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Monday, 14 June 2010

Road Closed

Regular readers of this blog will know that I've been following Leigh Russell's career with interest for some time now. So I'm really pleased that she's back here to talk about her new book 'Road Closed'and answer some questions from me.

How have you balanced writing ‘Road Closed’, and your new novel ‘Dead End’, with all the promotional activity you’ve been doing for ‘Cut Short’?

I finished writing ROAD CLOSED last Autumn, since when I’ve been focusing on writing DEAD END. You’re right, I have been doing a lot of promotion for CUT SHORT, but it’s mainly on Saturdays in bookshops with only occasional evening talks during the week. In the school holidays I’m happy to do more. It is time consuming, but I enjoy every aspect of being a writer so it doesn’t feel like work. Writing is supposed to be a solitary occupation but that really hasn’t been my experience, I’ve met so many lovely people through my writing.

‘Cut Short’ has had a brilliant response. Did that put a lot of pressure on you when you were writing the follow up?

No. I enjoyed writing ROAD CLOSED as much as I enjoyed writing CUT SHORT and am now enjoying writing DEAD END… I just love writing! One advantage of being manically busy is that I genuinely haven’t had time to stress about how ROAD CLOSED is going to be received. But I think as an author you have to be an optimist.

What sort of characters do you like to create most – goodies or baddies?

Baddies definitely. They are so much more interesting than the goodies, and much more fun to write.

Geraldine Steel seems to be a big hit. Did she spring into your mind fully formed, or are you finding out more about her as you go along?

Geraldine is developing slowly. When I first wrote CUT SHORT, she played quite a minor role. I was far more interested in my killer and wrote pages and pages about him. What is it that makes one person kill another person? We might all feel like it from time to time… but that’s a life away from doing it. My editor pointed out that it is my detective my readers will follow through the series, so I had to work on building Geraldine and I found that quite hard at first. She has become far more real in my head, as her story unfolds in ROAD CLOSED and develops further in DEAD END. Now I’m wondering where to take her in book 4, and am beginning to see all sorts of possibilities for her.

What’s next for you? Are you going to continue writing books about Geraldine, or do you yearn to create a new protagonist?

My publisher has already put in an offer for a 4th book featuring Geraldine Steel and the second book has only just been printed, so for the time being I’m going to concentrate on Geraldine’s cases and her back story. As for the future – who knows? If anyone had told me two years ago that I was going to be a successfully published author, with my first book reprinted three times in its first year, I wouldn’t have believed it. The future is exciting and mysterious. I can’t even begin to predict what will happen next in my life. But I can’t ever imagine stopping writing now that I’ve discovered my passion for it. I’m absolutely hooked.

You’ve done a lot to raise the profile of your books both online and in personal appearances. Which do you enjoy most?

I prefer meeting people face to face. Communicating via technology can’t compare with gazing into someone else’s eyes as you speak, hearing the inflection of their voice when they are talking, or watching a subtle gesture. I don’t suppose I would write psychological thrillers if I didn’t find people endlessly fascinating. The plot drives my narrative, hopefully keeping my readers on the edge of their seats, but it is the characters I find most interesting… Back to your question: online or personal appearances? I find online communication easier, as I’m naturally quite shy, but I think there’s no substitute for meeting real people.

Thanks very much to Leigh for dropping by for a chat.

I'll be reviewing 'Road Closed' on Bookersatz next week, but in the meantime you can read my review of 'Cut Short' here, and you can read a review of 'The Beacon' by Susan Hill on Bookersatz now.


Cathy said...

I've seen Leigh in action at local book signings on more than one occasion and I have to say she is warm, friendly and very proactive. No wonder she sells so many books on her busy signing schedule.

Deborah Carr (Debs) said...

I've bought a copy for me and one for my aunt for her birthday as I'm sure she'll love it.

Great interview, thanks.

Carol said...

Fab interview...her books look right up my street!

C x

Sue Guiney said...

I haven't read much about Leigh lately, so I was glad to see your interview. She's done so well! It's so exciting for her -- I can barely keep up. thanks!

Lane Mathias said...

Lovely interview Helen.
Leigh has done so well. I've followed her progress with interest and admiration.

HelenMWalters said...

Cathy - yes, Leigh does seem to have got the book signing thing down to a fine art!

Debs - brilliant - Leigh will be very pleased.

Carol - yes, you should give them a try.

SueG - she's had her head down writing and now has new book out and more on the way.

Lane - yes, she works very hard and has done extremely well.

Sylvia Phoenix said...

Since the last interview with Leigh on your blog, I've read Cut Short and enjoyed it very much. It's great to see that she's doing so well. I can see that I have some sequels to catch up with.

Talli Roland said...

Great interview, Helen and Leigh. It's so nice to read about an author having such success! Looking forward to your review.

Anonymous said...

Great interview - I'll have to add this one to my ever growing list of must reads!

Leigh Russell said...

I just read your tweet, Helen, and rushed straight over to see the comments here. Thanks to Cathy, Debs, Carol, SueG, Lane, Sylvia Phoenix, Talli Roland, Eternally Distracted and, of course, to you, Helen. Now I just have to manoeuvre my big head through the door... Seriously, thank you all very much for the support and I hope to see you all on my travels round the bookshops.

Suzanne Ross Jones said...

Brilliant interview, thanks Leigh and Helen.


DJ Kirkby said...

That was very interesting what Leigh said about Geraldine developing slowly. Crime ficiton is my fave read and Leigh's books are on my birthday wish list.