Stephanie Sowden

Canelo Crime secure rights to an unforgettable debut thriller

Following strong interest and competing offers, Publishing Director Louise Cullen has acquired World English Language rights to debut crime novel After Everything You Did by Manchester-based author Stephanie Sowden from Clare Coombes at Liverpool Literary Agency in a two-book deal. 

The novel will be published on Canelo’s flagship crime imprint in Spring 2022 and is being described as ‘Girl A meets The Girls’. After Everything You Did is set in 1960s America and is the tale of Reeta Doe, who recovers from horrific injuries following a car crash but suffers retrograde amnesia. She is told that the FBI have named her as the only suspect in the murder of four college girls and attempted murder of a fifth. With no recollection of her life before, Reeta struggles to come to terms with the version of herself that she is presented with. As the truth about Reeta slowly unfolds, multiple characters are forced to question their motives and loyalties, and face the darkest sides of human nature. 

Stephanie Sowden grew up in Manchester and studied History and Politics at Durham University. After a brief foray into magazine journalism, she retrained in another love of hers – food – and now runs her own catering company. Stephanie took part in Curtis Brown Creative’s selective novel writing course, during which she completed her first novel. She lives in South Manchester with her partner, Dave, and their little mad staffy, Butter.

Louise Cullen says: ‘There is no doubt in my mind that Stephanie’s debut novel is going to take readers by storm. I was entirely captivated by the character of Reeta Doe from the moment I began reading, and my enthusiasm only grew as the novel continued. It is rare to find the bewitching combination of an unforgettable voice, simmering tension and a deeply felt exploration of nature versus nurture. The fact that this is Stephanie’s first book fills me with excitement, as her talent shines through in every sentence. I’m also delighted to share an author with Clare Coombes at Liverpool Literary Agency, who has already done such brilliant work to champion northern and working class writers and has a remarkable eye for the potential of the authors she represents.’

Stephanie Sowden says: ‘I am so excited to join Canelo Crime with my debut novel. Having always written and fantasised about being an author, it still feels surreal that my work will be published and that Reeta's story will be read. I love Louise's passion for the book and I hope people fall for Reeta the way I have – she's a complicated girl, but she's been through a lot!’

Clare Coombes says: ‘Steph's novel had us hooked straight away and I know readers will be captivated by the setting, characters and crime plot published by the fantastic team at Canelo.’

After Everything You Did will be published in April 2022, in ebook, mass market paperback and audio, with Stephanie Sowden’s second novel to follow later the same year. For more information please contact elinor@canelo.co