So back in September we had #TeaWithLeigh, where a few of us bloggers got to sit around, drink champagne and talk all things Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson.
This time around the character up for discussion was Lucy Hall, and not being one to do things by halves Leigh had several events to celebrate the launch of Journey To Death. Her soirée at The Sherlock Holmes Hotel on Baker Street London was the one I was lucky enough to be invited to attend.
It was a fabulous event and there was a great buzz to the whole evening with everyone there to celebrate everything Lucy Hall.
There was of course wine, but not only that there was some great food too with delicious canapés abound although my favourites, by far, were the mini burgers.
There was some great company, (yes I know that’s me), but I also got to meet up with some fellow bloggers and writers, many of which were already known to me, but equally and delightfully almost as many who weren’t. My address book and follow lists have increased to include the intriguing new contacts I made that I look forward to hearing from in the future.
On top of that was an amazing guest, the Minister of Tourism & Culture for The Seychelles, who having made a special journey in for the event, gave a great speech and made sure that all of us who want to travel to The Seychelles after reading Journey To Death, now know exactly how friendly the local sharks are.
And of course there was a fantastic cake, because it’s not an event until there is cake.
Above all the whole evening was one huge success, and I am grateful to Leigh for the invite, it was well worth the effort of a six hour round trip coach ride to attend.
Oh and speaking of coaches, I did at least make it back in time for mine.
Leigh 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 LifeOfCri.me 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Well that’s 2014 over, and what an amazing year that was!
Of course the highlight for me will always be my now fiancé proposing to me at the end of a panel during this years Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Harrogate. He couldn’t have chosen a more fitting venue and I will be eternally grateful to the 2014 festival chair Steve Mosby, and the rest of the festival planning committee for helping to make this happen.
Not only that but, I’ve also got the good fortune of being able to re-live the moment whenever I want, as the download of the panel itself (In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream) is available to buy from the festival website and the recording has his proposal (although not my squeaked out answer) on the end of it. That £3 purchase was definitely one of my best of the year!
That was closely followed by appearing with friend and crimesquad.com editor Chris Simmons on this year’s ITV3 Specsavers Crime Thriller Club TV show. Not only did we have two fabulous days out in ‘that London’, meeting new and interesting people, catching up with author friends and laughing with Bradley Walsh, we also WON.
Closer to home it’s been great for me to see this blog really start to increase its traffic (I’m still hoping to break that magic 1,000 followers before the end of the year – sitting at 976 as I write) and getting the opportunity to participate in the blog tours of some brilliant crime reads…
Then of course there were also these fabulous books
I have read several highly accomplished debut novels this year, but this is one that sticks in my mind. Homicide Detective Elouise Norton is someone I’m keen to hear more about. Tough and driven, yet at times insecure. With a fascinating setting on the ever changing border of a gentrifying Los Angeles, it’s a great debut.
“To everyone else in this carriage I must look normal; I’m doing exactly what they do: commuting to work, making appointments, ticking things off lists.
Just goes to show”
Not published until Jan 15th 2015, I am jealous that so many of you have such a fabulous book yet to read and experience. I urge you all to grab it as soon as it comes out, as I guarantee it’s going to cause quite a stir.
In a distinct change of direction to the race against time thriller, Mitchell has produced a gripping read, with cracking characters, storylines and a great deal of style this series could really see her giving Simon Kernick a run for his money.
The fourth and latest of Oswald’s books featuring Detective Inspector Tony McLean. With its supernatural twists on the standard police procedural, this is one series that just gets better and better with Dead Men’s Bones proving to be the best yet.
Dark, chilling and impeccably plotted, it’s an interesting insight into the secrets that lurk behind closed doors, how little notice we all take of the world around us and asks the question just how well do we ever really know our friends and neighbours?
These few aside there a are plenty more delightful, intriguing and thrilling books out there, and many of those that are currently featuring on an awful lot of top 10 lists this year are staring at me mournfully from my on the verge of collapse to be read pile. I’m looking forward to being able to sit down and catch up with just a few of them over the coming months.
My end of year tally for books read came to a grand total of 123 missing out by more that I would have liked, on beating last years total of 130, so I’ll be going all out to exceed both of these numbers next year.
Here’s looking forward to and wishing you all a fabulous, book filled 2015.
When a man plummets to his death from a balcony at York races, his wife and brother become suspects in a murder enquiry. Meanwhile Richard is being stalked by a killer issuing death threats. Richard is reluctant to go to the police, for fear his own dark secret will be exposed. Newly promoted Detective Inspector Ian Peterson is investigating the death at the races when a woman’s body is discovered. Shortly after that, Richard is killed. With the body count increasing, the pressure mounts for his team to solve the crimes quickly. But the killer is following the investigation far more keenly than Ian realises and time is running out as the case suddenly gets a lot closer to home…
Race To Death is the second outing as a main lead for DI Ian Peterson, a character that appeared originally in the first three Geraldine Steel books by the same author. In Race To Death he has recently accepted a promotion from DS to DI which involves moving hundreds of miles from his current home to the city of York. This move is just one of the things I enjoyed about Race To Death, as a new location and new colleagues means the chance to get to know a whole host of new characters making this a new start for the reader as well as the protagonist.
With a wife already unhappy with the demands of ‘the job’ on his time and as yet unsettled in their new home, under pressure from a boss he is struggling to find common ground with and a murder case leading to nothing but dead ends, DI Peterson has his work cut out. Out to impress he is determined to do what it takes to find the killer. Russell has written these new relationships well so it is easy to identify with the characters as they settle into their new routines.
The plot has more than enough false leads to keep you guessing to the very end. It throws you straight into the action, and the tempo continues at a steady beat throughout ensuring you won’t want to put it down until you know whodunit.
All in all it’s a riveting read and I’m really looking forward to finding out what’s next for DI Peterson.
For your chance to win a copy of Race To Death, tweet this post and follow @LOCrime, or leave a comment below.
And the nominees are…….
MC Beaton (Constable & Robinson)
Tony Black (Black and White Publishing)
Sharon Bolton (Transworld Publishers)
Elly Griffiths (Quercus)
Mari Hannah (Pan)
James Oswald (Michael Joseph)
Phil Rickman (Corvus)
Leigh Russell (No Exit Press)
Mel Sherratt (Thomas & Mercer)
Neil White (Sphere)
1,384 people voted for 636 different authors, resulting in a huge variety of crime writing styles being highlighted this year. I know who I would like to see picking up the award this year. How about you?