Author to speak at literary festival

Author Louise Ross.
Author Louise Ross.

A best-selling author who was born in Ponteland will be sharing her successes at a festival next week.

Louise Ross, who writes as LJ Ross, will be at Berwick Literary Festival, which runs from Thursday, October 20, to Sunday, October 23.

Ms Ross, who grew up in Ponteland, knocked Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train off the top spot in the Amazon bestsellers list with her debut novel Holy Island.

The lawyer-turned-author has now sold more than 500,000 books in just 18 months, 1,000 copies every day, earning her more than she was making as a regulatory lawyer in London.

All four of her novels, which follow her central character DCI Ryan as he tries to solve a series of gruesome murders, are set in, and have been inspired by, the North East landscape.

She said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be talking part in the Berwick Literary Festival, which is going from strength to strength with every year. I really owe the Northumberland landscape my career as without its beauty spots I would never have had the inspiration for my books. For me, the setting is just as much of a character as DCI Ryan, Dr Anna Taylor or DS Frank Phillips.

“It’s great to be able to talk to literary fans and aspiring authors about how important the location is in any work of fiction, and how to get across a sense of place in writing so you transport your readers to your setting.

“The Berwick Literary Festival attracts such a great bunch of authors, I’m looking forward to attending some of the other events as a fan too.”

The mum-of-one purposefully jumped off her career ladder before falling pregnant with her son Ethan, now three. Her spell of maternity leave allowed her to pursue her writing and she started jotting down a few ideas.

But, it was a train journey to Edinburgh which provided the real light-bulb moment. As they passed Holy Island, she turned to her husband and remarked what a great setting it would be for an Agatha Christie-style whodunnit. She immediately starting outlining a plot and the rest is history.

Despite being offered a traditional publishing deal, Ms Ross turned this down and self-published through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing instead to make sure she had more freedom.

She will be talking From Scenery to Storyline at Berwick’s Guildhall at 4pm, on Saturday, October 22.

Tickets for the event, or the festival as a whole, are available at the town’s The Malting’s Theatre or by calling 01289 330999.