Leigh Russell studied at the University of Kent, gaining a Masters degree in English. For many years a secondary school English teacher, she is a creative writing tutor for adults. She is married, has two daughters, and lives in North West London. Her first novel, Cut Short, was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award in 2010. This was followed by Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead and Fatal Act, in the Detective Inspector Geraldine Steel series. Cold Sacrifice is the first title in a spin off series featuring Geraldine Steel’s sergeant, Ian Peterson.
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Q&A with Leigh Russell

 Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
I never use personal experience or current events as my inspiration. My stories are complete flights of imagination. All my stories begin with a ‘What if…?’ question. What if a character hears a noise in the night and discovers a stranger in the house? What if someone arrived at work one day and discovered a dead body in the office? What if a bus driver found a corpse on his bus at the end of the route?

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
When you write a story you take your reader on a journey. I always know where the story begins, and where it will end, but the route evolves as I write. I have my ‘ten second elevator pitch’, but ideas occur to me as the plot and characters develop.

Your routine when writing?  Any idiosyncrasies?
I have no routine, but am rarely creative in the mornings. My brain is never fully alert until the afternoon. To begin with I wrote everything long hand and then typed it up, but I have learned to create directly onto the screen and rarely hand write now. Wherever I go, my iPad goes too, so I write wherever I am.

Is writing your full time job?  If not, may I ask what you do by day?
I am fortunate that I earn my living writing fiction. Since my spin off series launched last year, I am now delivering two novels a year to my publisher. For many years a teacher, I still do some classes, but this year will stop teaching altogether, as I no longer have enough time to do anything but write. I will continue to run occasional writing retreats for adults, one of which takes place on a beautiful Greek island every summer. It’s glorious, and a very inspiring place to work.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
A tricky question because there are so many! In the crime genre I’ll mention just three because they are also fans of my work and have been generous with their praise of my books: Lee Child, Jeffery Deaver and Peter James. Outside my own genre I enjoy Dickens, Edith Wharton, F Scott Fitzgerald, Kazuo Ishiguru, John Steinbeck, Harper Lee… to name just a very few.

What are you reading now?
At the moment I am too busy writing to have time for reading (shameful admission!) but I do have a huge list of books waiting to be read!

Are you working on your next novel?  Can you tell us a little about it?
I am always working on a novel! The sixth Geraldine Steel novel has just been published in the UK, Fatal Act, along with the first in the Ian Peterson spin off series,Cold Sacrifice. The manuscript for the second Ian Peterson novel is with my editor, and I’m currently busy writing the seventh Geraldine Steel novel. Both of these will be published in the UK this year, and hopefully in the US as well, where my existing novels are coming out every month. Writing two books year keeps me busy!

Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie.  Who would you cast?
This is a very tricky question… an actor who is hugely talented, famous and very popular so that lots of people will go and see the film!

Manuscript/Notes: hand written or keyboard?

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
Dare I say writing? It doesn’t feel like ‘work’.

Favorite meal?
Home made pizza.

Thank you for interviewing me here, and I hope you enjoy the Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson series.


When headmistress Abigail Kirby’s corpse is discovered in the woods, police are shocked to learn that her tongue was cut out while she lay dying. Then, shortly after a witness comes forward, he is blinded and murdered. With mangled dead bodies appearing at an alarmingly increasing rate, Detective Inspector Geraldine Steel is in a race against time to find the killer before he claims his next victim….


Abigail Kirby lay on the table like a waxwork model, her face cleaned-up to reveal her square chin. Geraldine approached and forced herself to look at the victim’s open mouth: between even teeth the stump of her tongue looked surprisingly neat. Abigail Kirby stared back as though in silent protest at this scrutiny.
The pathologist looked up and Geraldine recognized the tall dark-haired medical examiner who had examined the body in the wood. ‘Hello again Inspector. You’ll forgive me if I don’t shake hands.’
Geraldine glanced down at his bloody gloves.


Genre: Mystery & Detective; Women Sleuths
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: 1/28/2014
Number of Pages: 384
ISBN: 9780062325631
Series: DI Geraldine Steel #3, Stand Alone




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1 thought on “Guest Author LEIGH RUSSELL

  1. I always enjoy when a supporting character in a series gets strong enough on their own merits to get a series of their own. Looking forward to reading the first Ian Peterson mystery when it is published here in the US in April!

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