Meet Melinda Leigh, a writer of romantic suspense and paranormal romance. Today she joins us to talk about what inspires her, the books she has written, and her current projects.
1. As you know, I LOVED She Can Run. What can you share about what inspired this story?
She Can Run evolved slowly over a long period of time. An article about a woman murdered by her boyfriend gave me my heroine. I teach women’s self-defense. The statistics on domestic violence are appalling. Most people do not realize how prevalent or how dangerous it is. More research on criminals and their victim selection process complicated the plot. Predators are adept locating and identifying the vulnerable. Who would be more vulnerable than someone already victimized? And how does a woman who has been betrayed by the person who is supposed to protect her learn to trust again? Beth’s plight developed from a purely physical risk to forcing her to make deeply conflicted decisions to save herself and her children.
2. What can you share about your newly released book Amazon Heat—characters, plot, themes?
Amazon Heat (co-written with Rayna Vause) is a light paranormal romance novella inspired by the 1970s Wonder Woman series and mythology. Elizabeth Demarco is a doctor and scientist who disappeared on a research expedition into the Amazon Rainforest. Two years later, her lover, anthropologist Logan Spencer is still searching for her when he falls from a cliff. Logan is saved by a secret tribe of warrior women, the Amazons. He is taken to a secret valley where he learns that Elizabeth has been held captive since her disappearance. Of course the Amazons have a reason for saving him, a nefarious plan to steal his DNA then kill him. Logan and Elizabeth have only hours to escape before their second chance at happiness is doomed. Amazon Heat is a fast action adventure story that one reviewer compared in feel to the movie, Romancing the Stone.
3. Who or what inspired your particular writing journey?
I’ve been a bookworm all my life. So when I was looking for a career that would allow me to stay at home with my kids (and keep me sane) I decided to give it a try. I love being a mom, but I am NOT a domestic goddess. Once I started writing, I was hooked. It’s creative and challenging and required me to learn new skills. Writing is a lot more technical than I had imagined. My inner geek was in instant heaven.
4. Are you currently working on another book? If so, what can you tell us about it?
I’m writing the sequel to She Can Run. Yay! She Can Tell is the a story about a feisty horse trainer, her violent stalker, a 25 year old disappearance, and the police chief who is trying to tie it all together. I’m having great fun developing the romance in this book because of the polar opposite personalities of my main characters.
In addition, my romantic suspense, Midnight Exposure, is scheduled to release in April 2012 from Montlake Romance. Tabloid photographer Jayne Sullivan’s search for a reclusive artist is hampered by a bizarre attack and her suspicions about the mysterious, sexy carpenter who rescues her.
Also, Rayna Vause and I are working on the sequel to Amazon Heat. Mari’s story will be great fun.
Updates on all of these new projects will be on my website: http://melindaleighauthor.com.
5. As a writer, I am sure you must be an avid reader. What books are currently on your nightstand?
The 7th Month by Lisa Gardner, The Night Eternal by Chuck Hogan and Guillermo Del Toro, and Blood Rites by Jim Butcher.
6. Can you tell us about some of your favorite childhood books?
My favorite childhood boods were Big Red by Jim Kjelgaard and the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley. Hmmm. Dogs and horses. I suppose I haven’t changed all that much.
7. Who are your top five favorite authors, and why?
Jim Butcher – The Dresden Files books appeal to me because I love a man who doesn’t take himself too seriously. Loyalty and a sense of humor go a long way toward my hero status. Stephen King – The writing never disappoints, although sometimes the stories are too creepy even for me. Lisa Gardner & Harlan Coben – For their complex plotting and tightly written suspense. And last, but not least, Nora Roberts/JD Robb, mostly because I love the romance between Eve and Rourke in her In Death series.
8. I love certain writers because of their prose. Can you think of a favorite line from one of the books you love?
Mostly, I like in-your-face action and suspense, but there are times when I get in the mood to slow down and savor lovely prose. Not only does Deanna Raybourn write beautifully, I was totally hooked by this opening line from Silent in the Grave.
“To say that I met Nicolas Brisbane over my husband’s dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor.”
9. What can you share about your writing day? Do you have a special writing space and certain rituals?
Pajamas or sweat pants feature heavily in my writing schedule, also coffee. Lots of coffee. I write at a cluttered desk in the corner of my bedroom, but I also tote my laptop along to work during the kids’ guitar lessons and gym classes. I’m addicted to index cards in all colors and sizes. I use them for notes, character descriptions and plotting. I’ve tried computer programs, but my note cards, a story board and some magnets work best for me.
10. Marketing is often a challenge for authors. What works for you?
Honestly, I don’t know yet. I have a background in business, so promotion isn’t new to me, but publishing is a rocky and changeable business, even in a good economy. I use social media daily, and I blog frequently. But what matters the most (I hope) is that I write good books. My biggest issue is time. Promotion often pulls me away from my writing.
11. I’d love to hear about where you live. How does your home setting inspire your writing?
I live in a permanently messy house in the heart of Suburbia. My home is under constant influx of teenagers. It’s often quite chaotic. No doubt my parental multitasking experiences enable me to juggle multiple plot lines.
12. Do you have any pets? We love animals.
Well, you’ve come to the right author. I’ve had everything from a chinchilla to a horse. But dogs are my favorite pets. At the moment, we have two dogs: a breeder reject collie and a small rescue mutt that’s a cross between a spaniel, a dachshund, and something-with-a-curly-tail. We also have a neurotic cat that I rescued from a sewer with the help of the garbage man.
Learn more about me and my books at: