North East Connected

Crime author LJ Ross launches Sycamore Gap in paperback

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 13.40.47North East crime author Louise Ross launched her latest paperback thriller Sycamore Gap with a party for family, friends and fans.

The lawyer-turned-author, who grew up in Ponteland and went to school in Newcastle, was back in the region to celebrate the release of the second in her DCI Ryan series at Jesmond’s As You Like It.

Louise, 30, started her writing career after becoming disillusioned with her work as a regulatory lawyer in London.

A train journey from Newcastle to Edinburgh sparked the idea for her first novel when she remarked to husband James, a barrister, that she was amazed no one had set a book on Lindisfarne.

Holy Island, released in January this year, went on to become Amazon’s bestselling e-book, knocking Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train off the top spot.

Louise, who writes under the name LJ Ross, taking her husband’s initial as a thank you for his unstinting support during her career change, has now released Sycamore Gap, which opens with a grisly find in the stones of Hadrian’s Wall.

DCI Ryan heads up another murder investigation as the body of Amy Llewelyn, a girl who went missing a decade before, is found at the Wall’s most famous spot.

Louise said: “I’ve been absolutely overwhelmed by the response to my first two books. When I started writing, I knew I was taking a huge risk to leave a successful career in the City. But I firmly believe that everyone can have more than one profession in their lifetime and I knew I had to give it a go.”

The launch event was attended by Louise’s family as well as fans who arrived to snap up signed copies of Sycamore Gap. They are already desperately waiting for the third in the series, Heavenfield, which Louise is busy writing in every spare minute in order to finish by her March deadline.

Photographer Roger Clegg who took the stunning cover photo of Sycamore Gap at sunset presented Louise with a special edition print of the image.

Roger, whose work has also featured at the Hadrian exhibition at the British Museum, said: “There is only one week each year when the light is just right at Sycamore Gap to capture this shot. I went one year and was unsuccessful. I’m just glad I tried again. Just as I was losing the light, two hikers appeared and that was it, the cover shot.”

Louise, who now lives in Bath with James and their two-year-old son Ethan, will next be back in the region to celebrate Christmas with her family, who still live in Ponteland.

She added: “My inspiration for my books so far has come from the Northumberland landscape where I grew up. Who knows, I may just spot the setting for my fourth novel when I come back.”

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