I am delighted to welcome Leigh Russell to my blog once again! This time she has some very exciting news - Leigh has sold over 1 million copies of her detective fiction books! Whooo Hooo!! Now that is worth celebrating - and what better way than with a Q&A on my blog!!!
So, I'm handing straight over to Leigh to hear all about this fantastic achievement!
Congratulations on selling 1 million books!! After momentous historical moments, people always ask "where were you and what were you doing when you found out about......" So where were you, what were you doing and how did you find out you had sold such a phenomenal total?!
I was at home, writing, when I saw the banner my publisher had put on my website: OVER A MILLION BOOKS SOLD! It was a lovely surprise. We had been close the million milestone but I didn't know we had passed it.
What have you done to celebrate this incredible success?
Nothing yet, because my next book was due to be sent off for editing when the news arrived, so I was busy working on that. But I will celebrate when I get round to it - probably with a bottle of bubbly!
Which celebrity or famous person would you have liked to have bought the book which made your 1 millionth sale?
That's a tricky question but Andrew Scott, the brilliant Moriarty in Sherlock, would be a front runner for me. But I'd prefer it to have been one of my loyal fans as that would be more meaningful. Of course we'll never know.
How will having sold 1 million copies affect you as an author now in the world of publishing? Does it change things?
To be honest I've no idea how this will change things, if at all, as it's a new experience for me. I've never sold a million books before, and never considered myself 'a success' until now. The news of the million sales is taking a while to sink in. Hopefully my fans will carry on enjoying my books, and the second million will be at least as easy to achieve as the first, but you never know.
And on a personal level, or in terms of when you sit down to write, how will having sold 1 million books affect you?
Any success helps my confidence as a writer, so with any luck I'll feel less nervous about sending my next manuscript off to my editor. But every book is a new challenge and I always worry about whether readers will like what I've written. Just because a million of my books have been sold is no guarantee that my next book will be well received and in some ways success increases the pressure as there are a lot of readers' expectations to satisfy. I'm not complaining about my success though, and I wouldn't change a thing!
You have written over 16 crime novels - I think! Are there any that have sold noticeably more than other titles? Does there seem to be a favourite?
I think it's now 16, of which 14 are published. The Wrong Suspect is out in June 2017 and the 10th Geraldine Steel in December 2017, so there will be 16 published by the end of the year. I've also written a different trilogy which my agent is pitching at the moment, so that makes it 19 books written. With different series, it does get complicated and I forget how many books there are, and have to stop and work it out!
First published in 2009, my debut, Cut Short, still often makes bestseller lists. Other than that, my most recent title, Deadly Alibi, has been doing well as it's still fairly new out. But all the Geraldine Steel novels seem to be consistently popular.
In terms of my other series, the Ian Peterson books have a very loyal following, and my Lucy Hall mysteries is beginning to gain momentum. That series only started last year, so Lucy Hall is still fairly new on the scene.
Geraldine Steel is the main protagonist in the series for which you have currently written ten books. How do you think she might celebrate the news of her success?!
That's easy. She would curl up on her sofa with a bottle of Montepulciano, which is her favourite wine, and try not to think about her current murder investigation. She is always working on a case!
Have you plans to continue the Geraldine Steel series to generate your next million book sales or will you celebrate with a new character and a new series?
I'm contracted to write at least another three books in the series, so Geraldine will be around for a while. The series may run to 20 books, but we'll have to see how it goes. How long we continue depends on whether people carry on reading them. But right now I can't think further than the plot for the next book.
How do you think you have changed either as a person or as a writer between selling your first book to selling your millionth book?
On a personal note, life experience has changed me more than writing. Obviously I'm older than when I started writing 8 years ago, I've been fortunate enough to be able to give up my day job to write full time, last year I became a grandmother for the first time, and this year we lost my mother.
In terms of my writing, I hope my style has developed and become more confident. I like to think I'm improving, anyway.
As for the industry as a whole, the competition has become far fiercer over the period I've been writing. As long ago as 2014 it was widely reported that 20 books were being published every hour in the UK, and that figure excluded self published books. At the same time, it was estimated that the average person read between I and 5 books a year. Sadly not everyone is a bibliomaniac! Since then, the rate at which books are being published has increased massively, so the landscape of publishing has changed and it is up increasingly hard for new and unknown writers to gain any sort of recognition.
If you could buy a book and make the millionth sale for that author, which book would it be? Are there any novels or authors who you think have written a 'hidden gem' and you'd like to see them gain more attention?
This is an impossible question because there are so many talented writers who deserve more success than they can possibly achieve in the current overcrowded market. I recently read an advance copy of The Lighterman by Simon Michael, an author who I think deserves more attention. Simon Brett is a brilliant author who seems to have dwindled in popularity. As chair of the Debut Dagger judges for the Crime Writers Association I was thrilled when last year's winner, Mark Brandi, gained a publishing deal with Hachette, so his debut novel is another one that I'd love to see reaching a million sales.
If you had been able to giveaway the millionth copy of your book in a competition, what would the question have been?
What do you like about Geraldine Steel?
What now for Leigh Russell?!
I need to think of a title for Geraldine Steel number 10, and write Geraldine Steel number 11. I'm also hoping to come and share some of my tips for successful writing with your book group in Harpenden very soon!
Ah, thanks Leigh, I'm really looking forward to hearing your tips and getting a chance to spend an evening doing some writing with you! It will be such a privilege! If anyone else is interested in coming along then please click on this link to buy a ticket:
Eventbrite: Write Away! or to find out more about the event click here
And obviously, I can't wait to read the next adventure with Geraldine Steel! Good luck thinking of a title!
To read my review of Deadly Alibi click here and my review of Murder Ring click here
Leigh Russell published by Harpenden Publisher No Exit Press (www.noexit.co.uk) and Deadly Alibi will be published on May 25th 2017. Murder Ring was published in 2016.
You can find links to all of Leigh's books, as well as my facebook and twitter accounts on
and can contact her directly there if you have any questions.www.leighrussell.co.uk
For more recommendations, reviews and author interviews you can follow me on Twitter @KatherineSunde3 or check out my website www.bibliomaniacuk.co.uk