This is Leigh, and she really is super fabulous!
On her equally fabulous blog you will find that she is a writer, editor, public relations professional, wife, and mom. Sounds busy right? If anyone can handle it, Leigh can. She's totally inspiring :)
Anyway, let's get on with the interview.
Leigh, how long have you been writing?
I think second grade. I always liked to daydream and make up stories in my head, but around second grade, I actually wrote one down and illustrated it. So my very first "book" was a graphic novel called "Fury Woman." (LOL!) It was about this pretty female scientist who spilled acid on her face and then grew a huge eyebrow and mole and did bad things. I can't remember all the details, but I do remember the eyebrow and the mole. I wasted boxes of ballpoints on them.
After that, my best friend (Dara Rush Bartee) and I created "Dignity & Detriment." I wrote it, and she did the illustrations. She's still an amazing artist and art teacher in a suburb of New Orleans. I don't remember the plot of D&D, but Dara still has it. I can say it has nothing to do with "Pride & Prejudice."
(Awesome! Your book in second grade reminds me of the book my kindergarten daughter just wrote called, "The Hot Mom." The kids push the mom in the fire and then laugh at her...pictures and all. Kids are so creative. I can totally see you tearing into a new box of pens just to get that mole right!)
And what made you want to write?
I don't know. I think I'd reached that point in my career where I'd done everything I could do except write a book. I'd been a freelancer for almost 10 years, an editor for almost 14 years, I'd run a magazine, so I'd assigned other writers and supported them, coordinated them with photographers and scheduling, etc. (huge amount of work).
For whatever reason, I decided to see if I could actually write a book-length narrative that someone might actually want to read. (My mom had been saying I would since I graduated high school.)
Eighteen months later, I'd written four. (I had no idea it would be so fun!)
Do you have any pet peeves while writing?
Being interrupted! Especially when it's all coming together. I'm a bit of a procrastinator getting started, but once I'm "in the zone," I can write for hours. My husband likes to say I have an amazing ability to block everything out--including him. But the truth is, I'm also a mom and a wife, and I still have two freelance jobs. And now we're doing this major relocation... Will I ever write again??? sigh. No, I have to remind myself there is a life and important things outside the cave.
(Yeah, I can get stuck in the cave too and my four princesses and their handsome father love it when I emerge and remember them.)
If you could sit down and reread any book, which would it be?
Just one? :D No, when I started writing news stories, the best way for me to improve was to read my stories after they'd been published to see where the edits had occurred. But with books, the best way to learn is by studying books that people rave about--both good and bad--and making mental notes. So specifically, I'd like to reread "Twilight" (Meyer), "The Truth About Forever" (Dessen), "Poisonwood Bible" (Kingsolver)... I'd like to read "Carrie" for the first time...
Quick, you have five minutes to visit one or two writing blogs, which ones will you check?
Why yours of course, darling--LOL! :D This is a very unfair question. I love all my bleeps, and it stresses me out when I can't make the rounds. I feel so out of touch with everyone, like I'm missing something... (Am I stalling here? You bet. ;o)
(I know, not really fair. You're totally justified in the stalling.)
If you could meet any author, dead or alive, who would you choose?
Stephen King. I just want to pick his brain about everything. How he did it, how he balanced it all, how he coped. Clearly he didn't cope so well, as we all know about his addictions, etc. But he's over that hump now, and I would love to have coffee and interview him. Get all his good advice. Like how do you go about daily business and pretend to be normal when you've got all these stories going in your head all the time? (Hmm... maybe he's not the best person to ask that question.)
No, I'm a journalist at heart, and I bet he's got a ton of great stories. Him or J.K. Rowling. She's a mom, so she's probably better for advice, but I think of her more as still young in her career. And I like interviewing OLD people... LOL! :D
What book are you reading right now and which one do you have lined up to read next?
I'm currently reading "Water for Elephants" because it's my book club's selection. I have to confess, I didn't expect to like it as much as I do, but I'm only on page 108. So next, I'm not sure yet.
I want to read Elana's book ("Possession"), but I also need to read more in my genre. I've had "This Lullaby" (Dessen) on my Kindle since forever, and "Oliver Twist," which I've never read, but the musical (Oliver!) was in my head when I was writing the book that's with my agent. And my Goodreads list is exploding. So I don't know what's next.
(You're like me. I hardly ever really know what will be next, just a list of ideas.)
And last, but not least, do you prefer fruity candy or chocolate?
Depends on my mood. I used to detest fruity candy (I still don't like Starbursts), but sometimes I just need a gummy. Still, dark chocolate typically wins.
(And I could just use a gummy anytime. You can have all my dark chocolate.)
You want to see some more of Leigh's fabulousness? Here she is...
And then there's this.
See what happens when I'm given permission to use any of the three? I like photo dumps and a photo dump of Leigh is better than a photo dump of me any day. Not many people can pull off feathers like she can.
Thanks Leigh! It was so much fun getting to know more about you. Be sure to follow Leigh at her awesome blog. It's definitely worth your time.
Have a great weekend! I'll be with my hubby celebrating our 7th anniversary.