Author funds programme to help budding writers

Author 'LJ Ross. Picture by Gareth Iwan Jones
Author 'LJ Ross. Picture by Gareth Iwan Jones

An acclaimed Northumberland author, who has used the county as settings for her books, is funding a project to help budding writers fulfil their creative ambitions.

LJ Ross, who writes the number-one bestselling DCI Ryan series, is donating £6,500 to make sure that a young writers’ project can go ahead in Amble.

The Amble Young Writers’ programme will give youngsters the chance to take part in a summer writing school from August 6 to 8, which will involve a trip to Holy Island.

They will write about the atmospheric location in collaboration with the National Trust.

The funding will also support free weekly writing sessions every Saturday in term-time at Amble Library.

The initiative is part of the Young Writers’ programme run by New Writing North, the literature development organisation for the North of England.

Louise Ross is a former lawyer who gave up a successful career in the city and now writes under the pen name of LJ Ross. Her husband James is the ‘J’ as her way of saying thank you to him for his support during her career change.

She came up with the idea for her first novel, Holy Island, on a train journey along the East Coast past Lindisfarne. She remarked on what a great setting it would be for a whodunit and immediately jotted down her ideas for a plot.

Holy Island was released three years ago and shot to the top of the Amazon book charts. Since then, she has released a further seven books, with her latest, Seven Bridges, also topping the charts. All eight novels are set in the North East, including Cragside and Kielder.

She said: “I want to give something back to budding writers and there’s nothing more fitting for me to fund than a project based on Holy Island.

“The feelings of trepidation you get on publishing day and elation when you see your book heading up the bestseller charts never go away.

“Hopefully, this funding and project will help give these young writers the chance to experience that for themselves.”

Louise has just moved back to her native Northumberland with James and their four-year-old son Ethan, after living in London and Bath.