threat.
Narrow Escape (A Spider Shepherd Short Story)
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Series: Spider Shepherd Short Stories, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 12,540. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: March 5, 2014. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
An action-packed short story featuring Dan “Spider” Shepherd during his days on the SAS Escape & Evasion course. Mid-way through the exercise Shepherd realises that all is not as it seems - and his life is on the line.
Still Bleeding (A Jack Nightingale Short Story)
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Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 14,550. Language: English. Published: December 20, 2013. Category: Fiction » Horror » Crime
A short story by the bestselling author of the Jack Nightingale series. Supernatural detective Nightingale is called in to investigate a case of stigmata. A young girl is bleeding from her hands and feet and claims to be talking to the Virgin Mary. But Nightingale soon realises that all is not as it seems - and the girl is in mortal danger.
Inspector Zhang and the Island of the Dead (A Short Story)
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Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 10,260. Language: English. Published: November 27, 2013. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
Inspector Zhang is called in to investigate a murder where a doctor is knifed in a locked room. But nothing is as it first appears. The story is about 10,000 words, about thirty pages, perfect if you have half an hour to spare.
Rough Diamonds (A Spider Shepherd Short Story)
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Series: Spider Shepherd Short Stories, Book 5. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 12,530. Language: English. Published: November 2, 2013. Category: Fiction » Adventure » War & military
An action-packed short story featuring Dan “Spider” Shepherd during his days as an SAS trooper in war-torn Sierra Leone. Rough Diamonds is about 12,000 words, about thirty pages, perfect if you have half an hour to spare.
Hostile Territory (A Spider Shepherd Short Story)
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Series: Spider Shepherd Short Stories, Book 4. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 13,270. Language: English. Published: October 29, 2013. Category: Fiction » Adventure » War & military
An action-packed short story featuring Dan “Spider” Shepherd during his days as an SAS trooper in war-torn Sierra Leone. Hostile Territory is about 14,000 words, about thirty pages, perfect if you have half an hour to spare.
Warning Order (A Spider Shepherd Short Story)
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Series: Spider Shepherd Short Stories, Book 3. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 14,620. Language: English. Published: October 25, 2013. Category: Fiction » Adventure » War & military
An action-packed short story featuring SAS trooper Dan "Spider" Shepherd. Spider almost dies in an ill-fated training exercise and then puts his life on the line in war-torn Sierra Leone. Shepherd went on to become an undercover cop in London in the series written by bestselling author Stephen Leather.
Natural Selection (A Free Spider Shepherd Short Story)
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Series: Spider Shepherd Short Stories, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 14,450. Language: English. Published: October 13, 2013. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
(5.00)
An action-packed short story featuring Dan “Spider” Shepherd during his days on the SAS selection course. Shepherd is tested to his limits and gets his nickname. Natural Selection is about 14,000 words, about thirty pages, perfect if you have half an hour to spare.
Dead Drop (A Spider Shepherd Short Story)
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Series: Spider Shepherd Short Stories, Book 9. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 14,420. Language: British English. Published: April 28, 2013. Category: Fiction » Adventure » War & military
(4.50)
A short story featuring SAS trooper Dan "Spider" Shepherd in action in Afghanistan, helping a 12-year-old boy get revenge for the death of his father. Shepherd went on to become an undercover cop in London in the series written by bestselling author Stephen Leather.
Kill Zone (A Spider Shepherd Short Story)
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Series: Spider Shepherd Short Stories, Book 8. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 14,570. Language: English. Published: February 8, 2013. Category: Fiction » Adventure » War & military
(5.00)
SAS trooper Dan "Spider" Shepherd in action in Afghanistan, on the trail of a murderous Taliban assassin.
Take Two
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Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 91,900. Language: English. Published: January 7, 2013. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
(5.00)
Carolyn Castle is one of the most famous faces in the UK - a soap opera star known to millions. But when she witnesses a gangland killing she has to ask herself if her fame could be the death of her.
Friendly Fire (A Spider Shepherd Short Story)
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Series: Spider Shepherd Short Stories, Book 7. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 13,980. Language: English. Published: December 16, 2012. Category: Fiction » Adventure » War & military
(5.00)
An action-packed short story featuring Dan “Spider” Shepherd during his days as an SAS trooper in Afghanistan. It’s November 2001 and Shepherd is sent on a dangerous mission to a Taliban stronghold on the trail of the most wanted man in the world – Osama Bin Laden.
Inspector Zhang Goes To Harrogate (A Short Story)
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Series: Inspector Zhang Short Stories, Book 6. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 11,730. Language: English. Published: August 24, 2012. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
(5.00)
Inspector Zhang goes to Harrogate to attend a mystery writers convention. But what was supposed to be a vacation turns into one of his most difficult cases when a famous writer is found dead in a locked room.
Short Fuses (Four short stories)
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Price: Free! Words: 47,500. Language: British English. Published: June 14, 2012. Category: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
(5.00)
Four short stories from bestselling author Stephen Leather, plus opening chapters of six of his bestselling thrillers.
Inspector Zhang and the Perfect Alibi (a short story)
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Series: Inspector Zhang Short Stories, Book 5. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,750. Language: English. Published: March 9, 2012. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
Inspector Zhang of the Singapore Police Force is called in to what appears to be an open and shut case. A young woman has been killed during a burglary. The fingerprints on the murder weapon point to a well-known house-breaker. But the burglar has a cast-iron alibi because at the time of the murder he was in police custody.
The Bestseller
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Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 59,480. Language: English. Published: September 27, 2011. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Hard-Boiled
(4.50)
Would you kill to write a bestseller? Well Adrian Slater says that he’s prepared to do just that – and announces the fact in a creative writing class. Lecturer Dudley Grose is convinced that Slater is a psychopath and means what he says. But the Dean of the university doesn’t believe him and neither do the cops - until a pretty young student is murdered.
Inspector Zhang and the Disappearing Drugs (a short story)
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Series: Inspector Zhang Short Stories, Book 4. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 16,720. Language: English. Published: July 7, 2011. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
Inspector Zhang of the SIngapore Police Force is called in to investigate when a consignment of narcotics vanishes from under the eyes of a team of Drugs Squad detectives. It's a locked room mystery that puts Inspector Zhang's detective skills to the test.
Inspector Zhang and the Falling Woman (a short story)
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Series: Inspector Zhang Short Stories, Book 3. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 16,040. Language: English. Published: July 7, 2011. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
Inspector Zhang of the Singapore Police Force is horrified when a woman falls to her death in front of him one evening. But what seems to be a simple case of suicide soon becomes a much more complicated affair and one that will test his detective skills to the limit.
Inspector Zhang and the Dead Thai Gangster (a short story)
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Series: Inspector Zhang Short Stories, Book 2. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 17,780. Language: English. Published: July 7, 2011. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
The inscrutable Inspector Zhang of the Singapore Police Force is Bangkok-bound on a passenger jet when a passenger is found dead in the first class cabin. But who killed him, and why? It's up to Inspector Zhang and his assistant, Sergeant Lee, to solve the case.
Inspector Zhang Gets His Wish (A Free Short Story)
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Series: Inspector Zhang Short Stories, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 15,070. Language: English. Published: June 16, 2011. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
(4.75)
Inspector Zhang loves mysteries, but as a Detective Inspector with the Singapore Police Force he knows that mysteries are few and far between. There are relatively few crimes in the city state and those that are committed are usually solved quickly. But that all changes when Inspector Zhang is called to a top Singapore hotel where a guest has been found murdered in a locked room.