Sunday 29 December 2013

Monday 23 December 2013

Geraldine Steel at Christmas

My detective Geraldine Steel now has her own fan page on facebook.
Be a friend of a Geraldine Steel here
Please click on the link to follow her investigations on facebook! She would love to hear from you, and all your friends so please join her, and share the link with your friends.

This is just a bit of fun at Christmas time as a thank you for following me here. There are no book promotions on Geraldine Steel's fan page. She wouldn't approve!

Friday 20 December 2013


I was so excited to receive a blurb quote from the legendary Lee Child, creator of Jack Reacher, that I nearly forgot to send the manuscript for the second in my new Ian Peterson series off to my publisher! Lee wrote: 'Leigh Russell is one to watch.'

In more news today, FATAL ACT and ROAD CLOSED are both in the No Exit Press Christmas Drop Dead Price Offer -

Have a Happy and Healthy Christmas and a New Year that brings you all you wish for, and more!

Monday 2 December 2013

Visit to Birmingham

A few photos from a weekend in Birmingham. Thank you to W H Smith's in Birmingham and Solihull for inviting me along, and to all the readers who stopped for a chat and bought copies of my books. Particular thanks to fans who came especially to meet me, and travelled to Birmingham or Solihull for signed books. I hope you enjoy reading them!

Friday 29 November 2013

Your vote needed!

Please vote for Stop Dead the 2013 Geraldine Steel crime novel on Crime Time

Off to the Midlands

Off to the Midlands today - WH Smith's Birmingham New Street Saturday 30th November, WH Smith's Solihull Sunday 1st December - hope to see you there!

Thursday 28 November 2013

Leigh Russell on Our Book Reviews

Thanks to Our Book Reviews for this interview. Sorry I couldn't possibly answer your last question!

Leigh Russell interview

Tuesday 26 November 2013

Writing your first book

It's interesting to read how other authors started out, so I thought I'd share this link today, instead of posting one of my interviews with another author. "I wish I knew as little now as I did then. When you’re just starting out, you’re wonderfully unaware of the mistakes you’re making."

Monday 25 November 2013

Calling America!

Cut Short published in the US by Harper Collins is available to download from 26th November! Please tell all your friends in the US and help spread the word! 
Cut Short (Harper Collins US)

Tuesday 19 November 2013

New Geraldine Steel

I am pleased to tell you that the new Geraldine Steel novel is now available on kindle.
Here's the link.
Fatal Act

Sunday 17 November 2013




The importance of varying your pace when you are writing cannot be stressed too much. To some extent this will happen naturally through your plot, but you should also use your language to control the pace of the narrative. You need to include variety, but changes have to be appropriate, and add to the narrative. Think carefully about how you change the pace of your writing, and why.

The three main ways of varying pace in writing are: paragraphs, sentences, and words.

First of all, think about varying the length of your paragraphs, not merely because you may have more or less to say in different paragraphs, but as a deliberate stylistic choice. A long paragraph can work well for description. If you have a feel for the rhythms and colour of language, your writing might be enjoyable for the flowing prose alone, as with authors like Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguru, both of whom write so beautifully. Following a long paragraph, it can be extremely effective to write a short paragraph. This could even be just one sentence. Used skilfully, such variety can have a dramatic impact on the reader.

Secondly, think about varying the length of your sentences. This will give your writing more colour and interest, but you must create such variety with a specific purpose. Do not just write a short sentence for the sake of a random change in pace. Again, you can use long sentences for slow passages. These might be descriptive, or writing about a dull interlude, perhaps when your character is waiting for something to happen. This can build tension in the writing, making your readers wait, alongside your character, before hitting them with series of short sentences, or even single words. These will speed up the narrative, enhancing the excitement. 'Crash!' can be have greater impact than 'All of a sudden there was a loud crash.'

Finally, vary the length of your words. This can be done by choosing multisyllabic or monosyllabic words, according to the effect you intend to achieve. A similar slowing down or speeding up of the pace can be created by using long or short vowel sounds.
'Deep green pool' slows the pace down, when John Steinbeck is creating a slow, peaceful, relaxed atmosphere at the beginning of his novel 'Of Mice and Men'. The short sounds in 'The sun that is young once' speeds up the pace in Dylan Thomas' poem 'Fern Hill' where he is writing about how fast youth passes.

However hard you work on your prose, you must make it appear effortless. Try to achieve a balance between telling your story and writing beautiful prose. This means being discerning in your use of imagery. Treat it with caution. I tend to cut metaphors and similes from my own manuscripts. Such images often seem brilliant as I write them. In reality, they slow the narrative down for the reader. Remember crime fiction is plot driven and readers do not necessarily appreciate pages of poetic prose. Of course you must write as well as you can, but never lose sight of your narrative.

If you should treat imagery with caution, be even more wary of cliches. If possible, avoid them entirely. They are dull and lazy writing. Never fall back on phrases we have all come across hundreds of times before. You can do better than that!

This post was first posted on the CRA website.

Thursday 14 November 2013

Impromptu Gathering

Due to trouble on the trains, quite a few people had to turn back on their journey and couldn't join us at the launch party for Cold Sacrifice, so my publisher is organising an informal gathering at the Crusting Pipe wine bar in Covent Garden from 7pm on Friday 6th December. I hope some of my blogger friends can join us there.

Thursday 7 November 2013


It's time to write a news update on my blog and what a lot of news I have to share with you! I hardly know where to begin!

If we are connected on facebook you may have seen the photos I posted of our trip to York. We spent a wonderful two weeks in a beautiful flat overlooking the river, ate out far more than was good for us - well what can be better than chips and Champagne at Betty's? - and did a lot of sightseeing in York and the surrounding villages. We were fortunate to see the annual York Illuminations. We were also lucky with the weather - apart from the morning when the York Press sent a photographer to snap me outside the Minster. How shall I describe the result? It was great fun...  but let's just say that my hair isn't exactly tidy at the best of times... The photo was certainly spooky, cleverly lit from below.

Of course I was there to work. There were book signings in York and Scarborough, a talk to a lovely audience at Scarborough Library, interviews with the press and on BBC radio. In addition to all that,  I was able to research where Ian Peterson lives, and where the murderer and the victims live - and die... This was for the second book in my new Ian Peterson series, which is the first one set in York.

I may have mentioned that the lovely director of the Crime Writers Association offered me a golden ticket to the ITV Thriller Awards. Of course I said yes, even though it meant rushing back to London from York and back again the following day to talk at Scarborough Library. This was the first ITV award ceremony I have attended and it was really exciting. Everywhere I turned someone was offering champagne (it would have been rude to refuse!) and  I met so many luminaries of page and screen I could name drop all night! Here are just a few, with apologies to the many I've left out. It's always a pleasure catching up with fellow crime writers Peter James, Lee Child, Ian Rankin, Mark Billingham, Anne Zoyrodi, Linda Stratmann, Maxim Jabukowski, and many others. Martina Cole was there, and Wilbur Smith, and a host of other writers. I felt like a film star meeting Nathaniel Parker (swoon!), the fabulously talented Dervla Kirwan, Rupert Penry Jones who is unbelievably even more gorgeous in the flesh than he is on screen, Amelia Bullmore, Bradley Walsh, Emily Fox.... like I said, I could name drop all night! It was such fun!

My books are already published in Italian (Mondadori), French (City Editions), and Turkish (Kassandra), and recently Harper Collins US acquired both my series which they are publishing at a rate of one a month. Just this week we had confirmation that another major publisher has acquired my titles, Bastei Lubbe of Gemany. So Geraldine Steel is spreading her wings internationally. Hopefully she will become as popular in the US as she is in the UK. The Miami Examiner describes her as 'one of the most interesting detectives of all time' so she has one fan in America at least! No wonder Book2Book trade journal have said Geraldine Steel is 'set to be the next big name in crime fiction'. Let's hope they're right!

As if all that wasn't excitement enough for one post, my diary for next year is filling up fast. I've accepted an invitation to spend two weeks teaching for the Writers Lab on Skyros, the most beautiful Greek island. I'll be speaking at a French literary festival in St Clementin, meeting my US publishers in New York, attending the Crime Writers Association conference in Guernsey, and going to a Writes Lab weekend on The Isle of Man, in addition to my UK commitments like CrimeFest and Harrogate Festival. It's going to be a busy year.

My books
The sixth Geraldine Steel, Fatal Act, will be available to download in December, and out in print in 2014. The second Ian Peterson is ready to be edited and proofread, and will be published in 2014. I'm now  working on the seventh Geraldine Steel, which will be out as an ebook in December 2014.

Saturday 2 November 2013

Ruth Jacobs Interview

Interview with Ruth Jacobs, author of Soul Destruction

1. What inspired you to start writing?
My grandmother was a writer and I think that made me want to write. I was in a great deal of emotional pain, and from the trauma came poetry – not particularly good, but it was a release for me.
2. Tell us about your background. How has your own life experience influenced your writing?
Since I began writing at around thirteen, trauma has pervaded everything I’ve written. I lived a colourful life until I settled down and had my children in my late twenties, so that’s given me plenty of material for stories.
3. You deal with gritty issues in your writing. How do you research your material?
Nearly everything I’ve written I’ve lived, but I should clarify I haven’t murdered anybody. I still research though as I want what I write to be accurate. So, for example, when I needed a house with a basement in Ladbroke Grove for my novel, Soul Destruction: Unforgivable, I called an estate agency to make sure I chose a road with houses that do have basements.
4. How important is research to you? Is it simply a means to an end?
For me, I think being a perfectionist means I have to research whether I want to or not, but because of the subject matter, it’s mostly been researched in the field. I do like learning though and research can be interesting.
5. When you're writing do you know exactly where the narrative is going or does it take unexpected twists and turns?
When I wrote my last novel, I had every scene plotted out. Then the characters went and did something different and I had to start over again. Thankfully, that didn’t happen too far in, and I wrote a new plot. My characters didn’t stick to that either, but I think having the plan gave me focus and somewhere to head to, and when the characters took me off in different directions I followed them and not the plot. I love it when that happens though; it’s like they’re their own people, making their own decisions, and I am just reporting on what’s going on.
6. How do you create your characters? Are they based on real people or complete fiction?
Most often my characters are based on people I’ve known either in some of their qualities or defects of character. Then as I write the story, they become their own people. Having said that, at other times, I’ve had a voice in my head who’s told me the story and I’ve just written it down, getting to know her as she speaks. God – that makes me sound slightly insane.
7. Are you a disciplined writer doing so many hours/words a day? Tell us about your writing schedule.
My schedule is a complete mess at the moment. I write, but I procrastinate far more. I used to be more disciplined and write every evening and most of the weekend too. Some days I can write 3-4,000 words, but I rarely have days like those. More often, it’s much less and that’s usually due to distractions and other obligations and also my own indecision over what I should be writing.
8. Which crime writers inspire you, or do you prefer to read genres other than the one in which you write?
I enjoy reading crime but I am not sure other writers inspire my storylines or characters, but perhaps more my style of writing and the voice. For example, my last short story, Life, was inspired by Ian Ayris’s novel, Abide With Me. Shortly after I finished his book, a woman started talking in my head following a phone call with my ex. More recently, this summer, after I finished JT LeRoy’s novel, Sarah, a new voice came to me and she spoke lyrically. I am not sure I can carry her on for a full novel, but I’d like to try.
9. It must be difficult to write both fiction and non-fiction. How does your approach to each differ, and do you have to focus on one at a time?
I do find it easier to have one writing project, but with my activism, it’s meant recently the focus has been non-fiction. It’s also hard to escape into my characters’ world when I am so deeply entrenched in the real world, concerned about the safety of real women. I think with both though I like to know what I am writing before I begin. But having said that, sometimes I just write. There’s a voice that starts speaking and I have to get the words down. Sometimes that voice is me, and it’s non-fiction, and sometimes it’s a character, and I really don’t know where they appear from, but it’s lovely when they do.
10. What's next? Tell us about your current project.
I began writing Soul Destruction book two and that was my current project, on ice until things with my activism – currently pushing for the Merseyside hate crime model to be made UK wide - have quietened down. However, I have been approached by an agent to write a memoir, so now I don’t know what will be next for me.

Saturday 26 October 2013


However clever and intriguing the storyline, no novel succeeds without strong characters. They need to be credible so readers can believe in them. It is also important to decide which characters your readers should be rooting for. If readers don't care what happens to any of the characters in a book, they will rapidly lose interest. 

There are a number of steps you can take to ensure your characters come to life for the reader. First of all characters need to be recognisable and consistent, yet not so predictable that they become dull and two dimensional. A little planning will enable you to include some plausible surprises to keep your readers engaged. 

It is advisable to keep notes, especially if you are planning to write a series using the same characters. Notes can be stored physically or electronically, but make sure they are easy to access. You do not want to waste time searching for notes on a particular character while you are in full creative flow. Quick reference to your notes will ensure you avoid both contradiction and reiteration. However your notes are stored, make sure you keep a back up.

Many authors write detailed character sketches before starting their narrative, deciding on characters' personal history and tastes in advance. Much of this information may not appear explicitly in the book, but it informs the writing nevertheless. Familiarising yourself with your characters will help you to write about them with confidence, and they will seem three dimensional and more credible result.  

Think about the point of view you select. First person takes the reader right into the situation, alongside your narrator. Third person allows the writer to present aspects of the narrative from different angles. This enables you to make use of dramatic irony, where the reader is aware of something unknown to a character - the 'He's behind you!' technique exploited in pantomime. Both points of view can be effective, so think carefully about the best way to communicate your story to your readers. 

Most readers like to be given a physical description of a main character, although some prefer to create that image for themselves. You need to decide how much you are going to tell your reader about your protagonist's appearance, and how best to convey this information. Try to avoid cliches, although at one time or another most authors (myself included) resort to a character examining himself or herself in a mirror to allow for a brief physical description. There are other ways to do this, by having one character observe another character's appearance, for example. This should fit naturally into the narrative, such as a detective studying a murder victim. "... the dead woman had been slender and short.  Her dark grey hair was streaked with chestnut brown that glimmered in the bright lights.  Pulled back off her face, it gave her a severe appearance...  She had small neat features, well-proportioned, and must have been quite attractive when she was younger. In death her face looked ghastly, grey and somehow shrunken, as though her cheeks had collapsed inwards..."    

The chances of even being published are very slim, but there is always a possibility you may be writing a future bestseller. Either way, creating convincing and engaging characters is a vital part of writing a book. 

Adapted from my Writers' Tips first published by the Crime Writers Association on the CRA Website. 

Saturday 19 October 2013

News, Views, Interviews and Tips

October 19th 2013

Having been very remiss for many months, I'll be posting regularly again here on my blog.

I intend to post news about my experience writing for No Exit Press, described on the Huffington Post as "a smallish Independent, doing their best to bring some the world's best underground crime fiction to the forefront." I'll also share the regular 'Writers' Tips' I write for the Crime Writers Association, and my monthly interviews with other authors I wrote for Mystery People.

There probably won't be pictures, as it's a more complicated process now than it used to be to post photos here. (Or is it just me?)  As well as following this blog for more detailed ramblings, please check my facebook page where I regularly post photos of my events and adventures. The link is on my website Leigh Russell website

So here is my first news post for a while...Having recently recovered from a nasty cold, I'm busier than ever. The run up to Christmas is always hectic for authors, with promotional events. Between now and Christmas I'll be visiting York, Scarborough, Ealing, Harrow, Bedford, Watford, Birmingham Solihull, Leamington Spa and Coventry. Details are listed on my website under 'Events' on so please check my website and come and say hello if I'm in your area.

My new spin off series features Geraldine Steel's sergeant, Ian Peterson. The first in the series, Cold Sacrifice, is just out in print. In the next novel Ian Peterson moves to York so right now I'm in York doing some research. I'll be signing in Waterstones here and in Scarborough, giving an interview to a reporter from the York Press, going to the BBC Radio York studios for an interview, and talking at Scarborough Library where the librarian produced a fabulous poster for my visit. Local contacts are helping me explore the area, from race course to mortuary, and I've had a great idea for the third Ian Peterson murder investigation!

With everything in place for my two week trip to York, at the last minute I had to rearrange my visit to Waterstones in Scarborough, originally booked for Friday 25th, when the lovely director of the CWA invited me to attend the televised Crime Thriller Award Ceremony in London. I couldn't turn down a 'golden ticket'. I feel like Charlie off to the Chocolate Factory! My return train ticket is booked to London, unusually I've packed rather a lot of sequins, and my house mates have been warned to expect me home overnight on the 24th. I'll be back in Scarborough in time for my talk at the library at 7pm on Friday the 25th.

Stopping at services on the way to York, I spotted the cover of Cold Sacrifice on the front of Take A Break Fiction Feast in W H Smith's. Arriving in York I was reassured to hear from the librarian that York Library stocks all my books - every one was out on loan, even the large print edition. So I'm here in York enjoying a nice glass of a Chianti with a bowl of olives and a yummy giant cheese pretzel, the weather is fine, and I have a rare day off tomorrow!

In other exciting news, in addition to events in bookshops and libraries, ebook sales are looking robust. Two of my titles are in the Top 100 on kindle, Cut Short at number 54 and Road Closed at number 69. Cut Short has been selected for the kindle Autumn promotion and can be downloaded for 99p until the end of October.  Cut Short on kindle

Thursday 22 August 2013

Out of my comfort zone

I've never been much of a traveller, unlike my husband who recently went trekking in the jungle. "If I don't do it now," he pointed out, "when will I do it?" In his mid-sixties, it sounded like a reasonable question, on the face of it.... although you can probably guess my answer!
He touched on the crux of the travel bug. People who visit far flung places are often exploring their own limits. Where some of us occasionally take a tentative step outside our 'comfort zones', others take huge leaps, just to see what happens. Most of the time, it works out fine. There are occasional horror stories, but statistically we are at greater risk of accidents in our own homes, more likely to crash in a car than an aeroplane.
A friend of mine travelled half way round the world to see an Eastern guru, consulted by millions of devotees. The guru asked my friend, "What do you expect to find here that you can't find at home?" Wise words, but perhaps they miss the point. Physical travel can be a means of testing ourselves, challenging our ability to cope in new situations.
My husband is constantly bemused by my phobia of getting lost. He's right, of course. English speaking adults are never so lost in a maze of London streets that they never reappear. (I remind myself of this whenever I'm going somewhere new in London, alone, so please don't contradict me!)
Perhaps we all have our own ways of 'finding ourselves.' For many people, it can be a profound or spiritual journey, but for some of us it's just a little more prosaic, and often closer to home. Most people would be slightly nervous about their first filmed interview. I was so relieved to find the place, the interview barely entered my mind beforehand. After downloading a map, and asking directions at the station, I still needed step by step  telephone directions from my marketing manager (who ended up running down the street, arms waving, to 'find' me).
My bag is packed, ready to fly off to Skyros. Everyone keeps telling me it will be fabulous, and I know they're right. It's a beautiful place. I'll be teaching at The Guardian's Number 1 writing holiday. My course is fully booked. But I'm anxious about reaching my destination... and then I have to get back home again... Still, if I don't go now, when will I go?

Thursday 8 August 2013

Being Number 1

A while ago I wrote an article entitled 'Who moved the goal posts?' In it I discussed climbing the ladder of success as an author, arguing that aspirations move on, forever out of reach. So what happens when you reach the top? Last week the latest title in my Geraldine Steel series, Stop Dead, was Number 1 on kindle. Not number 1 in crime, or thrillers, (I've been there before) but Number 1 on kindle. Unbelievably more popular than The Bible, Dan Brown, 50 Shades, JK Rowling... Here I am, living the dream. But has anything changed? Not really. It's an ego boost being 'Number 1'. My publisher sent me a fabulous bouquet of flowers. I have drunk rather more Champagne than is good for me. And... that's it. There's a royalty cheque to look forward to in about 6 months' time, and... no, that really is it. 'You've made it!' a friend enthused. Well, yes, for today. But tomorrow the book might slip down to Number 10 or - oh horror! Number 20... And there's the rub. A year ago I would have been thrilled to see one of my titles in the top 50. Now, nothing below Number 1 seems good enough. And an author with a small independent publisher isn't likely to top the bestsellers list even once, let alone twice. So is reaching Number 1 a two edged sword? Am I destined to a life of disappointment from now on? What can I say but pass the Champagne and let me enjoy my moment.

Friday 12 July 2013


Email from my publisher "Geraldine No. 5 on kindle, beating Dan Brown and John Grisham". Now that's something you don't see every day. Since then Road Closed has climbed to No. 3 on kindle.

There's an article about the launch for Cold Sacrifice on the trade website Book2Book

All rather exciting!

Thursday 11 July 2013

Launch Party for Cold Sacrifice

Here are some images from the launch party, with fans converging on Belgravia Books in London from Wigan, Manchester, Northampton, Birmingham, Bristol, Strood, Bedford... you name it!
                                   Fans from Wigan with my lovely publisher
                                             A loyal fan from Strood in Kent
                                             Fan and aspiring author from Barnet
               Fans from Bristol
Fans  Br
Some young fans from London
                         With Lizzie Hayes of Mystery People and Lloyd Paige, reviewer

Book Launch

Lots of photos of the book launch on facebook - 
Fans came to London from all around the UK, from as far afield
 as Wigan, Manchester, Birmingham, Northampton, Bristol, 
Strood, Bedford, London - it was a fabulous evening! 

Wednesday 10 July 2013

Book Launch Today!

I was on a panel of crime writers at a literary festival where an audience member asked how we sleep at night, with so many murders playing in our minds. 'Don't you get nightmares?' I replied truthfully that I sleep very well.
Well, last night, I did have a nightmare of sorts. It didn't involved monsters or gushing blood. No, I dreamed I was at my book launch. Lots of people were arriving at a bookstore, nothing like the real venue for the launch party. It had corridors, and different rooms, an easy place to get lost (my usual worry dream.)
Lots of people were arriving. I didn't get lost. There was a fantastic buffet (sorry, only the usual nibbles at the real event tonight.) I was wearing The Dress and it fitted fine.
As I was greeting guests, I was distracted because I couldn't find any copies of my new book. I was due to give a short speech but still hadn't found  my books. 'Here they are' my (in real life lovely) publisher said. He pointed to a table covered with small children's books. 'We decided to bring it out as an easy reader for young children. You must have agreed.'
'No,' I replied, aghast. 'That's not even my name on the cover!'
'We thought it best not to confuse the new series with your other books.'
I picked one up and looked inside. It was number 22 in the series. Scrabbling around we finally found numbers 1-3 wrapped in cellophane. Scanning through the first one, I could think of NOTHING complimentary or even vaguely interesting to say about the book which was aimed at young children learning to read. There were cartoon pictures to colour in. The text was short extracts from my book - unreadable and incomprehensible to the target audience. It made no sense!!! 
I stood up and began my speech, mainly reading from the back of the book: 'You can read this book with mummy. Mummy can read it to you. There's a chart for parents to fill in to show what aspect  of reading your child struggles with so you can work on those specifically.'
As I was talking, people were standing up and leaving.

I'll write about the actual book launch as soon as I have time after the event tonight. It may take a few days, as we're off on tour again tomorrow going to Birmingham and Solihull. But I'm sure the real launch will be nothing like my dream!

Friday 5 July 2013


For far too long I've been using my blog simply as a platform to post my news. And you have to agree, there has been a lot of news to post. Yet when this blog first started, over five years ago, my intentions were very different. My original plan was to write a kind of diary of my journey to becoming an author. Along the way I became so busy being an author, that I lost my impetus to blog about it. To report on my journey has begun to resemble a list of boasts - CWA Dagger Award shortlist, accolades in journals as diverse as The Times and Star magazine, on both sides of the Atlantic, voted and selected for Best Fiction lists, hitting Number 1 on kindle and iTunes, and regularly appearing bestseller charts on amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith, amazon... yes, I'm boring myself. So my blog petered out, apart from the occasional interviews with other authors, and sporadic  posts about yet another promotion, special offer, or bestseller list. Only this week, COLD SACRIFICE was a 'Buzz Book' on iTunes, ROAD CLOSED reached the Top 10 on kindle, and DEATH BED was selected for the amazon kindle summer promotion, reaching Number 3 in crime and thrillers.

It's time to get back to the original purpose of this blog, and explore issues concerning the world of publishing, from the perspective of an author. I have no 'inside knowledge' beyond what I can gather from my own experience. So here's where I am right now.

My debut, CUT SHORT, came out in 2009 as an A format paperback - small, cheap, with a monochrome cover. By 2011 my first three titles had all become bestsellers, and my publisher 'branded' the series, bringing out all the titles in the series in B format, with lovely colourful shiny matching covers. You can see them all on my website LEIGH RUSSELL  if you want to see how smart they look. The row of covers on the virtual shelf on my kindle isn't quite the same.

Here's my little bookcase at home, like a trophy case, only hidden away upstairs where no one else can see it, with 15 editions of  my books on display plus three bookmarks. If you look carefully on the extreme left, you can see the eye on the proof copy of the first edition of CUT SHORT is looking in the opposite direction to the one on the spine of the sale copy.

When CUT SHORT was first published, a fellow author advised me to ask my publisher to bring it out as an eBook. Wait for my next statement... I wasn't quite sure what he was talking about! I'd heard talk of 'eBooks' but it was all something of a mystery to me then. Six months later, the eBook duly came out. The same process occurred with ROAD CLOSEDBy the time DEAD END was published in 2011, eBooks were firmly on the map. The eBook was available to download on the same day the print book hit the shelves. Meanwhile, sales of eBooks began to overtake the print version. I'll deal with my response to that in another post. DEATH BED was due to be published in 2012. The eBook was released on December 2011, six months ahead of the print book. The same happened withSTOP DEAD, and that pattern seems to be continuing for the time being. I can't say "for the foreseeable future" because things are changing so fast, it's hard to look ahead.

Sales of eBooks are growing. Some statistics cite them as representing 20% of the market in a rapidly growing sector, other sources say they are now at 25% of the market.

In a statement accompanying its fourth quarter and full year results for 2012, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos neatly summed up where he sees the future of book retailing heading–especially for his company. “We’re now seeing the transition we’ve been expecting,” said Bezos. “After 5 years, eBooks is a multi-billion dollar category for us and growing fast – up approximately 70% last year. In contrast, our physical book sales experienced the lowest December growth rate in our 17 years as a book seller, up just 5%.”
(US Publishers Weekly, January 2013)

From the perspective of an author, it makes little difference in terms of income. The standard percentage royalties an author earns from sales of eBooks is higher for an author than on print books, as the publisher's overheads are far lower. Certainly the sales on eBooks are potentially huge compared to those of print books. My own books have sold hugely in eformat compared to the sales of my books in print.

Personally I'm in two minds about eBooks. I'm thrilled to be earning a living from my books, if a modest one. But I still love the look and the feel of physical books.

Oh, and the links here are to the eBooks on kindle... but you can find links to the print books as well on my website: WEBSITE


DEATH BED, one of 100 titles selected for the kindle summer promotion, is currently at Number 3 Death Bed

and COLD SACRIFICE is a Buzz Book on iTunes!

Thursday 4 July 2013

Death Bed

Death Bed has been selected for the kindle Summer promotion - £1.49 for the month of July


Wednesday 26 June 2013

Thursday 20 June 2013

Road Closed

How lovely to receive this email from a new fan who came across my books in a bookshop. He wrote: "I have many books on my shelves ready to read. I started to read Road Closed ahead of time. It was a joy to read,the pace was spot on the character detail not too intense,and the story pace brilliant,with a good plot and twists. I look forward to reading the other books and will now be hunting out Cut Short and your future writings. Thank you Leigh for giving me the material that helps me relax and free the mind." 
Now that's what I call a nice email! 
And I noticed that Road Closed is currently number 34 on kindle. Nice to see it finally coming into its own after it trailed behind my other titles for so long.
Road Closed on kindle

Saturday 15 June 2013

Interview with Martin Edwards

Recently I was fortunate enough to be asked to interview the prolific author MARTIN EDWARDSaward-winning crime writer. His  Lake District Mystery series includes The Coffin Trail (short-listed for the Theakston’s prize for best British crime novel of 2006) and The Arsenic Labyrinth (short-listed for the Lakeland Book of the Year award in 2008). He has written eight novels about Liverpool lawyer Harry Devlin, and two stand-alone novels, including Dancing for the Hangman. He won the CWA Short Story Dagger in 2008, has edited 20 anthologies and published eight non-fiction books. 
For more information visit:

Q Where most authors might be satisfied with one successful crime series, you have two, set in Liverpool and the Lake District. You also write many articles, short stories, and blog posts, in addition to the thorough research you carry out. Not only that, you are generous in giving time to support organisations like Mystery People and the CWA. It doesn't take a detective to work out where this is leading... How do you find time to write? Are you one of those mythical authors who wake up at 5am to write, or do you burn the midnight oil? Please tell us about your writing process.
A I’m definitely an owl, not a lark, so no 5am starts for me! I enjoy working in the evening and sometimes quite late, but not often after midnight.. The fact I have a day job as a solicitor is not quite such a drawback as it may seem. I know that if I don’t get writing when I do have the chance, I won’t produce a thing, so I tend to have a go whenever time permits. As with most things in life, though, motivation is what counts. The fact is, I have always loved crime fiction, and I think I’m very fortunate to be part of a community that is not only fascinating but full of delightful people.

Q Your Harry Devlin novels are being reissued with additional features, including introductions written by stellar names. Has the production process for books changed since the publication of your first novel, and do you think books - like authors - have to offer more to promote themselves in today's competitive market place?
A I’m really thrilled that the wonders of digital publishing means that ebook and print versions of those early Harry Devlin books are available again. They were books I enjoyed writing and one day I might return to exploring Harry’s world. For reprints, giving readers added value in the form of special features like those in the Devlin reissues, is highly desirable  I was enormously grateful to friends like Frances Fyfield, Val McDermid and Andrew Taylor who contributed new intros to the various books, while Mike Jecks allowed me to include an essay he once wrote about my work. I hope that these features, and the ‘making of’ essays that I included, will encourage people to take a look at the Devlin books. What pleases me most is that a number of good judges reckon the books have stood the test of time. But how to attract a wider readership without a big publicity budget? It’s the challenge that faces so many of us, and as you rightly say, it’s a competitive market place. For me, the key for all authors trying to promote their books is to be themselves, and focus on whichever marketing strategies suit In my case, that means devoting time and energy to my blog, “Do You Write Under Your Own Name?” I enjoy writing the blog posts, and if you enjoy something, you don’t mind putting in the effort. That’s the long answer – the short answer to both questions is ‘Yes’!

Q You are known for carrying out careful research. Tell us about your most harrowing, and your most enjoyable, experiences while researching your novels.
A As a card-carrying wimp, I always try to avoid harrowing experiences if I can, but I must admit that dragging my children around the rainswept Lake District when I was researching The Coffin Trail was a bit of an ordeal for all of us. Enjoyable experiences – too many to mention, but I really loved walking round and then up Hallin Fell near Ullswater when planning The Frozen Shroud.Blissfullypeaceful, and beautiful. And a rarity - the weather was fantastic! More generally, researching books has brought me into contact with many people and places I’d never have encountered otherwise. I’ve been struck by how generous people are to a total stranger who asks them all kinds of weird questions.

Q  What crime story are you currently reading (or perhaps watching on television?) and  what books are on your 'to read' list?
A I’ve just finished The Tooth Tattoo by the admirable Peter Lovesey and I’m answering these questions just before the final episode of Broadchurch, a very good whodunit series that I have really admired. At the top of my pile of books to read are The Scent of Death by Andrew Taylor, The Shadow Collector by Kate Ellis and an obscure older one,Corpse in Cold Storage by Milward Kennedy.

Q Tell us about your current writing project
The Frozen Shroud is due to be published in the UK in June, and I’m currently planning another Lake District Mystery, as well as doing quite a lot of research into Golden Age detective fiction. I’d love to write a history of that period one day.. 
I won't ask you tell us which of your two series you prefer, but can you tell us what differentiates them? Why did you choose to write a second series, rather than writing twice as many Harry Devlin novels? Is there a benefit to you, as a writer, in having two series on the go? (I have a hidden agenda in asking this, as I've just agreed to write a spin off series to accompany the Geraldine Steel series.)

After writing seven Harry Devlins, I produced a stand alone, Take My Breath Away, which was bought by David Shelley, of Allison & Busby. David then suggested I try a new series with a rural background. I said, ‘How about the Lake District?’ and he gave me the thumbs-up. He’s now the editor for J.K.Rowling, and though I don’t think J.K. picked him because of what he’d done for my career, I’m certainly grateful to him! The Lake District books have a slightly slower pace than the Devlins, and probably less humour. The central relationship between Hannah and Daniel gives the series a particular flavour, and because there’s a lot of emphasis on setting, atmosphere, and character, and perhaps a bit less on the puzzle element, I find that the Lakes books tend to be preferred by women readers. But there are exceptions! The advantage of varying the kind of books one writes is that it helps to avoid staleness and formulaic writing. There is a risk, though, in writing too fast, and I know that some writers who are committed to write two books or even more a year find the pressure testing. I’d feel the same. There’s a lot to be said for quality rather than quantity for the sake of it.

Q What is the appeal of crime fiction for you as a writer? How does the enjoyment of writing the genre differ from the thrill of reading other authors' crime novels?
A I’m fascinated by people and relationships, and always have been. Crime puts people and relationships under intense pressure and scrutiny and that can be especially compelling to read about or write about. For me, the pleasure of writing has much to do with the pleasure of creating something that didn’t exist before, and would never have existed if I hadn’t decided to bring it into being. Of course, what you create never turns out to be quite as brilliant as the original concept, but a lot of the fun is in trying to improve. Fail again, fail better, didn’t Samuel Beckett say that? As a reader, I enjoy the puzzles in Christie and Colin Dexter (and Jonathan Creek)  but I also relish the more sophisticated approach of, say, a Ruth Rendell or a Gillian Flynn. Crime fiction is such a broad church (see, I’ve got Broadchurch on the brain...) that there’s something in it for everyone who enjoys a good read.

Q You mentioned 'stamina' is an essential quality for writers. Can you explain what you meant by that?
A Writing a novel takes me a year or more. Most of the time, when I’m writing, I’m dissatisfied with what I’ve written (I think a lot of writers feel the same, which makes me feel slightly less inadequate!) To keep going, when you are worried that what are writing isn’t good enough to meet your own standards is hard work. You need self-belief and confidence to carry on, but you also need energy and, I think, stamina. If you keep on keeping on, sooner or later the book will improve. At least that’s been my experience so far...

Q On your website you wrote that the Harry Devlin novels are a comment on urban life in the late
twentieth century, and the Lake District mysteries are concerned with rural life in the twenty first century. How important is context to you in your writing, and did you deliberately choose a rural setting as a contrast to the city background of the Devlin novels?
 A           As I mentioned, the idea of a rural setting came from David Shelley. I chose the Lakes because I love the area and I thought it would be a terrific place to ‘have’ to research. The importance of the context for me is that it shapes the mood of the writing. There’s a lot in the Lakes books about the heritage of the area, not just the literary heritage but also, in The Arsenic Labyrinth, the industrial heritage and, in The Frozen Shroud, the social heritage. I’m very interested in what is happening to rural England now, just as I’ve long been fascinated by the changing face of Liverpool. Shortly after I moved to Merseyside, we had the Toxteth riots, now the waterfront looks a bit like Manhattan. Things always change, and I think Liverpool’s changed for the better. My hope is that inevitable changes in rural life will not prove too destructive. Time will tell.

Q One of the hardest interview questions I've been asked was when to give 6 little known facts about myself for a 'Getting to Know You' feature  for a BBC radio interview. I'll let you off lightly, and ask you to share just one little known fact about yourself.
A I once featured in the pop music pages of the Oxford Mail because I’d written a lyric for a song on an album by a friend called Giovanni Carrea. I’d like to say it topped the charts, but....

Books by Martin Edwards

Harry Devlin, Liverpool solicitor.
All the Lonely People 
Suspicious Minds
I Remember You
Yesterday’s Papers
The Devil in Disguise
First Cut is the Deepest

 Daniel Kind and DCI Hannah Scarlett 
The Coffin Trail
The Cipher Garden 
The Arsenic Labyrinth 
The Serpent Pool 
The Hanging Wood
The Frozen Shroud

Take My Breath Away
The Lazarus Widow

Monday 10 June 2013

Press Release - New Series

Here's the press release.
Press Release Ian Peterson

Press Release: Deals Done

No Exit Press Signs Up New Crime Series From Leigh Russell

There it is!

Thursday 6 June 2013


This week my publishers asked me to send them 50 words describing how I felt about writing a spin off series for Geraldine Steel's sergeant. This was for a press release about COLD SACRIFICE, the first in my new Ian Peterson series.

'Well, that won't be difficult,' I thought. Off went my response: 'No worries. It will be with you this afternoon.' After all, to someone who habitually writes 2,000 words a day, 50 words should be 'a walk in the park'. (Excuse the cliché but it seems appropriate. My debut CUT SHORT, which was inspired by a (literal) walk in the park, has recently been published in French with the title (in English) MURDER PARK.)

Not only is the typing relatively fast, I write "psychologically acute" crime novels (to quote Marcel Berlins, writing in The Times.)

So, I write fast and seem to have the ability to worm my way inside my characters' minds ("taking readers into the darkest recesses of the human psyche" according to a review by Barry Forshaw.)

Yet I'm sitting here, struggling to find 50 words to describe my own thoughts and feelings...

It seems that my fingers slide effortlessly over the keyboard when I'm writing fiction. (Well, relatively effortlessly - I'm making a point here.) But when called on to write something 'real' I find it's not so straightforward. What should I say? What if I get this wrong?

There's only one way to tackle this. I'll have to treat myself as a character in a book..... a character who is an author. Her publisher asks her to write a spin off series based on one of her characters, Ian Peterson. How does she feel? "...wildly excited at the opportunity to explore Ian Peterson's future... "

COLD SACRIFICE will be published in September in print, and is scheduled to be available as an ebook  this month.

Tuesday 4 June 2013

Invitation to Book Launch

My friends here are all welcome to join us at a prelaunch party to celebrate the first in a brand new spin off series featuring Detective Sergeant Ian Peterson.
(Remember him? Geraldine's sergeant in CUT SHORT, ROAD CLOSED and DEAD END.)
COLD SACRIFICE isn't published until September but a limited print run of special advance copies will be available on 10th July at Belgravia Books in London.
And of course I'll be there to sign the books! We're planning an author reading, Q and A, and lots of wine, nibbles and BOOKS!
Please let me know on 'contact' on Leigh Russell or comment here if you'd like to join us as we need some idea of numbers and places are filling fast.

Monday 27 May 2013

Geraldine Steel on iTunes

CUT SHORT Number 1 free books, ROAD CLOSED Number 26 paid books @ 99p on iTunes

Sunday 26 May 2013


From as far back as we can trace, people have felt the need to share stories. Wasn't early cave man a forerunner of the fisherman boasting about 'the one that got away'? Imagine a prehistoric hunter with limited language but terrible injuries, posturing about the sabre toothed tiger that 'got away'. The cave man lived to tell the tale. Isn't that 'telling the tale' part of what differentiates us from other species of animal?
We hear a lot about the decline of reading, but I'm not sure that's actually a true picture of what's happening. Because we need stories.
I'm a great one for voicing fears of a 'doom and gloom' vision of  a dystopian future without books. Long before the phenomenal increase in ebooks I was writing about the 21st century version of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 where books become obsolete not through political suppression but simply from people not longer reading; we have the technology to become a post-literate society.
My first series offers a snapshot of what has happened in the world of publishing. When Cut Short first came out, in 2009, I remember an author friend urging me to ask my publisher to bring it out as an ebook. I wasn't quite sure what that meant, but duly passed the message on. Six months later, the ebook appeared. Road Closed followed a similar pattern in 2010. By 2011, with Dead End, the ebook and print book were published on the same day. Since then, with Death Bed in 2012 and Stop Dead and Cold Sacrifice in 2013, the ebook has become available to download six months before the print book is published.
The medium itself is not the key issue. The important question is whether fewer people are reading as a result of this change. That's an impossible question to answer in terms of my own books. What I can tell you is that sales of the ebooks have been phenomenal and I suspect they have reached a far wider audience as a result of reaching Number 1 on iTunes, and amazon, than they would have done had they been published solely as print books. Of course that's anecdotal, and the 'people who know' - (whoever they are, I'm certainly not one of them) - may have another story to tell.
Which brings me back to the point of this post. For several hundred years (how long is that in man's history?) books have provided a medium for sharing stories. I am passionate about books. I love bookshops, libraries, the feel of a new book... but think about a book you have read and loved. What lives on in your mind are the characters, the emotions and insights you experienced while reading, the images of scenes and actions. Books can change us, not because of the feel of the paper, but by their content.
What matters is the story a writer tells.

Saturday 25 May 2013

Book signing

WH Smith's Amersham made a lovely display of my books today

And here's what the manager hid behind the poster....

And thank you to all the readers who came along to buy books today!

Tuesday 21 May 2013


Very excited to see Cut Short is number 3 on iTunes. I hope this offer (FREE download this week) will introduce new readers to the series.

Sunday 19 May 2013

Interview - Quentin Bates

Quentin Bates

This interview was first published in Mystery People

Leigh Russell in Conversation with Quentin Bates who is a writer and journalist.
His first crime novel was published in 2011 as Frozen Out in the UK, Frozen Assets in the US. It is set in present-day Iceland in the months leading up to the collapse of the banks. 2012 saw the publication of the second novel in the series.  Cold Comfort is set in an Iceland coming to terms with the recession.
The latest book is Chilled to the Bone, set in post-recession Iceland and the depths of winter.

Q   You mention somewhere that you have always been a big reader. Is reading as necessary to you now as it was before you started writing?
            A   Definitely, probably even more so. There’s less time for reading these days, so I’m probably more selective than I used to be and rarely embark on a book unless I’m fairly sure it’s going to be a good one. I’m also reading a little more widely these days and I’ve found that the Kindle my daughter gave me has helped discover all sorts of things that I’d probably not otherwise have found.

            Q   You say on your blog that you ‘have always seen fiction as a mug’s game.’ Do you stand by that opinion now that you are a successful fiction writer, and, if so, why have you chosen to write fiction?
            A   I don’t see myself as a successful fiction writer. I’m still a beginner.
I wanted to see if I could do it. I had written some non-fiction stuff before and have a day job as a journalist (no, nothing even remotely glamorous or sensational), and saw fiction as a challenge, and I like a challenge. I’m still not sure if it’s a mug’s game. To be quite brutal about it, the odds against getting published to start with are steep, and the odds against staying published for a mid-list writer aren’t much better. On the other hand, dreaming up murder and intrigue is a great way to spend your days.

            Q   You wrote about your first novel, ‘Frozen Out’ that ‘there was just too much material not to do it.’  Do you write for enjoyment, or do you somehow feel driven to do it?

            A   If I didn’t get a buzz from writing, I wouldn’t do it, so the prime mover is definitely my own enjoyment. I think I’d been leading up to it for years, almost unconsciously collecting ideas, scenes and characters. Although I was already deep in Frozen Out at the time, it was the Crash in 2008 that crystallised everything as the lunacy of what had been going on just spilled out.
Writing fiction was also a release. I used to work for an editor with an incredibly rigid style. Everything in the magazine had to look the same and any kind of creative flair was firmly discouraged. So Frozen Out was partly born of that frustration of having to write that turgid, formulaic stuff. I later found out that one of my colleagues was doing the same thing; going home and writing fiction after spending all day writing for an editor who was firmly anchored in 1978.

            Q   You have put some amazing photographs online that you took in Iceland. How difficult was it to leave such a beautiful place?

            A     It was a wrench to leave, as I have some roots there that go deep. I met my wife there, two of our children were born in Iceland, but probably the right thing to do at the time.
Iceland isn’t an easy place to live in, especially as we didn’t live in comfortable urban Reykjavík. It’s at the edge of the world and although it is undeniably beautiful, somehow that passes you by when your car is buried past the roof in a snowdrift or when there are only a few short hours of daylight and the sun doesn’t actually rise at all.

  Q       Q You have lived in at least two countries.  Does the displacement of settling in a new place add to your ability to feel detached as a writer?
            A   The expression ‘Glöggt er gests augað’ means that the visitor has the sharper eye. I find it much easier to write about Iceland when I’m not there, as if the distance puts things better into perspective.
I read the papers online and listen to ‘Steam’ radio at home, so that keeps me in touch, and there’s rarely a day when I don’t speak to someone in Iceland (skype is a godsend). I have a far clearer idea of what’s going on in Icelandic politics than what’s going on in Westminster.
It’s also important to spend time there and there’s no substitute for speaking to people face-to-face. I don’t do a great deal of proper research, but I find it’s important to spend time there, with Steam radio on in the background, read the papers, chat to the fishermen at the quay, taxi drivers, the coppers and minor criminals I know, listen to what people are saying in the Co-op or the bank, take in the internecine local politics and the petty feuds going on, all that kind of stuff – and then write about it later.

            Q   On your blog you claim that ‘developing a kevlar-lined rhino skin is an essential part of any writer’s kit.’  I think we all know what you mean, but can you explain why you said that?

            A   It’s uncomfortable when someone who gave up after forty pages gives your book a laconic one star, or likes it but still gave it a solitary star because it was delayed in the post.
I get a good few complaints about the complex names and how difficult they are to cope with. The books are set in Iceland and people there aren’t called Jim and Sally. The names aren’t what we are used to and there’s no getting around that, regardless of my efforts to keep them as accessible when I could easily have made them so much more complex.
Anyhow, I decided to give a character in Chilled to the Bone a name so awkward that I defy any non-Icelander to pronounce it. But I did give him a suitably short nickname, so the real name only has to appear once or twice. I had expected my editor to ask for it to be changed, but she didn’t say anything, so it stayed in.

            Q   How do you account for the gloomy atmosphere of Nordic Crime Fiction? Does it reflect the society? Do you think different countries have different generic characteristics and if so, why?

            A   There are differences. Icelanders are different to the other Nordic people as it’s an island nation and there’s a real frontier mentality, which it shares to an extent with Norway. Maybe it’s because both have a past as colonies, while Sweden and Denmark were trading nations with aspirations of empire?
There are Nordic stereotypes that sometimes ring true. Danes have an irreverent sense of humour that the other Nordic nations don’t have in quite such abundance. I’d best not be too forthright about the national stereotypes – but they all make fun of each other.
It’s not just the crime fiction that’s gloomy. Literature does get taken very seriously and maybe that has spilled over into their crime fiction. In reality they are no more gloomy than we Brits are and in some ways they are less hung up and serious. They do know how to have a party when they put their minds to it. So, no. The image of gloom and misery that comes across in much Nordic fiction isn’t representative of the way they are.

            Q   Is your writing governed by plot or character?

            A   Character, definitely. I’ve tried plotting things in detail in advance, but it didn’t work for me. I get halfway through careful plans, and then an idea pops up that’s too good to not use, and suddenly the plan has been lost. So I work with a fairly loose set of waypoints and that seems to work better.

            Q   You wrote that one of your villains ‘was a whole load of fun to write’.  It is certainly my experience that the bad guys are much more fun to write than the good guys. Is this a problem for you when writing a series with a protagonist on the right side of the moral compass?
A   It’s starting to become more of a problem now. I’m having to make more of a conscious effort to  write more Gunna, mostly by giving the poor lady a hard time. She gets the shock of her life in      Chilled to the Bone. I’m around halfway through the first draft of what should be the fourth             Gunna book, but so far she has hardly made an appearance, which is a little worrying.

            Q   Good titles are so hard to think of. Your first novel was called Frozen Out in the UK and Frozen Assets in the US. Why did the title change?  Were you involved in the decision, and which of the titles do you prefer and why?
            A   Originally the book was called Frozen Assets. Then one of the Icelandic banksters published a memoir with the same title, so I asked my publisher if they wanted to change it. They said not to worry about it. But at the last minute they decided to change it, and I was told when the decision had been made. By then, the US publisher was too far gone to make the same change. So the book appeared under two titles, which has caused some confusion. With the benefit of hindsight, they were entirely right. Frozen Out is a better title, although it bears no relevance to the subject matter.

            Q   Frozen Out is set in a small community. How important was that social setting to you? Could you imagine setting a similar book in a large metropolis?

            A   I wanted a setting that wasn’t all Reykjavík, as the countryside is very different in so many ways. I lived in a couple of smaller towns in Iceland, one with a population of around 700, so that’s the side of the country that I know best. The e-book that published in January (Winterlude) is set partly in the north of Iceland, not far from where I used to live, but I’m not sure I would have got away with that so easily in a full-length novel.

            Q   When I started writing my first series I deliberately chose a female protagonist because I wasn’t confident about writing from a male perspective. With a spin off series I’m having to do just that. Why did you choose a female protagonist for your series?

            A   I hadn’t deliberately chosen to use a female protagonist, but Gunna just came to life and demanded attention, and seemed like another challenge. She was the sidekick in the original draft, but I twigged after a while that the original lead character was a hopeless collection of clichés. So I discarded him in favour of the far more interesting Gunna.

Tuesday 14 May 2013

Cut Short in Top 10 on itunes

Cut Short is in Top 10 free downloads on the whole of itunes! Please tell everyone you know who has a computer or smartphone, and uses itunes, and help introduce Geraldine Steel to a few more readers!
Thank you!

Saturday 11 May 2013


Here's the scene that inspired Cut Short. If you expand the photo you can see a figure on the path. I didn't notice it when I took the picture!
It was a strange feeling, revisiting the scene I had recreated in the novel!