Q&A Interview with LJ Ross
How excited am I, that the wonderful Louise Ross aka LJ Ross has dropped by my blog on her publication day for HEAVENFIELD A DCI Ryan Mystery: Volume 3 (The DCI Ryan Mysteries)
to take part in my Q&A Interview..... So without further ado I would like to welcome Louise Ross
Hello Louise, Happy Publication Day and welcome to my blog
Hello and thank you for having me, I am delighted to be here on publication day.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and background?
I was born and bred in Northumberland, but I moved to London to complete an undergraduate and masters degree in Law at King’s College, which is also where I met my husband, James. I went on to do further legal training and lived abroad in Florence and Paris, for a while. After a few years working in London and enjoying life there, I started to feel restless and began to consider a change of career. By a wonderful stroke of luck, I became pregnant with my son around the same time and this allowed me to take some time off on maternity leave and begin writing.
When did you know that you wanted to become a writer? and how did you go about it?
I always thought that the idea of being a writer was a fairly recent one for me, but recently my mother uncovered an old book I made as a child - fully illustrated - so perhaps the idea took root early on! I have always loved to read and I was experienced in drafting large documents in my previous career, so I think it was a natural progression. I began by writing the beginnings of stories which were only around 20,000 words long, to try to find my own ‘voice’. The first full length manuscript I wrote was, ‘Holy Island: a DCI Ryan Mystery’. Initially, I approached the industry according to the traditional blueprint by contacting a few agents and publishing houses which would accept direct submissions. I was fortunate to receive an offer around this time, but I don’t think that it would have benefited me in the long-run. Instead, I decided to self-publish using Amazon’s KDP platform which offers very favourable terms to writers - I am able to retain my rights and creative control throughout the process, not to mention much higher royalty rates! For me, it was a no-brainer and when Holy island hit the UK Number 1 spot back in May 2015, I’ve never looked back.
Can you tell us what genre your books are and the audience you write for?
My books are mystery novels with a peppering of humour and a tiny bit of romance. It’s hard to find the right balance, but essentially I wanted to create a fast-paced novel which had a bit of everything! I don’t like anything to be type-cast, so I approach writing the DCI Ryan series with a fluid idea of the crime genre. In terms of audience, my attitude is the more the merrier! I don’t write with any specific reader in mind, I only try to write a story that I enjoy creating and that I would enjoy reading myself. I prefer my books to be page-turners, but aside from that I don’t have any preconceptions as to readership. I’ve been very fortunate that a lot of people seem to have enjoyed the books so far and that is wonderful to know!
When I have a clear block of time in my diary, I can write prolifically. But, as any mother will tell you, there are always little distractions! Still, my general working pattern is to spend four hours in the morning working solidly, perhaps into the afternoon if I’m on a roll while my son is at nursery. If the creative juices have dried up for the day, I try to answer e-mails and messages, take care of marketing and admin which is just as important as a self-published writer.
Are your characters based on anyone you know or are they just fictional?
I think that writers are often good people observers and, that being the case, it’s likely that some of the behavioural traits of the people we know or have met over the years are bound to translate into some of the fictional characters in our books. A couple of friends have inspired new characters for me, but they are not carbon copies!
Have you wrote about a personal experience in your novels?
Thankfully, I haven’t been in any of the high octane scrapes that DCI Ryan manages to get himself into! I sometimes find that snatches of dialogue or smaller scenes are inspired by real conversations but that’s it.
What research do you do?
It depends on what is required for the storyline, but generally I like the descriptions of Northumberland to be as accurate as possible, so I make sure that I visit the locations covered in my books. I like the procedural elements to be authentic, but my stories are more character driven and so I don’t tend to dwell too much on PACE or criminal procedure, except to make sure things are broadly as they should be. I try to weave some Northumbrian history into the DCI Ryan mysteries to give readers a flavour of the landscape and its amazing past, as well as researching technical points as they arise. For example, in my next book (‘Heavenfield’) the team are looking for antique weaponry, so I make sure that I read up on the legislation surrounding these types of firearms so that the characters’ approach is appropriate.
Who would you like to co-write with and why?
I haven’t considered co-writing anything yet, but it’s early days! I think any crime or thriller writer would say that co-writing with Stephen King would be magic and I would agree.
What's your favorite book?
The answer to this question changes all the time! I love old school crime, classic literature, Russian literature…one of my favourite books is Dostoyevsky’s 'Crime and Punishment’. It is beautifully crafted and his insights into ordinary human nature are second to none.
What's your favorite food?
Cake. Any kind of cake!
What's your favorite film?
I’m a sucker for the eighties, so I would have to say ‘Back To the Future.’ It makes me feel nostalgic and light-hearted, every time I watch it.
What's your favorite song?
Louis Armstrong’s ‘We Have All the Time in the World’. It’s moving and romantic, and it was also my wedding song.
How can readers find out more information about yourself and your books?
You can always check out my website (www.ljrossauthor.com), my blog (www.lovesuspense.com), or my Amazon page (http://www.amazon.co.uk/LJ-Ross/e/B00SMWDX98). Failing that, I love to hear from people and you can drop me an e-mail or contact me via my Facebook page (LJ Ross Author) or on Twitter (@LJRoss_author
Thank you so much for Joining me it has been fun. I must say you do have really good taste in films, that is my all time favourite to. Have a brilliant day Louise and I will see you on Sat for your Giveaway/Author chat at Crime Book Club ( Event link is at the bottom for anyone that wants to join us)
Thank you I have enjoyed it. I have got a very busy and exciting day ahead of me.See you Saturday I can't wait.