Crime novelist relaunches author events at Swanage Library

An award-winning crime writer, who features Dorset as the setting for her novels, has been chosen to relaunch special events at Swanage Library – and the event has proved so popular it’s already sold out.

Author Rachel McLean will be talking about her writing and in particular her prize winning novel The Corfe Castle Murders in the afternoon of Saturday 19th March 2022.


Rachel McLean, author of The Corfe Castle Murders

Winner of the Kindle Storyteller Award

Nathalie Carter, Swanage Library manager, said:

“It’s fantastic to be able to run events like this again and for it to be sold out within a week to ten days.

“We are especially looking forward to having an author who uses the local area as a backdrop for her books.”

Rachel’s first book in the Dorset Crime series, The Corfe Castle Murders, won the Kindle Storyteller Award 2021.

Rachel was presented with her award by broadcaster and writer Clare Balding. She won a £20,000 cash prize, a marketing campaign on Amazon and a golden Kindle.

Exterior of Corfe Castle
National Trust

Corfe Castle – setting for Rachel McLean’s award-winning novel

“Best childhood memories are from holidays in Dorset”

Rachel McLean said:

“You might wonder why a born and bred ‘brummie’ would chose to write a crime series set in Dorset. The answer is that when I was a child my parents had a caravan in Wareham which means all my best childhood memories are from holidays in Dorset.

“Learning to swim on Bournemouth beach, riding a bike around the lanes of Wareham, climbing the steps up from Swanage beach on my dad’s shoulders… the list goes on.

“I love Dorset, and I consider myself incredibly lucky that now I write about the county, I get to visit regularly again and call it work.”

Straight-talking city copper DCI Lesley Clarke, transferred to rural Dorset, finds herself investigating a murder at Corfe Castle

“Looking forward to coming to Swanage”

As well as the Dorset Crime series, Rachel McLean writes the DI Zoe Finch series set in her home city of Birmingham. She has also written seven thrillers – a dystopian political thriller trilogy, a post-apocalyptic trilogy and a dystopian standalone novel.

Rachel said:

“Maybe someday when my kids have flown the nest I’ll move down here – I have dreams of retiring to a cottage within hearing distance of the sea.

“I’m very much looking forward to coming to Swanage and meeting readers, and delighted that the event has sold out. I know there’s always a waiting list for my books in local libraries and it makes me very happy to know that people who live in the area I love to write about are enjoying the books.”

Deadly Wishes from Rachel McLean’s Detective Zoe Finch series

Two chapters a day

When it comes to writing, Rachel dictates the first draft because she broke her collarbone many years ago and wants to avoid shoulder pain from typing.

She is pretty productive – aiming to do at least two chapters each day. She employs a transcriber – based in Australia – to type them up overnight for her.

Rachel started writing her first book, a political thriller, in 2004 but didn’t publish it until 2017. In early 2020, during lockdown, she started writing crime to create a series that would reach a wider audience.

Swanage Library

The library is holding events again after the long break caused by Covid restrictions

“Brings me closer to readers”

The first book in the DI Zoe Finch series, Deadly Wishes, was published in the summer of 2020 and was an instant hit. As an ‘indie publisher’ she feels she has much more control over her career.

Rachel said:

“I love the fact that it brings me closer to readers than if I was with a big publishing company, and that I get to choose what I write next and who my characters are.”

Storytime at Swanage Library

Regular events at Swanage Library

Monday – Colour Me Happy, adult colouring session, from 4-6pm

Tuesday – Digital Champion Simon Parvin, giving advice on using different devices, from 2-4pm

Every third Wednesday – Books And More, discussion group, with Andrea Thomson, from 10.30 – 11.30am

Friday – Rhyme Time, songs and stories for the under fives, from 11- 11.30am

Saturday – Lego Club, with different challenges each week, from 10am to 12 noon

Occasional Saturdays – Crochet Creations, with Penny Duncan, from 2-2.30pm

The next special event is making Easter bonnets and crowns, for ages three and up, on Monday 11th April from 2pm to 3pm.

Lego enthusiasts get to grips with this week’s challenge

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