LJ Ross joins me today to take part in my Getting to know the character interview
Can you describe your character?
Detective Chief Inspector Ryan – or just, ‘Ryan’, to his friends – is the main protagonist in my series of Northumbrian murder mysteries. Having heard from so many readers, it seems that people relate to different parts of his character but, for me, he was written to be a strategic leader, capable of looking at a difficult situation with detachment and always acting according to his conscience. In other words, he is entirely incorruptible, but in each new book he is presented with a new moral dilemma or scenario which tests the bounds of his own principles. He is what I would call an intuitive detective, who relies on behavioural training to read a suspect and what their body language is saying, rather than just the words that come out of their mouths, then he plans a logical approach to support his theories. He’s very loyal, has a dry sense of humour and he ain’t bad looking, either!
What is Ryan’s job role and where does he work?
Ryan holds the rank of Detective Chief Inspector and is based from the Criminal Investigation Department at my fictional version of the Northumbria Police Constabulary. His headquarters are based near Wallsend, in Newcastle upon Tyne, but as part of a major incident team he travels extensively around the county and neighbouring counties.
Where did the original idea of him come about?
The character of Ryan contains parts of myself, as the writer, as well as small pieces of many people I have met over the years. So, you might say the original idea for Ryan has been percolating for a while and was waiting for the right story to come along!
What makes him original?
For starters, unlike many fictional detectives, Ryan has been able to sustain a meaningful relationship with his partner (Dr Anna Taylor) throughout the books. As a writer, I’ve been told that crime fiction should not trespass into the realms of romantic fiction but I deliberately ignored that edict – after all, why shouldn’t a murder detective have a love life? In reality, police men and women sustain relationships, just like the rest of us, and I believe it is more implausible to imagine a fictional world where nobody ever seeks companionship.
What makes him tick?
DCI Ryan is on a constant quest to seek justice for the dead. He is compelled to balance the scales and, perhaps, to atone for past mistakes he has made which have led to innocent lives being lost – or so he thinks.
What is his biggest fear?
His biggest fear is failure to prevent harm by failing to uncover the truth of an investigation, and his second biggest fear is losing the people who matter to him the most.
If you and your character met in real life, do you think you’d get on?
I think I’d quite fancy him, so that could be awkward…
Who would you like to see play Ryan if your books were made into a film or TV show?
I’m often asked this question! It is so hard to answer, because the beauty of reading is that you can imagine your own image of who Ryan should be. However, I’d like to see someone with a quiet strength and presence on-screen, capable of commanding a scene.
How many books do you have in the series so far?
There are six books in the series so far, with a seventh (“Dark Skies”) on the way in time for Christmas!
What’s in store for him next?
A lot more adventure! I have so many ideas for plot lines, the only problem is not being able to write faster.
About The Author
L.J. Ross is the author of the international #1 bestselling series of DCI Ryan mystery novels. Her debut, Holy Island, was released in January 2015 and went on to become a Kindle UK #1 bestseller. Its sequels, Sycamore Gap, Heavenfield, Angel and High Force have all been top five bestsellers. The novels are all available to purchase in e-book, paperback and audiobook formats on the Amazon store (the audiobook version of High Force will be released in early 2017). Holy Island is also available in German translation.
Louise was born in Northumberland, England. She studied undergraduate and postgraduate Law at King’s College, University of London and studied abroad in Paris and Florence. She spent much of her working life in London, where she was a regulatory lawyer for a number of years until taking the decision to change career and pursue her dream to write.
Now, she writes full time and lives with her husband and son in Bath. She enjoys reading all manner of books, travelling and spending time with family and friends.
If you would like to connect with LJ Ross, she would be very happy to hear from you: