Quirky Q&A: Leigh Russell

Article published on March 2, 2016.

Journey to Death: A Lucy Hall Mystery is the first instalment in a new crime series starring a reluctant young detective tested to the very limits of her endurance. Leigh Russell takes the reader on an exhilarating adventure from the idyllic tropical beaches of Mahé into the island’s Dark Cloud Forest.

Lucy Hall arrives in the Seychelles determined to leave her worries, and her cheating ex, behind. Newly single and tagging along with her parents on their romantic break, Lucy promises herself the holiday of a lifetime in sun-soaked Mahé. Her father, having lived and worked on the island in the seventies, is keen to show her the paradise he once called home. But appearances can be deceiving and, as Lucy soon discovers, the island is hiding dark secrets that threaten to turn their dream holiday into a nightmare.

As the number of strange and violent incidents rises, it becomes clear to Lucy that someone on the island is out to get them. Could her father’s past hold the key that might save all of their lives? And will Lucy discover the truth before it’s too late?

Author Leigh Russell tackles our Quirky Q&A…Leigh Russell_author pic

Cats or dogs?

I’d love to have a dog. My problem is that I’m scared of them, especially large dogs. This fear goes back to my early childhood when I was attacked by an Alsatian in our local park. Alsatians still terrify me to this day, and I suspect they know how I feel. Cats always come and sit on my lap. So it seems my answer has been chosen for me. Cats.

Tea or coffee?

Until a few years ago, I used to drink coffee all day long. About three years ago I had very severe pneumonia, and was unable to eat or drink normally for three months. My first coffee after such a long break shocked me, the effect was so powerful. Before that I had no idea how strong a drug it was. I now enjoy coffee as a treat when I’m out, but at home I stick to tea. With four of us living in the house, there’s always someone putting the kettle on. Sometimes we have hot cross buns or crumpets as well…

Cinema or theatre?

Theatre every time for me. I love live performances, whether it’s watching plays or listening to live music, attending literary festivals or visiting libraries to meet readers. We spend so much of our time connecting online, it’s wonderful to witness real people doing real things. It’s not only enjoyable, but that kind of real world human interaction is valuable.

Bridges or tunnels?

Both bridges and tunnels feature in my books. I love the resonance of their symbolic meanings; a bridge between two worlds, a tunnel leading somewhere in the darkness… Although I like the symbolism of tunnels, I don’t feel comfortable underground. We visited a disused mine recently to view the spectacular subterranean rock formations and stalactites. In the dark I grabbed hold of what I thought was my husband’s arm… The gentleman I dragged around the caves with me was very gracious about it. It’s a close call, but I’m going to choose bridges because they’re out in the open air.

Black or blue?

Some of my characters end up black and blue, but I couldn’t possibly choose either. For me, it has to be purple. All my clothes are purple, and I have a purple dip dye in my hair. Yes, it’s silly, but we can’t be serious all the time.

Denim or linen?

I hate to cause offence and hope no one who makes irons is put out by what I’m about to say, but ironing is such a waste of time. Why do we bother? What’s wrong with wearing creased clothes? Linen needs ironing, so it has to be denim for me.

Starter or dessert?

This is an easy question for me to answer as I don’t have a sweet tooth. As far as I can tell, all sweet things just taste like sugar. Also, I really enjoy eating healthy food. Chocolate, of course, is a healthy food. But unless chocolate is on the menu, it’s starters for me.

Plane or boat?

In some ways I’m nervous about travelling, but it’s not the actual transport that worries me, but anxiety about missing my plane or boat. I love the sensation of flying. There’s a rush of excitement when the plane takes off. It’s a heady feeling. But of the two I’d choose boats over planes because I love the sea. When we went to the Seychelles to research Journey to Death, I fell in love with the Indian Ocean. It’s absolutely beautiful.

Éclair or sausage?

Neither. I don’t have a sweet tooth, and the cream in eclairs is too rich for me. But I don’t eat meat. If you’re offering vegetarian sausages, cooked on a barbecue, with a cool glass of Pimms, I’d have no problem answering this question.


About the author

Leigh Russell is the internationally bestselling crime author of the Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson series. Having reached #1 on Kindle and iTunes, Leigh’s work has attracted glowing reviews in the UK and USA. Her titles regularly appear on bestseller lists and have been shortlisted for prestigious industry awards including the CWA Dagger. After studying English at the University of Kent, Leigh went on to teach, specialising in supporting those with learning difficulties. Leigh guest lectures for the Society of Authors, teaches creative writing courses in Greece and runs the manuscript assessment service for The CWA.  She is married, has two daughters, and lives in London.


Journey to Death by Leigh Russell, published by Thomas & Mercer on 9 Feb, 2016 in paperback at £8.99


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