‘The real thrill is writing’ by Leigh Russell

Leigh RussellToday I’m pleased to welcome to Musings of an All Purpose Monkey Leigh Russell, author of the DI Geraldine Steel series. Leigh’s had quite a rocket ride of success in a very short time, but as she notes, “The real thrill is writing.”

Perhaps I’m unusual, but the thought of publication never crossed my mind when I started writing, which is paradoxical because just two months after writing the first draft of my debut thriller I was offered a three book deal by a leading independent publisher of crime fiction.

Just over two years ago I had an idea, started writing it down and found I couldn’t stop. Since then I haven’t managed to go a single day without writing. I’m absolutely hooked! It still amazes me that I didn’t discover my passion for writing earlier. Within six weeks I finished writing my first story and only at that point did it occur to me that I’d written a book.

With nothing to lose I submitted my manuscript to a publisher and thought that was the end of it. I never expected to hear from them, so you can imagine my excitement when the publisher called me two weeks later to invite me to a meeting and two months after that I found myself signing a three book deal.

Road ClosedA heady three years have passed since then. Cut Short (2009) was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award, Road Closed (2010) has already sold out, Dead End is due for publication in 2011, and my publisher has already put in an offer for a fourth book in my series.

After the success of my first two books several agents were keen to represent me. So I now have a publisher, an agent, a rapidly growing fan base, and two bestselling books to my name – but however exhilarating it is to be a published author, the real thrill is writing. If I hadn’t been offered a publishing deal I would be writing every day just the same. I’m addicted to writing regardless of being published.

So here’s my message to aspiring writers: If you find a publisher your life will spiral onto a new level, but none of that will be half as exciting as the buzz of writing. So don’t feel dejected if your manuscript is turned down. You’re writing and that’s what it’s all about.

Leigh Russell studied at the University of Kent gaining a Masters degree in English and American literature. A secondary school teacher, specialising in supporting pupils with Specific Learning Difficulties as well as teaching English, Leigh Russell is married with two daughters and lives in Middlesex.

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