A WOMAN from Salford has released her debut book after signing a deal with publishing giants HarperCollins.
Gemma Metcalfe, 31, born and raised in Eccles, today released her first novel ‘Trust Me’ – a psychological thriller centred around a phone call between a woman in Tenerife and a man in Manchester.
This comes after she signed a two-book deal with HQ Digital, a company under the HarperCollins UK umbrella, last year.
Gemma, who is also a primary school teacher, currently lives in Tenerife with her husband, Danny. The pair met seven years ago, and have been married for four.
“It was a bit of a typical story, actually. I came over with my friend on holiday and then I met a barman out here. But he’s not Spanish, he’s from Derby,” she explained.
“So, I met a barman, got friends with him and then just ended up moving back over to be with him.”
She got the idea for the book when working at a call centre, where she was selling promotional holidays to the island.
“It’s all centred around a phone call between two people. You’ve got Lana who’s a 26-year-old single mother who works in this call centre selling holidays.
“She’s really bad at her job, she can’t get any sales and her boss is threatening to sack her and he basically says to her she needs to get a sale.
“She cold calls a number which is on a list and a man picks up over in Manchester called Liam, and he says that he’s not interested. Then it comes out that he’s about to kill himself and that’s why he’s not interested in the holiday.”
The book has already received critical acclaim, scoring 4.7 stars on review website Goodreads, as well as being praised by bestselling author Mark Edwards who labelled the read as “a fast-paced debut with a twist that made me gasp.”
After attending Pendleton College where she did English, drama and media, she moved on to the University of Salford to study social work.
“I went to do social work there but I didn’t really like it to be honest, so I carried on with the Open University I did a degree there,” she said.
After her degree, Gemma did an MA in Education again with the open University, then completed her PGCE in Tenerife through a programme run by Nottingham University.
“I’ve always loved writing and I’ve always tried to write and tried to write novels and its always something that I wanted to do for a bit of a hobby.”
The two-book deal was offered after HQ Digital received the first three chapters of the book as well as a brief synopsis. It was then they requested a full manuscript before making their offer.
Gemma currently works at Wingate School, a British institution, in Arona teaching Year 4 pupils and explained that writing her second book is more of a challenge than the first:
“I started writing it [Trust Me] whilst I was at the call centre. Although I was working 34 hours per week, it’s not like teaching where you have all the extra work as well. So, I finished it off last year when I was doing the PGCE.
“Now I’m writing the second book, but teaching takes up so much of your time so it is a lot harder now because no-one was waiting for it, there were no deadlines or anything like that so I could take my time with it.
“I’ve taken the decision next September to go down to part-time as a teacher so that I can concentrate more on the writing.
“I love teaching, but being a full-time writer could be pretty lonely. At the minute, I’d be happy to do both part time, but you never know what will happen in the future.”
Trust Me is now available to buy via Amazon’s Kindle store and on Apple’s iBooks service.
Featured image credit: Gemma Metcalfe
By Tom Woods