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Daughter turns father’s 11-year-old thriller novel into a bestseller with viral TikTok

After 11 years with almost no sales, Lloyd Richards' thriller novel became a No. 1 bestseller after his daughter made a TikTok that went viral promoting his book.

Lloyd Devereux Richards spent 14 years getting up early, staying up late and working weekends to write his first novel as he juggled his job as a lawyer for a life insurance company while raising three children. 

After finally becoming a published author, his serial killer thriller garnered almost no sales over the next 11 years. But success was never the goal for Lloyd, who was "tremendously happy" just to be published and continued to dedicate himself to writing.

Then his fortunes changed literally overnight. A 16-second video of him went viral hours after his daughter Marguerite Richards posted it, almost immediately skyrocketing his book to the top of Amazon's bestseller list.


"I was speechless," Lloyd, 74, said. "I was tearful. It was just too much. I had never seen anything like that."

Lloyd first started working on his serial killer thriller "Stone Maidens" in 1998. The book was inspired by his time at Indiana University’s law school when several women went missing around the Midwest. The first-time author began studying the mechanics of book writing with a local professor.

After finishing a draft in fall 2009, roughly 80 literary agents rejected Lloyd's novel. Finally, an agent agreed to work with him the following spring and a publisher picked up his book in 2011.

"It's a long process writing, I guess," Lloyd said. "That's what I discovered." 

Despite only selling a few dozen books over the next decade, Lloyd continued to work on a sequel, which he sent to his agent five months ago. 


"I just was so inspired by him," Marguerite told Fox News. "No one was reading the first book for 11 years, and he took years to write the sequel and do a really good job." 

Marguerite grew up watching her father write late at night from the attic of their Vermont home. After he finished his second novel, she create a TikTok account under the name "Stone Maidens" to promote his work.

"Just watching how hard he worked on this and continued to write even when nobody was really reading his first book made me want to make a video," she said. "I would have been happy with like 10 people reading his book." 

On Feb. 7, Marguerite posted a video of her father working in his office and said "Stone Maidens" sales had not "been great" and hoped she could get "a few more people to read her dad's work."

The next morning, she woke up to see the video had been viewed over 700,000 times. By the time showed her father the following day, 15 million people had watched the video and Stone Maidens was the No. 1 serial killer thriller on Amazon.

Over the next few weeks, the video was watched 50 million times, more than 65,000 copies of "Stone Maidens" were sold and it reached the top of Amazon's bestseller list. Hollywood studios are talking to Lloyd's literary agent about movie deals.

"We were just crying because this has been 25 years in the making," Marguerite said. "It's so powerful. I just can't believe what happened. It's incredible."

"This is such an honor that I've gotten to do this for him," she added. "I believed in him, and so it's incredible to see tens of thousands of people believing in him, too, and loving his work and begging for the sequel."

To watch the full interview with Lloyd and Marguerite, click here

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