A Geraldine Steel Top Ten, Celebrating Ten Geraldine Steels……

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TEN NOVELS SET IN YORKSHIRE THAT GERALDINE HAS READ

The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
 To Catch A Rabbit- Helen Cadbury 
A Kestrel for a Knave – Barry Hines 
Billy Liar – Keith Waterhouse 
Jane Eyre- Charlotte Bronte 
Gallows View – Peter Robinson 
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – Anne Bronte 
Nicholas Nickleby- Dickens 
Under World- Reginald Hill 
The Amateur Historian Julian Cole

Detective Geraldine Steel is back in Class Murder – her tenth case!

With so many potential victims to choose from, there would be many deaths. He was spoiled for choice, really, but he was determined to take his time and select his targets carefully. Only by controlling his feelings could he maintain his success. He smiled to himself. If he was clever, he would never have to stop. And he was clever. He was very clever. Far too clever to be caught.

When two people are murdered, their only connection lies buried in the past. As police search for the elusive killer, another body is discovered. Pursuing her first investigation in York, and reunited with her former sergeant Ian Peterson, Geraldine Steel struggles to solve the baffling case. How can she expose the killer, and rescue her shattered reputation, when all the witnesses are being murdered?

 

 

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#Blog Tour Deadly Alibi by Leigh Russell

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As part of her blog tour for the latest in the DI Geraldine Steel novels, Leigh talks to LifeOfCri.me about the ins and outs of writing a serial character.

Writing a series

​I have written elsewhere about my inadvertent and very sudden transformation from an avid reader to a compulsive writer. My career as a writer really arose out of a ‘light bulb’ moment, a flash of inspiration. Having no ambitions to write, when an idea occurred to me one day and I started to write it down, I surprised myself by finding I was unable to drag myself away from it until the story had written itself out. Having completed my story, I sent the manuscript to a publisher, just on the off chance that someone might take a look at it. I didn’t really expect that anyone would, but the first person to read it turned out to be the acquiring editor at my publisher’s.

​There I was, unexpectedly faced with signing a three-book deal, and only one story written. It amazes me now that I wasn’t terrified, but the whole experience was exhilarating and quite surreal. Of course, there was a lot of work to be done on that first rather amateurish manuscript before it was actually published as Cut Short, by which time I was well on my way with the second book in the series, Road Closed. The ninth in the series, Deadly Alibi, is about to come out in paperback, the eleventh is written and currently being edited, and I am about a quarter of the way through the twelfth – just at the stage where I realise what I should have written and am about to rewrite what I’ve done so far… Somehow my plans always seem to go out of the window once the writing begins…

​So what began as a random idea for a story has turned into a fairly substantial series. With three series now to my name, and well on the way to delivering the final title in my sixth, three-book publishing deal, I’ve written quite a few books since the idea for Cut Short occurred to me. My next publishing deal will take us up to fifteen Geraldine Steel books, and I’m hoping the series will run to twenty books.

​A question I’m often asked is, does it become easier as you write more books? Like a politician’s equivocation, my answer isn’t straightforward. It’s a yes and a no. The actual writing process becomes easier as you grow accustomed to the editing process and all the associated stages in finalising the manuscript. At the same time, in some ways the pressure increases. With over a million books sold, there are a lot of people waiting to read the next Geraldine Steel story and with each book I worry that this will be the one that bombs, the book where all my fans say I’ve completely lost the plot. Thankfully that hasn’t happened yet, and I like to think I’m getting better at this writing lark. But who knows how the next book will be received? With so many readers’ expectations to satisfy, it’s a more daunting prospect than when my first book came out and I wondered whether anyone would actually read it, apart from my acquiring editor. ​

​Fortunately I have a fairly foolproof way of dealing with the pressure. It’s how I cope with any problems that arise in my life in the real world. I can simply retreat into my fictional world and write about the challenges faced by my detective, Geraldine Steel. And she has some tricky situations to deal with in Deadly Alibi. Hopefully her loyal fans are going to enjoy reading this latest story, and readers new to the series will find this an exciting introduction.

A hand gripped her upper arm so suddenly it made her yelp. Biting her lower lip, she spun round, lashing out in terror. As she yanked her arm out of his grasp, her elbow hit the side of his chest. Struggling to cling on to her, he lost his footing. She staggered back and reached out, leaning one hand on the cold wall of the tunnel. Before she had recovered her balance he fell, arms flailing, eyes glaring wildly as he disappeared over the edge of the platform onto the rails below. . .

Two murder victims and a suspect whose alibi appears open to doubt… Geraldine Steel is plunged into a double murder investigation which threatens not only her career, but her life. And then her previously unknown twin Helena turns up, with problems which are about to make Geraldine’s life turn toxic in more ways than one.

Generating Geraldine – Leigh Russell Talks About the Inspiration For Murder Ring

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As part of the blog tour for the latest Geraldine Steel novel ‘Murder Ring’ Leigh Russell talks to LifeOfCri.me about where some of her inspiration came from.

 

 

 

 

My inspiration for Murder Ring

Inspiration comes from all sorts of places, in various guises. Agatha Christie famously said that the best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes. Even though nowadays most of us have dishwashers, we all know what she meant. I can be sitting at home, or out and about, when an idea occurs to me and off I go. Ideas can come from anywhere. It might be a person I’ve noticed who sparks off a story, or an atmosphere in a strange place, or just a large suitcase, large enough to hide a body…

The inspiration for Murder Ring came about in a slightly unusual way for me, more calculated than in my other books. Usually I’m inspired to write about something that interests me, but this time, ironically, my starting point was  a topic that didn’t interest me at all. In the fourth book of the series, Geraldine Steel moved to London. By the time I started to think about Murder Ring, the eighth in the series, I decided I couldn’t continue setting a detective in North London in the present day without ever mentioning guns. The problem was that not only did I know nothing about guns, they aren’t a topic that inspires me at all. Nevertheless, in the interests of authenticity, I decided to bite the bullet, if you’ll excuse the pun. So tackling the issue of gun crime was a conscious choice, rather than an idea that inspired me.

One of my advisors is a police ballistics expert, but his information was not what interested me the most once I began to look into the subject.  My research led me in a different direction, looking into the kind of people who were likely to be in possession of guns in London. Most of them are not criminal masterminds, but dysfunctional people. Older teenagers in gangs frequently give their firearms to young siblings to look after in order to avoid detection, knowing the children are too young to be prosecuted if found in possession of a gun. It was in the news recently that children as young as ten were among fifteen hundred children held over alleged firearm offences in the UK in the three years to January 2016. Such statistics are worrying, and are only likely to worsen as guns are so readily available.

The more I looked into the subject, the more I realised that while guns themselves don’t interest to me, what they represent fascinates me as a writer of crime fiction. People often use self-defence as an excuse for owning guns, but guns are essentially a means of exerting power. And for a crime writer, villains seeking to control or eliminate their victims is always interesting. So although guns in themselves are merely mechanical instruments of death, introducing them into Murder Ring opened up new possibilities for creating villains. Because what makes guns frightening is not the weapons themselves, but the people who use them.

 

#TeaWithLeigh

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12049428_10153151341282844_2841710274308182234_n“The quintessentially British tradition of afternoon tea is usually credited to Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford in the early 1800’s.”

Or so says the menu of Anna’s tea room, as I peruse its thick, heavy-set and gilded pages trying to make a decision.

You see last month I was a very fortunate (and very smiley) reviewer who was invited by No Exit Press to experience the delights of afternoon tea with accompanying champagne at The Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London. There were several other reviewers and bloggers there along with Guest of Honour, author of the DI Geraldine Steel and DI Ian Peterson serial thrillers, Leigh Russell.

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Me with Leigh

We gathered initially in the Library where I presented Leigh with her very own “Blood Axe” (albeit a plastic one with no blood, although I did provide some red paint) and after a few fun photos

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Fellow reviewer Kirstie Long protecting her champagne from Leigh’s new Blood Axe

we were directed to our tables to order.

Tea was the first order of the day, and there were plenty to choose from, however as a person whose preference is “builders brew” that comes mainly from Yorkshire, I think I was a tad over ambitious in my selection, but in the spirit of adventure I had to try their Flowering Red Amaranth tea, just because it sounded so intriguing.image

After tea, some seat shuffling and a few more photo’s we were given a palate cleansing tropical fruit coupe, before being served with finger sandwiches, mini pastries and deliciously sweet desserts, before the final course of warmed plain or raisin scones with a selection of jams and clotted cream. All of which was absolutely gorgeous, and surprisingly more filling than you may think.

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Cakes, pastries and sandwiches

For four hours we laughed, ate, drank, (did I mention the champagne?) asked questions, talked books and reading, and Leigh’s upcoming releases. I had a fabulous time. In stark contrast to the dark themes of her regular #1 bestselling thrillers, Leigh is a delightfully sunny person to be around, is welcoming to all who enjoy reading, and supportive of those still aspiring publication. If you get chance to catch up with her at any of her regular book signings, or events (details of which can be found on the No Exit Press website) I highly recommend you do so.

 

 

 

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DI Geraldine Steel 7 – Out Now in e-book & paperback

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DI Ian Peterson 3 – Out now in e-book. Out in paperback 25th November