Posted in 12 Words, Author Q&A's, Guest Posts

12 Words with Leigh Russell

imageLeigh Russell is the author of the internationally bestselling Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson crime series. She studied at the University of Kent, gaining a master’s degree in English. She has a Diploma in Specific Learning Difficulties from the British Dyslexia Association, and a Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. For many years she taught English at secondary school, specialising in supporting pupils with specific learning difficulties. She is married, has two daughters, and lives in north-west London. In addition to writing, she guest-lectures for the Society of Authors, universities and colleges, and runs regular creative writing courses for the prestigious Writers Lab in the UK and Greece. She also runs the manuscript assessment service for the CWA.

Her latest novel Journey To Death, the beginning of a new series featuring protagonist Lucy Hall, is released today and to celebrate Leigh has taken the 12 word challenge.


Answers should be complete sentences, and completed in no more than 12 words (unless otherwise stated)

Contractions count. It’s = 2 words.

LOC: What can you tell us about your latest release Journey To Death?

LR: In the Seychelles, Lucy Hall is drawn into a life threatening adventure.

LOC: What was it like making the change from writing your regular characters and starting a new series?

LR: So far it has been great fun, but Geraldine Steel is continuing.

LOC: How would you describe your writing process?

LR: The process is completely chaotic, frequently exhausting and always exciting.

LOC: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your writing career?

LR: There have been several, including facing a man with a machine gun.

LOC: What’s the best book you’ve read in the last twelve months (title & author not in word count) and why? 

LR: I reread The Hobbit by J R Tolkien – sometimes a break from adult fiction is necessary.

LOC: What’s the weirdest sentence you’ve ever written / read?  (word count does not apply)

LR: ‘Word count does not apply.’ I feel like a dog let off the lead and free to ramble! I’ve read a lot of weird sentences, and no doubt written quite a few, but one that comes to mind is the opening sentence of ‘The Outsider’ by Albert Camus. The book opens with the words: ‘Aujourd’hui maman est morte.’ This sentence can be translated as ‘Today mother died’ but a more literal translation would be: ‘Today mother is dead’, which sounds more final. The beautiful simplicity of the language is not weird at all. But the bald indifference of the statement, combined with the emotive content, is weird and makes it one of the most chilling first sentences I have ever read. It sets the tone for a disturbing novel.

LOC: *rolls eyes* give an author some wriggle room, and off they go….  😀

LOC: Describe your perfect day

LR: I have breakfast in bed, before writing all day.


and finally just for laughs……

LOC: Thanks to author Angela Marsons you have just woken up to find yourself on stage in front of the judges of Britain’s Got Talent, with an ironing board, a box of matches and an armadillo. What do you do? 

LR: I set fire to the ironing board and escape on the armadillo.



You can keep up to date with all Leigh’s current and forthcoming releases on her website or by following her on Twitter @LeighRussell

Posted in Blogging

Twelve words.

There was a time in the late nineties / early noughties when I spent all my spare time entering competitions, and I was good at it.  My list of wins is long, adventure packed and value wise topped £50k in the years I was active.  During this time my preferred competitions were those where I needed to complete a sentence or phrase in a limited number of words.  The other day I was reminiscing over these days and it gave me an idea for a new feature, a spin on the usual Q&A the plan is to ask authors a handful of questions, but they could only answer in maximum of 12 words.

I spoke with a few author friends who all seemed up for the challenge, so once I get round to writing and sending out a few questions, get ready for a new series, it could be fun….