Author notches up 100,000 book sales in just two years

Author Louise Ross, who is from Ponteland.
Author Louise Ross, who is from Ponteland.

An author from the area is celebrating selling a landmark 100,000 copies of her first two books in less than a year.

Louise Ross, from Ponteland, who pens her novels under the name LJ Ross, started to write the DCI Ryan series during a rail journey from Newcastle to Edinburgh.

“I was looking out of the train window towards Lindisfarne and happened to remark to my husband that I was surprised no one had written a book set on Holy Island,” she said.

“I had a notebook with me and started to scribble down ideas for a plot.”

The result was Holy Island, which opens with the murder of a young girl in Lindisfarne Priory. Louise’s second novel Sycamore Gap, which will be officially released in paperback in November, features a body being hidden among the stones of Hadrian’s Wall.

She is now working on her third novel, Heavenfield, which is based around the tiny, remote church of St Oswald’s, where the ancient Battle of Heavenfield took place near Wall, Northumberland.

She said: “The landscape is as much of a character as the characters themselves. It’s been the starting point for all of my work so far.

“How can you fail to be inspired by going for a walk on Hadrian’s Wall or the beach at Holy Island as mist starts to creep towards you?”

The 30-year-old spent most of her 20s in London as a regulatory lawyer, but when her son Ethan was born, she wrote whenever she could find the time while looking after him.

Holy Island was released in January this year and shot to the top of the Amazon UK Kindle charts, knocking Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train off the number one spot.

Louise now writes full-time from her home in Bath, where she lives with barrister husband James and Ethan, visiting her parents and Northumberland whenever she gets the chance.

Louise, who incorporated her husband’s initial into her pen name as a thank-you to him for his support, added: “It’s incredible to think that it’s less than a year ago that Holy Island was released through Amazon and now so many people have read my books.

“Many readers are already talking about how they would like to see it made into a television series, and who should play DCI Ryan.”

Louise’s first two novels have both spent weeks in Amazon’s top 100 bestseller list, with Sycamore Gap set to be officially released in paperback at a launch party in Jesmond’s As You Like it on November 21.

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