I’m interviewing one of the talented female authors featured in the dark fantasy and horror anthology, “In the Bloodstream” published by Mocha Memoirs Press, available now at Amazon.
Take a look at the fabulous eBook cover art by Nancy Schuetz:
ER: Welcome, Leigh! Tell us a bit about your background and what makes you tick.
LJ: One of my favorite quotes from a book is from The Red Tent and it roughly goes “To know a girl you have to understand her mother.” My mother is a successful writer and my greatest inspiration and demon at the same time. On the one hand she is proof that with hard work it can be done and done very well, and on the other she has shown me how hard it is to be a writer! My whole life I swore I would never be a writer and then about two years ago I gave in, moving my scribbling and odd ramblings into more serious work.
I live in the same town I grew up in with my husband Alan whom I have been with now for almost twelve years (married for six). We recently had our first child, a little girl named Martha, who is very curious, and will hopefully grow up to be an accountant, not a creative type like her parents. Someone has to pay for us to go into the home!
My biggest passions are Tudor history, Disney, and my family. I lived in Orlando for two years working for the Mouse, but have otherwise hated most of my jobs which have been everything from a waitress to an assistant at a college. I’m pleased to finally feel like I have a career instead of just a job.
ER: Give us a short blurb about your “Bloodstream” story. How did you get the idea?
LJ: The idea for my story “Watcher” actually came from my father. At his church there is a man with development issues who always “watches” the church and lets my dad know what is happening, when the youth group met, if the pastor was late, anything. So my dad goes “wouldn’t it be weird if he actually saw a break-in or something? That would be a good story.” Of course my twisted mind takes it and comes up with a man who can’t communicate and witnesses a much worse crime taking place at the church.
ER: Do you have a day job or do you write full time? Would we be surprised by what you do for a living?
LJ: I write “full-time” but mostly I am a full-time mom. Lots of what I write is actually non-fiction travel writing for Walt Disney World where I worked as a tour guide for two years.
ER: What scares you?
LJ: EVERYTHING! I’m a real scaredy cat—in fact I refuse to read Stephen King because just the idea of his early work frightens me.
ER: What do you do when your muse deserts you? How do you stay inspired?
LJ: My muse completely deserted me the entire time I was pregnant—so I didn’t write. With that exception when I can’t think of what to write I usually switch projects for a while or try to follow an outline.
ER: Tell us a joke.
LJ: Two guys walk into a bar. The third one ducks. (My other favorite joke takes over half an hour to tell.)
ER: What’s your next project? Will you share with us?
LJ: Currently I’m working on my first full novel, a nameless YA about a young man named Joyce being held hostage by Selvin, a powerful spellcaster. He has the unique ability to create Dust of the Fairies, a blue gel needed in all potions and spells. In his world magic is illegal, but is often overlooked by the authorities who use magic to put themselves in power. Selvin also holds Joyce’s best friend, a young girl named Cinnerie, and tortures her to force Joyce into submission.
The entire thing is based on a dream I had. The only thing I left out was the part where we all boarded a rollercoaster.
ER: Do you listen to music while writing? What’s on your playlist?
LJ: I listen to a classical music station while I write.
ER: How do you research your topics? What do you want erased from your Internet search history?
LJ: My first work was a group of alternative-history novellas based around the six wives of Henry the VIII (called The Six Lives of Henry the VIII) and I had some pretty weird research questions on that! I knew quite a bit due to my general love of Tudor history but had to look up lots of info, especially for the first one which involves the Spanish Inquisition and torture devices.
ER: What do you do when you’re not writing?
LJ: Now I’m taking care of my little girl Martha!
ER: Any suggestions for aspiring writers out there?
LJ: Just write! My biggest pet peeve is when people list everything you have to do to be a writer—untrue. The only thing a person needs to do to be a writer is write. Once you do that, you’re in!
ER: What’s your goal for your writing?
LJ: Obviously to be the next J.K. Rowling! But in the real world I hope to publish a few books, even if they are self published and be able to help support my family. People write for many different reasons, and my main reason is to be able to stay at home with my kids while my husband works a more traditional job. Hence the non-fiction work as well as the fiction!
Thanks for chatting with me, Leigh! I enjoyed reading “Watcher”.