Monday, August 20, 2012

Author Interview - (LEIGH RUSSELL) (Geraldine Steel series of crime thrillers Cut Short, Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed #Ficstory #Crime

Hi Leigh, where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born and grew up near London, and I’m still here. That’s one reason why my detective moved from the home counties to London in the latest book in my series.

What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in less than 30 words, what would you say?
Death Bed is the 4th Geraldine Steel novel, following the career of my detective who tracks down murderers as I explore what drives people to kill.

Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
Death Bed follows Cut Short, Road Closed and Dead End, and seems to be following their success. Among other highlights Cut Short was shortlisted for a CWA Dagger Award, Road Closed was a Top Read on Eurocrime, Dead End reached the Top 50 Bestsellers list on amazon and was voted a Best Crime Fiction Book of 2011 in a poll on Crime Time, and Death Bed was selected for the amazon kindle Summer Reading Marathon and reached the Top 50 Bestsellers chart for WH Smith’s Travel. The 5th book in the series is with my publisher and will be available to download this year, in print next year. I am half way through the 6th. I think my publisher will carry on commissioning them as long as the series continues to sell so well.

Is there an Author that you would really like to meet?
I’m lucky to be on the circuit where I meet some of my favourite authors: Jeffery Deaver, Peter James, Lee Child, Val McDermid, Mark Billingham, Ian Rankin and many more. Crime writers have a well deserved reputation for being friendly.

Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?
I have nothing against e-readers. They make books accessible and portable. Sales of ebooks (excluding free downloads) are now outstripping print sales (paperback and hardback combined) by 114 to 100.  It took four years for this to happen in the US.  In the UK it has taken just two years. In the autumn our only major bookshop chain, Waterstones, will be selling kindles. What concerns me is that we will reach a tipping point where physical bookshops are no longer viable. We may already have reached it, with Waterstones surviving only with funding from Russian billionaire Mamut. If he withdrew his support, Waterstones would fold overnight.

Where do you prefer to buy your books?
I use amazon for convenience, but prefer to go to a bookshop when I can. I would never buy a book from a charity shop as this puts no money at all back into the dying publishing industry.

Are you a self published (Indie) Author?
I am with a traditional publishing house who are wonderful. All I have to do is write, and they deal with everything else. But I love going out and meeting my readers whenever I can.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)?
I am currently reading a book by Peter Murphy that is due for publication in 2013, as I have been approached for a blurb quote. Fortunately, I am really enjoying it so far! 

Are there any Authors that have grasped your interest recently and why?
There are far too many to mention here, although I have to mention Jeffery Deaver, who is a fan of mine, and Peter James who I’ll be interviewing on the phone next week for Mystery People.  A phone interview is a very different experience to an online interview – I’ll have to be on my toes! I’ve been the interviewee in phone interviews many times, of course, speaking to journalists and BBC radio presenters, often live, but have never interviewed a fellow author on the phone before. Wish me luck!

Who designed the cover of your book?
My publisher looks after all production tasks. They consult me about covers, but the choice of image is ultimately a sales decision, not an artistic one. I’m waiting for the day when my name appears in huge letters on the front of a book, with nothing else but the title
. That’s when you know you’ve really made it, when your books sell in hundreds of thousands on the strength of your name alone!

Do you buy a book by the cover?
Not necessarily as I tend to know what I’m looking for, based on my knowledge of the author’s work, or recommendation. But covers are important as they give a first impression of a book.

Do you have a book trailer?
No, and I’ve only ever watched one which was shoddy. Should I watch more?

Do you have any advice for other writers?
I give seminars on how to prepare manuscripts for submission, and run workshops for the Society of Authors, so I could write a book in response to this question!  The short version is: work hard, be brave, and be lucky. Don’t write in hopes of being published, because the chances are very slim, however good your writing is. It’s great to be a published author, but the real thrill comes from writing. So if you don’t love the process for its own sake, find something else to do.

Do you write under a pen name?

Do you ever write in your PJ’s?
If I get up in the morning with a day of writing ahead, I might not waste time getting dressed before I start. There are times when I am very focused on what I’m writing. 

White wine or red?
Any wine will do.

Coffee or tea?
Both. Either. Put a cup in front of me and I’ll drink it, but no sugar please.

Do you like to cook? Do you have a favorite food?
I can’t cook. Left to my own devices I would grab whatever I could find in the cupboard and only go to the shops when there was nothing edible left in the house. Fortunately I live in a household of brilliant cooks who like going to supermarkets. Every evening one of my housemates puts a wonderful dinner in front of me. I’m very spoiled.

What do you normally eat for breakfast, of do you skip it and get straight to work?
My husband makes me breakfast every day – eggs, beans, toast, coffee. (I told you I’m spoiled!)

What are 4 things you never leave home without (apart from keys, money and phone)?
Pens (including a purple one in case anyone asks me to sign a book for them,) notebook, filofax, make up bag.

Sleep in or get up early?
I go to bed far too late so sleep in when I can.

Laptop or desktop for writing?
Either.  A desktop is far better for posture, but I love my little netbook.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
Anywhere, any time.

Your thoughts on receiving book reviews - the good and the bad.
I prefer the good! My books have been well reviewed in journals like The Times, and from top crime reviewers like Barry Forshaw, in the UK and the US alike. I’m sure this helps sales. That said, I welcome constructive criticism where I can understand it, and where it is justified. How else am I going to improve as a writer? But it’s best if the constructive criticism comes from my brilliant editor, not from reviewers when it’s too late to change the book!

If you were deserted on an island, who are 3 famous people you would want with you?
Peter James, Lee Child, and Jeffery Deaver. They are all exceptionally charming, tall enough to pick fruit that’s out of my reach, and full of brilliant stories to while away the hours.

Where is one place in the world that you would really love to visit someday?
I’m never happier than when I’m at home.

One of your favorite quotes 
I have a so many favourite quotations, it’s hard to pick just one. “I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.” (Agatha Christie)

An actor or a book character you have a crush on.
Colin Firth and Mr Darcy.

What is a movie or TV show that you watched just recently and really enjoyed?
I watch crime series, and Frasier, Spooks and Hustle.

Where can your readers stalk you?
Links to facebook, twitter, blog, amazon (print and kindle), youtube and lots more are on my website and I can be contacted via my website.  I can’t promise to respond straight away, but I always respond to emails. If you’ve read this far, please follow me on facebook and twitter as well! 

Among many accolades in journals like The Times and US Publishers Weekly, LEIGH RUSSELL is described as "a brilliant talent" by Jeffery Deaver. CUT SHORT (2009) was shortlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger Award for Best First Novel. Road Closed (2010) was listed as a Top Read on Eurocrime. With Dead End (2011) Leigh's detective Geraldine Steel was Number 1 on amazon kindle's bestseller chart for female sleuths. Leigh enjoys meeting readers and there is a schedule of her appearances here. Leigh gives many interviews online, in the press and on BBC Radio stations and appears at literary festivals, in bookshops and libraries, giving talks, running workshops and, of course, signing her books. She can be heard talking about crime fiction, how to get published, and many other topics, as well as reading from her books, on

You can find Leigh's books on Amazon - HERE 

If you have enjoyed reading about Leigh, please share by Tweeting and Facebooking this post.

Many thanks to Leigh, and to you, the reader!

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