Author Introductions #17: K A Richardson

Hello!

Once again, it’s the start of another working week and I don’t know about anybody else but I’m quite enjoying the crisp, frosty air and clear sunny skies…it can’t last, of course, but let’s enjoy it while it does! Speaking of enjoying ourselves, it’s time to make another Author Introduction and this week it’s my pleasure to introduce another lovely Northern lass, Kerry Richardson, who writes under the pen name K.A. Richardson.

KA Richardson

K.A. Richardson, author of crime thrillers

Kerry is the author of the North East Police series, all based in our beloved north-east of England. Forensics features heavily in her books as well as an authentic police perspective not often captured in crime novels. So far, she has published With Deadly Intent, I’ve Been Watching You, Time to Play and Watch You Burn. The next in the series, Under the Woods, is due for release in early 2018.

Let’s find out a little more about the woman behind the writer…

  1. Tell us a little about yourself – don’t be shy!

I was raised in a single parent family on a council estate in Darlington. I grew up with my mum, Jeannet and my brother, Michael, who is disabled. I’ve loved writing and reading for as long as I can remember – my mum taught me to read before I started primary school and I dived straight into junior books. I had a huge preference for the library as a youngster and a teen – my teenage years were spent with my best friend of the time practically living in the library. I used to go at least 3 times a week and would always withdraw the maximum number! I progressed to crime novels at around 13 years old and have loved them ever since. I’m a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes and own a 1928 edition of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes which I absolutely adore.

  1. How about your latest book – what can readers look forward to when they pick it up?

The most recent release is Watch You Burn – this is the fourth in the North East Police series – book 5 in the series, Under The Woods, is hopefully going to be out early 2018 and readers can look forward to getting to know a little more about TJ Tulley – she’s the sister of Jacob Tulley who works in digital forensics and featured as a main character in book 2, I’ve Been Watching You. TJ is still coming to terms with being injured badly during an assault – she has given up her work at a solicitors’ firm and now owns and runs a disabled horse riding centre, which happens to sit on land that a killer is using to store his ‘angels’. It’s basically a story of good and evil (as are most crime novels) and I’m loving writing TJ’s character. She’s the perfect best friend material (which is what she is to me currently since I can’t leave the laptop until I’m done now haha).

  1. Who is your hero in real life and in fiction?

My hero is real life is my mum, Jeannet Hooks. My mum has not had it easy, bless her – she put her life on hold to raise me and my brother alone due to personal circumstances that were outside of her control. She struggled to make ends meet and would often go without things herself to make sure we were fed and clothed. She was back and forth to hospital a lot due to my brother’s disabilities but still managed to be there for me too. She’s my best friend – we are very close now I’m an adult and I completely respect her and love her to pieces. I’m so proud to call her my mum – she’s one of those women who’d do anything for someone else. She raised me to be strong, independent and nurtured my imagination from day one. She’s always encouraged me to be who I am and do what I want. She’s my mum.

Fiction can’t really compare to my mum – but I always loved Hannibal from the A-Team, because he always had a plan. I like to be prepared for anything and generally attribute this to that philosophy.

  1. Who are your three favourite writers – and why?

Ooooo, tricksy question! So many fab authors that it’s hard to pin point just 3! I’ll try though.

  1. Karen Rose – I love how all her books interweave with characters – I love her strong writing style – and I love how she features normal people that are special, whether that be due to disabilities, or due to circumstances and things happening.
  2. Mo Hayder – I love the darkness of her writing, and being drawn into a story so strongly that it makes me check doors and windows in case fiction becomes reality.
  3. Roald Dahl – he first drew me into his writing not through The Witches or the BFG, but by Boy and Going Solo – I loved reading about his life when he was young and the trials and tribulations he faced. Those two books I must’ve read about 50 times when I was a teenager. I still love them now, as well as all his other writing.

5. When you’re not writing, what is your favourite way to spend your time?

I love to snuggle on the sofa, light the candles, and watch TV with my hubby, Peter. There’s something insanely relaxing about being able to switch off with the one you love.

  1. What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

You know, I’ve had quite a few. From being a child to now there would be many achievements that I could mention, but perhaps my greatest one (or the one I’m most proud of so far anyway), is writing. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve always loved to write – from little hand-stapled books that I gave to my teachers at school, to today when I have 4 books published and am contracted for another three currently. It blows my mind that I’ve managed to write something that people other than me enjoy. Every time I meet someone new, or see my books in shops, I’m reminded that I actually did that. I wrote the words, formed the story and held other people’s attention. It’s not something that will ever get old, even if I do often still feel it’s surreal and actually happening to someone else!

  1. What was your favourite book as a child?

Oooo another tricksy question! I pretty much read the whole children’s library and still own over 220 Enid Blyton books now. I devoured everything! To pin point just one book is just too hard. Especially since my favourites would change week to week! If you put a gun to my head though, I’d have to say The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton. It’s the first in the faraway tree series and I absolutely love Moonface – I really wanted him to be my best friend! He loves toffee and has a slide in his house – when you’re a kid that’s all you’d ever need in a best friend, right?

  1. Have you read any books recently that have really captured your imagination?

The Blue Day Book by Bradley Trevor Greive – this is one of my go-to books. When I feel a bit down (I suffer from depression and quite often things can get on top of me without me realising), I reach for this one. I’ve read it a couple of times in recent months though have owned it for a very long time (along with all the other’s in the same series). This book has a way of connecting me with nature whilst allowing the words to pick me up a little and make me realise that it’s not as bad as it first seems. It helps clear my head a little so that I can think and focus on the positive stuff – this in turn helps the bad stuff fade a little, or at least be pushed back for another day. It’s really quite an inspiring book and never fails to raise a smile.

  1. If the Prime Minister knocked at your front door and asked to borrow a book, which one would you recommend they read?

How to run an effective government by Wotar U Doo-wing – just joking haha.

  1. Finally, if you could be any character from a movie, which would it be?

Lotty (played by Michelle Rodriguez) in the fast and furious movies – she’s totally kick ass.

…Thanks, Kerry! I think we have a lot in common since my hero is also undoubtedly my mum and we also happen to own a 1928 copy of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – snap! Looking forward to seeing your next book hit the stores in 2018 and, until then, wishing you the best with all your edits… #writersolidarity

Now, it’s time for me to dive back to the world of DCI Ryan, who is currently preparing to roll back into town on the proverbial sin wagon in Dark Skies .  Other than that, I’ll be consigned to the wonderful world of packing and removals as we prepare to hitch a ride on the Ross Family Wagon back up to Northumberland – for good!

Hope you all have a wonderful week,

LJ x

Three things I’ve learned…

Hello!

Long time no type! Sorry about that. I’ve been busy lately with the release of Sycamore Gap and furiously working away on not one…not two…but THREE different titles. Don’t get too excited yet– there’s a way to go before any of them are finished! I also took a few cheeky days off as holiday and enjoyed some time with Mr Ross and Mini Ross.

Anyone remember that movie, 'There's Something About Mary?'...well, he's looking for his baseball...

Anyone remember that movie, ‘There’s Something About Mary?’…well, he’s looking for his baseball…

Back to reality now!

Once again, I’ve been completely and utterly mind-blowingly shocked at the warm reception Sycamore Gap has received. Seriously, if I had been drinking, I would be reciting soppy poems to all my readers out there. When I signed off the book, closed the laptop down and prepared to upload it for all to see, I told myself very firmly that lightning rarely strikes twice: do not expect to repeat the success of Holy Island, for that must surely have been a case of good luck and a kind-hearted readership.

Well, looks like I’m either the luckiest person in the world, or I have the kindest readership, because in its first week Sycamore Gap is top 50 in the UK Amazon charts and #1 in both of its categories (at the time of writing). To put this in perspective, after the first week of Holy Island being published, it was most likely ranking in the thousands before it started climbing.

I can’t thank you all enough for reading it.

There, I’ll stop with the soppiness.

With so much happening in my first year in the business, I’ve been reflecting on some of the things I’ve learned along the way. Here are three of them:

  1. Self-publishing and traditional publishing are surprisingly alike in certain areas. Bear in mind that a reader going into Waterstones might have come across some reviews about a book, or might have seen some advertising, but they will still look at the blurb and the first few pages to see if it looks like it will be their cup of tea. Likewise, Amazon allows you to peruse a book description and digitally thumb through the first three chapters before buying.

Note to self: write catchy book description and strong first few chapters.

  1. Do not be affected by the self-consciousness of others. This is applicable in any business, but I don’t think I fully appreciated just how sensitive and/or competitive some other writers can be (not all, just some). Best thing to do, in my opinion, is concentrate on your own game and try not to look over your shoulder. It’ll drive you bonkers!

Note to self: do not be offended by passive aggressive commentary by other writers.

FOR EXAMPLE:

Scenario 1 (where your book isn’t selling well and neither is theirs)

“Nawwww, that’s a shame.”

Scenario 2 (where your book is selling well but theirs isn’t)

“You must have sold out. I guess it’s easy to sell books if you’re not bothered about your craft.”

Scenario 3 (where their book is selling well but yours isn’t)

“You see, on a deeper level I knew my tome would connect widely with readers given its vivid portrayal of what it means to truly be human in the world today.” [Warning: monologues may continue for up to 30 minutes with copious usage of “me” and “I” paired with much hyperbole].

  1. Writing is brilliant. It frees up your imagination and except for the potential to contract arthritis in later years, or repetitive strain injury, I can’t see any downside. Regardless of what people might tell you, if you enjoy writing and you can weave a story, there will invariably be someone out there who enjoys reading it. Therefore, why not give it a go?

Note to self: it’s a no-brainer. Continue to write.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I will leave you with a beautiful ink painting one lovely reader completed after reading Sycamore Gap. What a treasure!

Kath Finlay 2015

Kath Finlay 2015

See you next time x

WINNING ENTRIES!

Thank you to everyone who entered the Holy Island Caption Competition! There were some brilliant entries so it has been tricky to pick out the winners, but here they are:

Hazel Roethenbaugh

John Crossan

Barbara Jeremy

Matthew Richards

Mindy Melia

David Gilchrist 

Paul Swan

Sue Louise Cope

Jane Day

Jean Johnson

 Well done to you all for the funny and imaginative excerpts which kept me entertained! A signed copy of ‘Holy Island’ will be winging its way over to you, just send me an e-mail at lj_ross@outlook.com to let me know where you’d like the book to be sent (addresses will not be stored for any other purpose).

Nice one! X

  

PAPERBACK NOW AVAILABLE!

IMG_5955

The paperback version of Holy Island: A DCI Ryan Mystery is now available to purchase through Amazon, for those of you who prefer to hold a real book in your hands!

Get your copy here!

Alternatively, don’t forget to enter the Caption Competition to be in with a chance of winning a free copy!

Happy reading, folks 🙂

CAPTION COMPETITION!

  
To celebrate the imminent release of Holy Island in paperback, I’ll be giving away ten signed copies to those who can come up with the funniest / most inspired ending to the following caption:

“Ryan followed the muffled sounds at the end of the darkened corridor. With slow movements, he edged closer, until only a wooden door separated him from what lay beyond. Fingers splayed against the wood, he pushed the door open and his jaw fell in astonishment, for he saw…[BLANK]”

Post your entries as a comment here or on my Facebook L J Ross Author page here and the winners will be chosen on Friday 17th July.

Good luck! 

X