5 Things You Didn’t Know About Luther Creator Neil Cross

“How can someone so normal write such disturbing stories?”

Neil Cross, renowned award-winning creator of TV show Luther and bestselling author, often hears from readers, “How can someone so normal write such disturbing stories?” To answer that question, we read his memoir Heartland and found five things you didn’t know about this infinitely talented man.

1. Despite working extensively in England and Los Angeles as a screenwriter, Cross lives far, far away with his wife and two kids in Wellington, New Zealand. The one thing Mr. Cross doesn’t like about New Zealand? Rugby. As he told The Wellingtonian Newspaper, “I can get my head into the mind of a serial killer, but not a crazy sports fan.”

2. Out of all the people in the world, Cross is adamant about “who” he admires — Dr. Who. As a child, Cross’s older sister would tell him the Daleks were downstairs in order to ensure he would do exactly as she said. And since then, he has even written two episodes for the cult TV series.

Nevertheless, Neil Cross feels he relates most to John Yossarian, the grimly humorous main character of Catch-22 by Joseph Heller.

3. Neil Cross first started writing at the young age of 8 years old. While the book he wrote, Another Kind of Warrior, was never published, it was a project he continued to work on until he was 16. Mr. Cross’s first book, Mr. In-Between, was published when he was just 28 years old.

“Back then, I had some romantic ideas about what it meant to be a writer. I’d use amphetamines and hammer at the keyboard for eighteen hours at a time, chain smoking, making myself wired, nocturnal, paranoid and unwell,” he wrote in his author note. “I thought this made me kind of legitimate. It didn’t, of course — it made me a dick. But I was only twenty-four, and what emerged was Mr In-Between

It was the first story he has said he felt was good enough for someone else to want to read.

4. Neil Cross has written incredibly horrifying, psychological thrillers, and yet he is terrified of the one thing you experience every day: the dark. When he is alone in his house, Mr. Cross always has to keep all the lights on. This is somewhat ironic considering when he wrote Burial, his goal was to frighten readers and keep them up all night.

5. Neil Cross wrote Luther because he wanted to see characters that combined the classic puzzle-solving detective with someone who had a strong moral code but was beaten down in life. Luther was the first show Neil Cross created from scratch and he describes it as his biggest single project.

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