After binge reading almost everything by J.L. Leslie, we just had to find out more!
What inspired you to start writing?
It’s more of who. My mom was always a big supporter of mine. I’ve always loved reading and writing since I was really young. When I was a kid, I’d say I was going to be the next Stephen King. I haven’t really gone in that direction, although I’m not saying I’ll never write horror. My mom always encouraged me to write. In my early twenties I wrote a historical romance (not-published) and then I just couldn’t seem to finish anything so I stopped writing for a while. I started talking to my mom about writing again when I realized I could just self-publish online and she told me to go for it. So here I am. Sadly, my mom passed away earlier this year, but she was my biggest fan (and I’m sure she still is).
You’ve written a number of books, do you have a favourite and why? I personally love Let the Waves Come In.
I do also love Let The Waves Come In and Finding Dawn. I think these are my favorites because I tossed the ideas for these two around with my mom. I was working on Let The Waves Come In when she passed away. She told me to let Aubrey and Drew just strictly be friends. She said that’s so rare in a book for a female and male to have a strong, close friendship and it never turn into anything more. Usually when I write I don’t throw my ideas around with anyone. These two books were different and I think that’s why they’re my favorites because my mom’s input is in these.
Your approach to the Romance genre usually involves complex backstories was this a conscious decision or did your characters lead you there?
I believe my characters lead me there. I don’t think I even realize the backstories are complex until I start getting feedback from reviewers. I get the ideas and just start writing.
Does this also require a lot of research?
Some of the time I do have to do a lot of research, but worry that I don’t do enough at times. With Declan’s character in Let The Waves Come In, I had to do some research for his Air Force job. I had to do some research for Olivia’s character in Tame Me. The Morgan Family Series I’m working on now (book two) is requiring quite a bit of research. It can be a little time consuming, but I want it to be as accurate as possible. I think readers know it’s fiction, so it should be okay to embellish a little.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned while creating your books?
Honestly, how easy it is to fall in love with your own characters. It’s easy to start to feel that they’re real people and the things happening in their lives (in the books) are really happening. When I finished the Zane Series, it was the first series I wrote and it was so hard to move on and start writing something else. I felt like I was cheating on the Zane siblings and their significant others. It was strange to start writing a new book. I didn’t want to leave them behind because I was so invested in them and their stories.
What do you find most difficult about the writing/publishing process?
As for the writing process, it’s difficult for me to focus on one idea. There’s so many floating around in my head that I have to make myself focus on one book at a time. Editing is also difficult for me too. I use beta-readers now, but I try to edit my own work as much as possible prior to sending it out to beta-readers. After my work is published and it’s ready for the public, it’s really hard to get it out there and advertise it. Self-promoting- which I refer to as book-pimping- is just as time consuming as writing. I try to let everyone know that a release is coming up, when my book is out, or when a sale is going on and it can be pure exhausting. When you’re a self-published author, you typically pay for everything out-of-pocket so you have to watch the spending.
What advice, if any, would you give to aspiring writers?
It’s funny because I definitely consider myself an aspiring writer. I’ve learned pretty quickly that I’m doing this for myself. Me and only me. My writing has to make me happy and as long as it does then I’ll keep doing it. Don’t expect to receive great (or even good) reviews all the time. Don’t lash out at the reviewer when you receive a bad one or when they give you constructive advice on what you should do to improve your writing. Take the advice to heart and learn from it. It can and will help you grow as a writer. Be patient and keep writing.
What have you got planned next?
I just released 30 Days (Morgan Family Series: Book One) and I’m currently working on book two in this series. It’s a three book series, and each book will be stand-alone (like the Zane Series is). I’ve already fallen in love with these characters as well. It’ll be hard to move on from them, but I’m so excited to be working on this series. Book two has a baseball player as the H, so I’m doing a good amount of research for him. My son wanted a catcher for the Yankees so he got his wish!