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Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Author Interview - Leigh Russell



Leigh Russell has very kindly agreed to answer some questions about her writing, and about her current book 'Cut Short', and the upcoming 'Road Closed'.


What first inspired you to write?

The idea for CUT SHORT occurred to me when I was walking through my local park one rainy morning. There was no one else there until a stranger came into view beside a tangled copse of trees and shrubs. As I approached the shrubs I wondered what I would do if I saw a body in the bushes. I walked on, and of course there was no body, but the idea stuck in my mind. When I arrived home I started to write and the story poured out onto the page, complete with a 'creepy' killer. From the moment I began to write, I've been hooked. What surprises me now is that I didn't discover my passion for writing earlier.

What appeals particularly about writing crime fiction?

Crime fiction is tense, dramatic and full of suspense. It can also be quite cathartic, we live in such fearful times... You’re alone in the house at night, and you hear footsteps on the stairs…. That isn’t a scene I’ve used in a book, but it’s the kind of situation I explore in my writing. It’s a relief to step out of the story and return to reality.

How would you sum up your upcoming novel, ‘Road Closed’?

How do you sum up a book? Blurbs and synopses are so difficult to write. How about: Road Closed is a tense psychological crime thriller, with a few twists, in which Geraldine Steel makes a shocking discovery about herself.



What response to the novel do you hope for from your readers?

I would be very happy if ROAD CLOSED matches the success of CUT SHORT with two reprints in six months, 5 star reviews on amazon, buzz on blogs and websites, features, interviews and good reviews in local and national papers, interviews on BBC Radio, invitations to talk at Literary Festivals, book clubs, readers groups and writers circles, libraries, schools and colleges – enough to keep me busy.

Your first novel ‘Cut Short’ was very well-received. Did this put you under additional pressure when you were writing ‘Road Closed’?

I enjoyed writing ROAD CLOSED as much as I enjoyed writing CUT SHORT, and I’m now enjoying writing DEAD END. I just love writing! But I do feel a certain pressure now that my second book is about to be published because I’m aware that there are people waiting to read it. It’s already reached 10,000 on amazon sales ratings in preorders. As a Top Reviewer on amazon wrote of CUT SHORT: “A well deserved five stars. For a first book this is excellent. Of course the expectation will be much higher with book two.” No pressure there, then!

What do you see yourself writing in the future? Are there more Geraldine Steel novels to come?

I’m currently writing DEAD END, the third in the Geraldine Steel series which will be published in 2011. My publisher has already approached my agent for a fourth, so there are definitely more Geraldine Steel novels in the pipeline.

You work incredibly hard promoting your books online and in bookshops, how well is that paying off?

I assume my efforts have contributed to the successful sales of CUT SHORT, but I have no way of knowing. What is more important to me is that I’ve met so many friendly and supportive readers through book signings, blogs, twitter, literary festivals and author talks. Bloggers from all around the world are beginning to feel like old friends, like the staff in my local Waterstones.

What gives you most pleasure out of all the things you’ve achieved so far in your writing career?

Writing.

What’s the best advice you could give to someone who is writing a novel and hoping to get it published?

Work hard, be brave and be lucky. Being published is fun, but the real buzz is in the writing.

Thanks Leigh, for some really brilliant insights into writing.

You can read my review of 'Cut Short' here. And you can pre-order 'Road Closed' here.

12 comments:

JJ Beattie said...

Excellent interview, thanks to you both. I think it's a good reminder that we should enjoy the writing - that's what it's about first.

I've very excited as I managed to find a copy of Cut Short in Bangkok! Yay.

Debs said...

Great interview, thank you.

I loved Cut Short and am looking forward to reading Dead End.

Chris Stovell said...

That was a really interesting interview;I'm always fascinated to read what inspires writers. It's good to hear Leigh enjoying it too.

Bernadette said...

A very interesting interview.
I've never tried writing crime fiction, but I do like to read it and remain in awe of those who can come up with convincing and gripping plots.

Sylvia Phoenix said...

This looks interesting. I'll have to give it a try.

Queenie said...

I enjoyed 'Cut Short' - good premise; great central character; terrific ending. Looking forward to the next one.

HelenMHunt said...

JJ - I'm so imressed you tracked it down in Bangkok. Amazing.

Debs - me too.

Chris - enjoying the writing is so important.

Bernadette - I don't think I've got the right sort of brain to write crime either.

Sylvia - yes, I recommend it.

Queenie - yes, I'm looking forward to the next one as well.

Leigh Russell said...

Thank you very much for the interview, Helen, and thanks for all the comments here.

Karen said...

I'm looking forward to reading the series, I've heard lots of good things! It sounds like Leigh almost fell into writing by accident - had she written anything before I wonder?

Leigh Russell said...

Wonder no longer, Karen. CUT SHORT is the first book I've written. Thank you for your interest.

Joanne Fox said...

Enjoyed this interview a lot. I haven't read Cut Short but I'd really like to now, and Road Closed too when it comes out. I love good crime fiction. Just wish I could write it!

Tam said...

Great interview, Helen, Cut Short is on my TBR pile.