I am delighted to welcome the lovely Louise Ross to my blog today who has very kindly agreed to do an interview with me. Louise is the author of the fabulous DCI Ryan Mysteries.
L.J. Ross is the author of the international #1 bestselling series of DCI Ryan mystery novels. Her debut, Holy Island, was released in January 2015 and reached number one in the Amazon Kindle UK bestsellers chart. Its sequels, Sycamore Gap, Heavenfield and Angel are also #1 bestsellers. The fifth book in the series, High Force, is scheduled for release towards the end of 2016 or early 2017. The novels are all available to purchase in e-book, paperback and audiobook formats on the Amazon store. Holy Island is also available in German translation.
Louise was born in Northumberland, England. She studied undergraduate and postgraduate Law at King’s College, University of London and studied abroad in Paris and Florence. She spent much of her working life in London, where she was a regulatory lawyer for a number of years until taking the decision to change career and pursue her dream to write.
Now, she writes full time and lives with her husband and son in Bath. She enjoys reading all manner of books, travelling and spending time with family and friends.
Hi Louise and many thanks for joining me today. Your DCI Ryan series is set in Northumberland. Even though you are from there did you have to spend any time doing any research on the area?
Hi Sarah and thank you for having me! Yes, my DCI Ryan series is based around Northumberland and parts of County Durham. I know both of these areas well because I was born and grew up in the region but I do try to visit regularly. Partly, so that my son can visit his grandparents and partly so that I can go location hunting and develop a better sense of each area I plan to use in my books.
There are now four books in the series with a fifth out soon. Does it get any easier writing the series or harder?
A little bit of both! It is easier to imagine the behavioural traits or dialogue for each character because I have grown to ‘know’ them by now, which makes it easier to dive straight into the next book with an existing idea of the main players. Likewise, thanks to the kind reception I received for the first four books, it gives me a bit more confidence when I come to start a new book. However, I do feel more of a weight of expectation than before, because I am very conscious that I do not want to leave my readers feeling disappointed.
As well as a writer you are the mum to a gorgeous little boy. How has motherhood affected your writing and at what age will you be introducing him to your books?
Thank you! I have Ethan to thank for a number of things. I had already decided to change career from being a city lawyer before he was born, but it wasn’t until I was on a period of maternity leave that I was forced into a period of inactivity and ‘time out’. During those quiet moments at home, I was able to really consider what I wanted to do with the rest of my professional life. You might say that he gave me the thinking space to dream, which sounds a bit corny but there you have it. More generally, knowing that I have a certain amount of time during the day to write forces me to be more productive without sacrificing the time I prefer to spend with him or as a family.
As for introducing him to my books, he is such an independent thinker, I imagine he’ll probably hunt them out sooner rather than later and declare that he prefers something else!
Is crime the genre you always wanted to write and would you consider writing any other genre?
I have a varied taste in literature, in terms of what I enjoy reading. That being the case, I always thought I would turn to romance or women’s fiction but instead I have managed to slip into the darker side of crime and mystery writing. I’m not sure what it reveals about my character – probably that I’m fairly bloodthirsty! – but I do enjoy it. That said, I could see myself branching out into psychological thrillers.
Who are some of your favourite crime authors and are there any books that have really stood out to you recently?
I have always been a great fan of vintage crime, so Agatha Christie will always be ‘up there’ for me. I remember enjoying all of them as a child and rediscovering them as an adult I wasn’t disappointed. Likewise, I very much enjoyed Daphne du Maurier’s books and particularly some of her short stories. More recently, I read Jim Thompson’s ‘The Killer Inside Me’ and thought it was outstanding.
Can you talk us through what your typical working day would be like?
Typically, I am up early to help to get my son ready for school. My husband and I have our own offices at home and so we are very lucky that we see a lot of each other. He is a very hands-on, equal parent so we generally help each other out in terms of professional commitments and childcare because he also has a very busy career of his own. Once Ethan is at school, I tend to put in a few hours at my desk writing and then go for a long walk around the park to clear my head, before setting up in a coffee shop for a final hour or two. I try to fit in social media and other marketing in the evening or ad hoc, although I do have a few people to help me with that. Some days, writing can be interrupted if I have agreed to give a talk or an interview, which I am happy to do if it will help other writers like me to succeed.
What is your writing space like and what would be your dream work space?
I have a simple antique oak writing desk and matching captain’s chair in my study, which faces the window. Around me, I have a bunch of bookcases (we have one in almost every room in the house) so that I can be reminded of the work that I love. I am very old fashioned in the sense that I prefer to use Word on my laptop – the modern day equivalent of a typewriter! My dream work space would look out onto the beach but, then again, I’d probably be distracted!
Do you prefer kindle or a physical book?
I like both. Obviously, I sell my books through Kindle (although paperbacks are available too) and I have my own Kindle full of books to be read, but I also love collecting old and beautiful books.
Being a writer you must go through a lot of note books and pens/pencils, are you a big stationery fan?
Oh, yes! I can spend many a happy hour rifling through the shelves of the three-storey branch of Paperchase on Tottenham Court Road in London, or eyeing up fancy fountain pens!
What’s your favourite film that has been adapted from a book?
I very much enjoyed Hitchcock’s direction of ‘Rebecca’ starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine, but Gregory Peck’s performance in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, adapted from the novel by Harper Lee, is utterly brilliant.
What makes you cry?
Petty injustice and cruelty, or small kindnesses. The two extremes of the human condition.
What makes you laugh?
Daft comedies, almost certainly with Jack Lemmon, or an episode of Only Fools and Horses.
If Hollywood came calling, who would you like to see play DCI Ryan?
Oh, that’s a tricky one! Part of the beauty of a book is being able to imagine your own version of the characters, so I’m reticent to put a face to the names. But, if I had to choose, perhaps someone like Richard Armitage would suit the character of Ryan.
Lastly can you tell us when we can look forward to the fifth in the series and have you got anything else in the pipe line like a stand alone perhaps?
I am tinkering with the fifth book in the series, ‘High Force’, at the moment and should be in a position to set a release date shortly! In the meantime, the audiobook version of ‘Angel: a DCI Ryan Mystery’ narrated by Jonathan Keeble will be released through Audible Studios on 6th December. The others have all been bestsellers, so I’m hoping that people enjoy this one just as much. I have contributed a short vignette (featuring DCI Ryan) to a charity anthology called ‘Dark Minds’, which will be published on December 15th and features a number of other great crime authors. All proceeds to Hospice UK and a donation to Sophie’s Appeal, which is a great charity. Other than that, I’ve planned a psychological standalone thriller which I’m looking forward to writing in the new year.
Many thanks again to Louise for taking the time out of her busy schedule. For more about Louise Ross and her books please see the following links: