Welcome, Leanne. Please tell us about yourself.
I’m a single mother of a teenage son. I work full-time and write whenever I can find the time. I was first published in 2007 by The Wild Rose Press when my novella, Victory’s Gate won the American Rose category in the Through the Garden Gate contest. In 2009 Through the Garden Gate anthology was released and then in 2011 a novella It’s Always Been You and a novel Season of Love was released. My biggest year of publishing so far has been 2012. I saw four different stories published, a short story (A Country Kitchen Christmas), two novels (The Good Luck Charm and The Good Luck Spell), and a novella (Ava). Because of Rebecca and The Good Luck Potion along with the audio version of Ava have been released so far in 2013.
Well I guess this is a great year for you! It sounds like you’ve had great success writing for The Wild Rose Press. Recently, I sold a romantic suspense to them and I’m in the middle of edits. I hope my experience with them is as great as yours.
So, when did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I realized I wanted to be a writer when I was thirteen and I tried to write my first young adult love story. I had just started reading YA romances and modeled my story after those. I completed that story when I was in seventh grade and began another one when I started high school. I had friends who read my writing and even a few of the males in my class who knew I was writing would ask to read the stories as well. I finished four YAs by the time I graduated high school, but none have been published. It wasn’t until I was in college that I took my first creative writing course. By then I had started several adult manuscripts but had never finished one of those because I kept writing and rewriting as I learned on my own from reading adult romances.
Considering that, how long does it take you to write a book . . . and finish it?
This depends on my characters. Sometimes I can write a story in six weeks if my characters are telling the story and I let everything else go and just write. (This is hard to do since I work full-time.) And other times it can take months, especially if I feel I am stuck and not sure how to get from point A to point B.
Oh, definitely been there, done that. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I try to write every morning when I’m fresh and I can focus on my characters better.
Morning is best for me, too, for the same reasons. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
This comes from anything. A picture. A song. A name.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I like to play computer games on Facebook. Sometimes it is just nice to not think and let my mind relax. I also like to watch online films and programs via Netflix. I have found some great series that I overlooked. That’s how I found Downton Abbey. Now I watch it weekly on PBS each season.
What does your family think of your writing?
My mom has started reading since she began reading my books. She is retired and she has read over a dozen books in the last year. She is also a great source of PR for me telling anyone she meets about my books. My son likes the royalty checks I get so he is all the time telling me to go write. (In other words, leave me alone.) He also brags to his teachers that I am a published author.
How great that you have such support. You’ve told us about some of your books, but how many have you written? Which is your favorite?
This month I have published my tenth story. My favorite? Do I have to choose one? Oh gosh… I really fell in love with Alex and Sue in The Good Luck Potion. But I loved all three characters in Ava. Because of Rebecca is a book from the heart. It took many years to write because I worked on it in stages and I grew as a writer through that process.
That question is really unfair, isn’t it? LOL Sort of like asking which is your favorite child. Tell us about your latest book.
The Good Luck Potion is my latest book. It is a contemporary romantic comedy. Like the other two books in The Good Luck Series it has an element of paranormal to it because of the gris-gris (good luck charm) that the heroine is given to wear and the small vial of a potion the hero is given to carry in the story.
Here is a blurb and an excerpt for this story:
How much trouble can a little bottle and a good luck charm get you into?
Sue Charles is having second thoughts after accepting a good luck charm from Lucinda, a mysterious Cajun acquaintance who insists the amulet will reveal Sue's true love. Every indication is that the charm has singled out Alex Jones as Sue's soul mate, but how's a girl to know for sure? Can the gris-gris really work its magic for her or is she simply fooling herself?
After spending three years in Alaska, Alex Jones returns to Tennessee eager to settle back into his old ways. But when he meets Sue Charles, his previous bachelor days no longer seem all that appealing. He'd love to build a new life around a relationship with Sue, but he's worried about the consequences when things move too fast too soon. After all, his godmother did give him a good luck potion to carry around. What if his feelings are just a result of the Cajun woman’s mumbo jumbo?
Sue applied the brake, slowing to a stop outside of her sister’s house. She prepared to park behind a small pickup truck but became distracted when she saw a cute guy walk from the curb toward the house. His short cropped brown hair and two day stubble was a sexy combination. He filled out his jeans in all the right places too, drawing her attention to his behind instead of keeping her mind on coming to a full stop. When her car bumped into the tail end of the truck she jerked to attention.
“Oh no.” She shifted to reverse, inched back a little and put it in park. Gripping the steering wheel tight, she laid her head on it, afraid to look. She was certain he’d heard the minor collision. She didn’t recognize him as one of Phil’s friends because he was definitely someone she would remember. Whoever he was, he’d no doubt be angry and justifiably so.
If she didn’t feel obligated to go inside she’d leave, but she couldn’t bail on her sister. Though by the number of cars parked in the drive it was clear she wouldn’t be missed. Kimberly had said dinner with a friend or two, but this looked like a large dinner party. Leave it to her sister to tell a white lie to get her to come tonight.
A knock on the window prompted her to look up. The hunky guy was standing outside her door and she swallowed the lump of anxiety that had formed in her throat. Resigned that she had to face him and the damage she had caused, she pulled her keys from the ignition, grabbed her purse and got out.
“Are you okay?” His look of worry startled her.
She slowly nodded, but her cheeks grew warm. “I’m sorry. I got a little too close and bumped you. Is there any damage to your truck? I’ll pay for it. It was totally my fault.”
“Relax. It’s just a truck. The most important thing is that you weren’t hurt. Did you hit your head?”
She swallowed, caught off guard by his concern for her safety when she was the one at fault. “No. I’m fine. Just rattled…I’m normally a safe driver. I wasn’t expecting so many cars to be here.”
He grinned and nodded, extending his hand. “It does look like a crowd. I’m Alex by the way.”
“Sue Charles.” She shook his hand. “I’m Kimberly’s sister.”
“Nice to meet you, Sue Charles. Should we go inside?”
“Don’t you think we should check for damage?”
“I don’t think there is any, but if it will make you feel better, we can look.”
She followed him to the front of the car and they inspected both vehicles. Thankfully he was right. There wasn’t a scratch on either, but it didn’t change the fact that she’d hit his truck because she’d been staring at his butt. And the way he kept grinning made her feel he knew what had really distracted her. As if that wasn’t enough, the gris-gris warmed against her chest, reminding her that less than an hour ago Lucinda had given her the one thing that was supposed to ensure she meet her soul mate.
Mortified by what she’d done, she really wanted to hurry to the house and lock herself in Kimberly’s bedroom until everyone left. But she couldn’t, especially when Alex was trying to make her feel at ease. He was not only good looking, but a nice person and definitely someone she’d expect would be Phil’s friend.
“See. No damage.” He smiled. “No harm. No foul. Let’s forget it and have a good time tonight.”
She glanced up at him, grateful for his good nature. “Okay. I’ll try to forget it, but I’m truly sorry.”
“Like I said, it’s just a truck.” He motioned for her to go ahead of him and he followed her up the walk.
The front door opened before they reached it. Kimberly was all smiles and she looked amazing in the floral sundress and sandals she wore. “I was getting worried about you two. Everyone else has already arrived. Come on in and let me get you the last lock and key.”
“What?” Sue followed her sister into the living room and saw there were five other females wearing a lock on a string around their necks.
“Phil and I thought it would be fun to have a lock and key party. Have you ever heard of it?”
“No.” Sue grimaced.
“It’s simple really. You wear this lock and each male is given a key.” Kimberly turned to Alex, handing one to him. “Each key matches one lock. It’s the guy’s job to find out which one. We thought it would be a great way to start a conversation and for my friends to get to know Phil’s friends.”
“Where’d you get this idea?” Sue asked.
“A movie on one of those cable romance channels. Phil and I both thought it was the cutest idea ever.” Kimberly’s enthusiasm wasn’t rubbing off on her. “Relax. Who knows, you might just meet someone tonight. Haven’t you been moaning for the last few months about needing a date?”
“Kimberly!” Sue gasped, not believing her sister had just said that in front of him. She grabbed her by the arm and led her toward the kitchen. “How could you say that in front of Alex?”
“Sorry, but it’s true.”
“It doesn’t matter if it is. I don’t want him thinking I’m a loser. I already bumped his truck when I parked.”
“So that explains why the two of you were out there so long.”
Sue ignored that last statement, not wanting to go into any more details at the moment. Instead she turned to the question that had been eating at her since she pulled up. “I thought you invited me here for dinner.”
“I did. And we’ll eat as soon as each lock and key is paired up.”
The Good Luck Potion is available at http://amzn.com/B00CLC73ZA
Because I love the covers of Leanne's other books, I want to share them.
One last question, Leanne. Where can readers find you?
I’m also on Goodreads and LinkedIn
Thanks for being here today, Leanne, and sharing so much about yourself and your books.