I grew up in beautiful Northumberland. For those who’ve never been…why not?! It’s a land of castles, coastlines and sweeping landscapes that have inspired everyone from Tolkien to George R. R. Martin. You can also get some of the finest fish ‘n’ chips anywhere in the land!
I used to be a barrister. Before I realised life was too short to spend most of it wearing a suit, I was a regulatory lawyer in London. I drafted long, boring pieces of advice and never dreamed that one day I’d be writing murder mystery novels instead.
I love to dance and I’ll listen to any kind of music (almost). When I’m writing, I like to play motivational music in the background and my current favourite is the Rocky IV soundtrack – it’s a classic!
I enjoy observational humour. When I lived in London, going along to the Comedy Club was one of my favourite things and, nowadays, I try to inject some humour into the characters in my stories to provide light relief from some of the grittier elements.
I was offered a ‘traditional’ publishing deal, but turned it down to self-publish through Amazon KDP instead. It allows me to maintain creative and economic control of my business and I’ve been very fortunate that it has worked out for me.
I’m mother to a three-year-old bundle of fun called Ethan. I wrote my first book ‘Holy Island’ while I was expecting him and after he was born. When the book went on to become a UK #1 bestseller, I was sure it was thanks to him and the ray of sunshine he brought to my life.
My husband is the ‘J’ in ‘LJ Ross’. No success is ever achieved without a little help from friends or loved ones, and I’m no different! I chose to write under the pen name ‘L J’ as a gesture of permanent thanks to James, who encouraged and supported me in pursuing my dream to write and continues to put up with all my creative moods and gives me honest feedback, which is invaluable!
I’m a big fan of vintage crime fiction. As you might expect from a writer of mystery novels, I was first inspired by Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler and Jim Thompson. I try to weave locked room or closed community mysteries in my DCI Ryan novels because I enjoy the ‘cosy’ claustrophobia that allows a reader to feel like they are another character in the story.
I hardly ever make detailed notes. The approach writers take to their work can be vastly dissimilar, ranging from detailed planning or the use of specialist software, to a good old-fashioned notebook. In my case, I prefer to write a short synopsis of the story arc I intend to write. If I’m unable to summarise the plot in a few paragraphs, I know it is unlikely to be a good storyline as I haven’t managed to sell it to myself, let alone a reader.
When I’m not reading or writing, my other favourite pastimes are painting and watching old, black-and-white movies like Hitchcock’s classic adaptation of the Daphne du Maurier novel ‘Rebecca’. I would love to have a small studio space one day with plenty of light, where I don’t have to worry about damaging the carpet with oil paint!