For the first time in history, we are able to sustain friendships, and engage in conversations with groups of people, all over the world. I have friends in countries I've never visited, on every continent. Some of them are people I met and subsequently connected with online when they moved away. Others are people I first met online, who have become good friends. All of this has become possible through the advent of social media. To begin with, these online contacts didn't seem like real people at all. The first time a Facebook friend of mine turned up at one of my book signings, it felt surreal meeting her in the physical world. Since then many of us have met in the real world, as readers often come along to my events, sometimes travelling long distances for a signed book and a chat. It's always a thrill meeting people who read my books.
The only problem with social media is that it's so addictive! I frequently pop over to Facebook to reply to comments on my latest post, or see who else has been posting. Twitter is another site I frequent, putting up a tweet or responding to other people's comments. I've connected with some interesting people there as well.
So we are living in interesting times, in terms of human relations. We have our family and friends in the real world. Next are our virtual friends, real people we connect with via the Internet. Finally, there are the fictitious characters we read and write about. Whether real, virtual or fictitious, any of them can become our friends, and any of them can confound our expectations. The characters I create often surprise me. As an author, you might think I would be able to control my characters well enough to avoid them catching me off guard. They may be unpredictable to a reader, but they should not surprise whoever created them. As other authors will confirm, this is not always the case. My characters sometimes deviate from the paths I map out for them. That can be frustrating, but it is also part of the fun of writing, making the process more organic and creative. Like real people, they can have minds of their own.
Leigh Russell is published in English, and in translation throughout Europe. Her Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson titles have appeared on many bestseller lists, including #1 on kindle. Leigh's work has been nominated for several major awards, including the CWA New Blood Dagger and CWA Dagger in the Library, and her Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson series are currently in development for television with Avalon Television Ltd.
Journey to Death is the first title in her Lucy Hall series published by Thomas and Mercer.
Links to all Leigh's books can be found on her website http://leighrussell.co.uk