A struggling author landed a major publishing deal for her first novel after leaving a draft copy on the doorstep of – RICHARD AND JUDY.
Writer Ruth Saberton, 37, penned her romantic comedy ‘Katy Carter Wants a Hero’ after moving from London to the countryside.
She based the story and characters on the people she met in the fishing village of Polperro, Cornwall.
Ruth sent her ‘chick-lit’ manuscript to several publishing houses but had no reply and was on the verge of giving up.
But when her mother-in-law mentioned that Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan had a country retreat nearby she decided to take them a rough copy.
Ruth drove to their secluded house and placed a 400 page manuscript on the doormat and a note through the letterbox asking them to read it.
She was then stunned when Richard – who along with his wife hosted a regular book club on their TV show – phoned her and said he loved the novel.
Richard, 53, offered to write a foreword and allowed her to use their name when approaching potential publishers – and she soon secured her first deal.
College tutor Ruth, said: ”I was tearing my hair out trying to get a deal and was getting no luck anywhere. I’d nearly had enough.
”But then my mother-in-law told me Richard and Judy lived along the coast. I knew they’re big book fans so I thought I’d drop them a copy.
”I felt a bit cheeky posting it through their door, and hoped they wouldn’t mind too much. It was my last hope really.
”I couldn’t believe it when Richard called. It was so exciting. I thought he would have just chucked it away.
“He arranged to come to my house and talk to me. He was in my living room and I had to do a reality check it was so surreal.
”It made all the difference and I got a publishing deal. It was a long shot but it certainly paid off.”
Ruth moved to Polperro in 1995 with husband Martin, a fisherman.
She delivered her draft copy to Richard and Judy’s holiday home – which is situated on cliffs between Polperro and nearby Looe – one morning in October 2008.
Richard read the book in a day and contacted her the same evening.
Ruth said: ”Richard said he gets inundated with lots of books and that a lot of them are not so good but that mine really stood out.
”He told me that both he and Judy couldn’t stop laughing at it and found it a really well paced, fun read.
”Richard asked me if I wanted help with an agent and told me he would write a review. He wrote a foreword and said I could use his and Judy’s name to publicise it.”
Richard’s review said the book read: ”A really readable novel, from its twist opening to its last paragraph. It made me laugh out loud almost straight away.
”I loved the ballsiness and yearning of the central character, and her determined response to the cancer scare – carpe diem and all that.
”I also really enjoy the writing style – pacey, assured, bubbling with both suppressed and expressed humour. I’d give it a solid line of stars – it’s a hoot, and clever, and fresh.”
Ruth secured a book deal with Orion publishing three months after meeting Richard and the book was published recently.