Pro-File: Leigh Russell
1. Tell us about your current novel/collection.
I write the British Geraldine Steel crime series. My female Detective Inspector, Geraldine Steel, has a male Detective Sergeant, Ian Peterson. Together they investigate murders. My crime series has become very popular with readers in the UK. Since my debut, Cut Short, was shortlisted for a British Crime Association's Dagger Award, my books have appeared on many bestseller lists, and reached #1 on both kindle and iTunes.
2. Can you give a sense of what you're working on now?
Following the success of the Geraldine Steel series, I am writing a spin off series featuring Sergeant Ian Peterson. So I'm now committed delivering two books a year to my publisher. It keeps me busy! I'm currently writing the seventh Geraldine Steel mystery to follow Cut Short, Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead and Fatal Act. Once that's finished, I'll be straight on to the second Ian Peterson book, to follow Cold Sacrifice. All of my books are murder investigations. In addition to working out my plots, I explore what drives people to kill, and what it is like to work on a murder squad.
3. What is the greatest pleasure of a writing career?
It's very exciting to be a published author, and see my books on bestseller lists, but the biggest thrill is writing. I also really enjoy meeting fans of my series. It is really encouraging when readers support my books and tell me they love my series.
4. What is the greatest DISpleasure?
Indifferent reviews can be dispiriting, but I try not to take them too seriously. A negative review simply means that one reader didn't like the book. I'm very grateful that my books have received glowing reviews in many respected journals like The Times of London, and the New York Journal of Books. As far as the writing process itself is concerned, I can't honestly think of any displeasure - apart from having too few hours in the day.
5. If you have one piece of advice for the publishing world, what is it?
The publishing industry is changing very fast. My advice to publishers would be to keep abreast of changes and be flexible. To authors, I would say never lose your passion for writing.
7. Tell us about selling your first novel. Most writers never forget that moment.
I wrote the first draft for Cut Short in about six weeks. With no idea of how the submission process works, I sent my manuscript off to a highly respected UK publisher who deals with crime fiction. I never expected to hear from them. Two weeks later they phoned me and asked for a meeting, which led to our signing a three book deal. Since that exhilarating occasion, my wonderful publisher has offered me four more three book deals, with more in the pipeline. It looks as though the Geraldine Steel series will run to about twenty titles, with fifteen titles in the spin off series for Ian Peterson.