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Octogenarian author wins new fans in America after losing wife and daughter to cancer

A NOVELIST who lost his wife and only daughter to cancer is gaining new fans in America with the release of his latest book.

Originally from Wrexham, where he had an accountancy practice, Richard Rees is attracting a new following in the USA, with sales rapidly increasing on Amazon.

His first novel – The Illuminati Conspiracy – was published by Hodder and Stoughton before Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons, which highlighted a shadowy secret society reaching into the higher echelons of power.

His second, Shadow of The Mary Celeste (retitled The Reikel Conspiracy) featured Opus Dei and an albino priest killer – and coincidentally, also came out before The Da Vinci Code.

And succeeding stories reveal other influences on his writing.

Dear Abigail is a tribute to his daughter, Elisabeth, who Richard cared for before she died at only 32 from ovarian cancer.

It’s had five-star reviews from across the globe, and the same goes for his latest offering Somebody Wants to Kill Me, a psycho thriller.

Now 84 years old but “more determined” than ever, Richard wants to show age is no barrier to success and says he feels “20 years younger”.

“Though my age has prevented me getting a new book deal – today, they want younger writers – I was lucky to be previously published by Hodder and Stoughton, one of the best, and I’m selling lots of Kindles online, and Amazon paperbacks,” he said.

Richard would have written more, but looking after loved ones – especially his wife Richenda, who, like Elisabeth, died young of ovarian cancer – prevented him from doing so.

“I’ve been an author many years, but much of that time has been spent caring for others who’ve been ill,” he said.

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“For me, the story nearest my heart is Dear Abigail, which I wrote as a catharsis for my grief when Elisabeth died six years after Richenda.”

The book was written for Richard’s granddaughter – the ‘Abigail’ of the title – as she has no memory of her mother. All proceeds are donated to the charity, Target Ovarian Cancer.

Covering a wide range of themes from conspiracies, historical battles and crime, Richard, who also has a son, Huw, is known for the rigorous, in-depth research he carries out during the ideas process.

“I love writing and researching, I spend hours in libraries, probing deep into the subject – as I did with The Illuminati Conspiracy and The Reikel Conspiracy – which maybe helped my novels to be well-received, and now popular in the States,” he said.

“It’s wonderful to reach that far abroad, but I don’t know why more people buy them there than the UK. Perhaps it’s being able to buy books in seconds on the internet.”

Richard, who now lives in Llandudno, added: “The one now capturing the imagination is Somebody Wants to Kill Me, especially with younger readers, which is fantastic.

“As for the future, the best is hopefully yet to come. The new thriller I’m working on is titled The Third Awakening, with Deadly Redemption to follow.”

Richard concluded: “Writing makes me feel good. It would be nice to sell many more books, It would also be great to get maybe a little more recognition for the time I’ve put into it – just a fraction of Dan Brown’s would do – but this is my way of staying young and, all things being well, long may it continue.”

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