WHEN Keith Houghton penned his first crime novel, he never thought he would become a household name in America.
But the 45-year-old has earned himself a spot in the top 100 Kindle Book downloads in America with his thriller Killing Hope - a tale which follows a homicide detective in LA and Las Vegas as he tries to trap a killer, who mentally tries to wear him down.
He is also in the top 100 UK Bestsellers chart.
Keith, who repairs computers from his home in Leigh, said: “I have been writing all my life, but this is the first time I have had a book published and had sales.
“I completed the 400-page book in September and was in negotiations with a UK literary agent, but she went on maternity leave and I was stuck. I then saw the Kindle market and thought I would self-publish there.
“I had mediocre sales, but everyone who reviewed it said it was a great read.
“I began promoting it a bit more and all of a sudden it reached 18 in the Amazon chart in America.
“Presently, I am the only independent British writer in the top 100 Kindle Book downloads in America.
“It is relatively unheard of for an independent UK author to break into the American market, least of all be in both the UK and US charts simultaneously.
“I have sold more copies than James Patterson and our very own Lee Child and it has been at the number one thrillers spot.
“I feel mixed emotions - I am in shock.
“I feel a bit of validation. I have always believed in myself and I had a feeling I would get somewhere one day.”
Keith, who has two children, plus two step-children and three grandchildren, began writing at an early age and was particularly interested in science fiction, before moving to crime thrillers.
He is now writing the follow up to Killing Hope and hopes to get a deal to sell his novel in book stores, as well as online.
To order a copy, at $2.99 or £2 - depending on exchange rates - visit www.keithhoughton.com or www.amazon.co.uk