PONTELAND crime-writer Louise Ross knocked Paula Hawkins’ international best-seller The Girl on the Train off the Amazon UK Kindle top spot with her very first novel.

Now, just nine months later, Holy Island has racked up 100,000 sales and Louise is preparing for the official launch of her second fast-paced flit across the landscape of her youth, in Sycamore Gap.

The launch will take place in Newcastle in November, an event in the planning that has given her pause for thought in an otherwise hectic year.

Now in her early thirties, she spent most of her twenties working as a regulatory lawyer in the City of London.

However, she had a hankering for change that simply gathered momentum following the birth of her son Ethan, who is now two.

It was a train journey to Edinburgh last year that provided her with the means of finally changing track, when a stray remark set her thinking.

She was surprised, she said to her husband James, that no-one had written a book set on Lindisfarne.

By the time they arrived in Edinburgh, the beginnings of a plot were taking shape and by January this year, Holy Island was in pole position on Amazon.

It set the scene for what is already turning into a trilogy – she is currently penning Heavenfield, the third in the series – and her main character, DCI Ryan, is rapidly becoming a fixture on the North-East crime scene.

Louise, who has incorporated her husband’s initial into her pen name of L.J. Ross to thank him for his unstinting support, is delighted with the way the year is going.

Much as Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James did, Louise has chosen to go down the Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) route and effectively self-published.

It is certainly paying dividends. The success of Holy Island in e-book format persuaded her to put it out in paperback and she’s now preparing to do the same with Sycamore Gap.

“The majority of the 100,000 sales are for Holy Island as Sycamore Gap was only published in September,” she said, “but it’s beginning to do well too.”

Although Louise and her family live in Bath, they generally travel up to Ponteland once a month to spend a weekend with her parents and she continues to draw inspiration from her trips.

“The starting point for all of my books is the landscape of Northumberland,” she said.

“It’s the remote locations and the history – they are so different from the common perception of an industrial North.

“All of my family are from this area and we were always on the beach at Bamburgh, visiting Dunstanburgh or Cragside, or in the hills in the Ingram Valley.

“Half my problem is not being able to write quickly enough when I’ve got so much material running through my head!”

The wild and remote beauty that provides the very descriptive backdrop to her books is tempered by a grittier element, of course.

She is a crime writer after all and as such, her books boast a body count Midsomer Murders would be proud of. There are three on tiny Lindisfarne alone.

It remains to be seen how many hapless individuals will meet their grizzly end at Heavenfield, the austere and isolated church that stands on the skyline near Wall.

In real life it is the starting point for that favourite with long-distance trekkers, St Oswald’s Way. Louise might make them think twice.