Saturday, 26 June 2010
"well-written, soundly plotted, psychologically acute"
CUT SHORT No. 1
ROAD CLOSED No. 2
Bestseller Chart at Waterstones in Harrow
Not a bad weekend...
Friday, 25 June 2010
By Richard Jay Parker
Was chatting with some friends over the weekend re their summer reads and was struck by the fact that two of them were holding back on reading THE LOVELY BONES until after their holiday.
I’ve never consciously chosen a lighter read because I’m taking it on holiday but I’m sure it’s a subconscious part of my selection process. By lighter reads I don’t mean I exclude violence and dark subject matter. However, my poolside literature seems to be material that is in a comfortable context or genre rather than the sort of books I would normally jump at. The sort of books that challenge my perception, morals and make me rewardingly uncomfortable in the process usually go on hold for two weeks.
It’s a personal choice but I’d much rather something accessible and juicy over anything too heavy or intellectual while I’m relaxing. It’s got to be immediately engaging and capable of giving me that excuse to remain horizontal longer than I'd normally do in the middle of the day. But at the same time my holiday brain wants the experience to be effortless and thoroughly entertaining.
I suppose it’s the equivalent of watching a glossy Hollywood movie on the plane over art house material that’s often more rewarding.
It’s probably why good thrillers are so popular as holiday reads. I’ve got plenty of them that still have sun lotion on the pages. I certainly hope that there will be a few copies of STOP ME that will be christened in the same way.
Wednesday, 23 June 2010
by Matt Lynn
I was talking to my editor Martin Fletcher at Headline yesterday about the next book in the ‘Death Force’ series, which is going to be called ‘Ice Force’. The outline is looking great. But we were discussing whether one of the character should die, as they have done in each of the previous three books in the series.
We decided one should.
We picked a pair of characters, and decided to kill off one if England beat Slovenia today. And another if they get beaten.
So it really is a life or death match.
Friday, 18 June 2010
Tuesday, 15 June 2010
Sunday, 13 June 2010
But I thought it was time to return to some serious discussion about writing. Even I can see that there's only so much personal news I can blog about without becoming... how shall I put this?... repetitive... (OK, boring...)
One of the questions I was recently asked (Hayes FM) was:
"CUT SHORT launched in the summer and sold so fast your publisher had to reprint after two months. What elements in the book do you think made it so popular?"
That's a tricky one. What is it that makes some books grab our attention while others leave us unengaged?
For those of you who missed the radio broadcast my answer at the time went something like this.
"My books are plot driven so readers read on to find out what happens. But it is character that interests me. People fascinate me. Perhaps the popularity of my books is due to a combination of exciting plots and convincing characters." I went on to say that of course many authors achieve that, so I can't account for my success with CUT SHORT reprinted 3 times in its first year and ROAD CLOSED already off the starting posts, with its first few reviews pretty positive. So far a Top 50 Reviewer on amazon has said: "The characters are believable and I really like Geraldine... I also liked the way everything dovetailed together so that while you're reading you get those light bulb moments when a piece of the jigsaw slots into place..." Another reviewer says "tense and gripping... with an exhilarating climax that you don’t see coming until it is too late... Geraldine is a gifted, strong and likeable character." Sam Millar wrote of ROAD CLOSED that it is "a gripping, fast-paced read, pulling you in from the very first tense page and keeping you captivated right to the end with its refreshingly compelling and original narrative...Geraldine Steel is a complex and highly driven character, with multifaceted feelings of contradiction and nuance." Jeffery Deaver also mentioned plot and character, now I come to think of it, when he described CUT SHORT as "a seamless blending of psychological sophistication and gritty police procedure. And you're just plain going to love DI Geraldine Steel." In fact most of my reviewers cover both plot and character, so perhaps it is a combination of strong plot and convincing characters that is winning fans for my Geraldine Steel series.
What elements in any book do you think make it popular? It's an important question for an author - but is it an impossible one to answer?
Friday, 11 June 2010
Sunday, 6 June 2010
ROAD CLOSED came out two weeks ago and has already started to sell. Of course, I’m a very small scale operator in a world where the big players expect to sell tens of thousands of books every week. Still, there are only 5 copies of ROAD CLOSED left on amazon.co.uk where it’s had its first amazon review – 5 stars from a Top 50 Reviewer and Vine Voice who concludes the review: “Give Leigh Russell a try - I'm sure you will not be disappointed.”
WH Smith’s Travel selected ROAD CLOSED for a promotion and I just received an email from the books manager one branch where ROAD CLOSED has sold 115 copies in 2 days (OK, I was there signing, but still…) I wonder if book sales are so exciting for the big names? I suspect not, because they must expect their books to sell in huge numbers. I’m still excited when one person buys one of my books.
It’s no secret that I completed the first draft of CUT SHORT in six weeks, and two weeks after I’d sent out the manuscript I received a phone call from a publisher who offered me a three book deal. After editing, rewriting and research, my first book hit the shelves and sold out so fast that it was reprinted three times in under a year. Following that success, ROAD CLOSED has just been published ahead of schedule as WH Smith’s Travel selected it for a promotion. It’s been a thrilling rollercoaster but my publishing deal turned up so suddenly and unexpectedly that I still can’t believe this wildly exciting experience is really happening to me.
I only discovered my passion for writing three years ago when an idea for a story popped into my head and I began to write it down. Since then, I haven’t been able to stop writing. As Eugene Ionesco said, “A writer never has a vacation. For a writer, life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.”
I’ve heard it said that finding a publisher is like climbing a high mountain. Once you reach the summit, you see an even higher mountain ahead – book sales. This week is half term so I’m doing four book signings, giving a talk, appearing on a panel of bestselling crime writers, and completing the first draft of my third book. I enjoy giving talks and going to book signings, getting out and about meeting readers, but all this promotion is another demand on my time.
Sometimes I think I must be slightly insane… but I love writing and everything associated with it, and the pressure of limited time seems to help my creativity almost as much as a deadline from my publisher! Another benefit of being so busy is that I have no time to stress about how my second book will be received, and no time to worry about “writer’s block”. If I have a free hour or two, that’s it – I’m writing!
So my really exciting news is that I’ve just sent the COMPLETED first draft of DEAD END to my agent. Watch out for it in 2011 and, in the meantime, here are the links for CUT SHORT and ROAD CLOSED in case you want to take a look.