Monday, May 24, 2010
Thanks for inviting me! I believe I’ve been writing since I could. I remember writing stories and poetry from about the age of eight or nine. Later my stories were featured in school journals and I won a couple of cups at high school. As I remember, those stories were a bit macabre – something or someone always died in the end.
2: What inspired you to write?
I always loved to read. I read books when I was very young that I’d find difficult to persist with now. Classics like Robinson Crusoe, The Swiss Family Robinson and Dickens. My favorite was The Coral Island by R.M. Ballantyne. Perhaps that love of reading and deciphering words transferred itself to writing. In my mother’s family there were several writers, although as far as I know, they didn’t pursue fiction. I was the youngest in my family. I had two older brothers and there was a four-year gap between us so I spent a lot of time entertaining myself, or watching my brothers and their friends have adventures that seemed so exciting and sometimes I wrote them down. I’ve always loved words and the rhythm of sentences and rhymes.
3: What do you like the most and least about writing?
Mmm… mostly I like working with words – finding the ‘right’ word and forming sentences and paragraphs. I like the flexibility that working as a writer can offer.
I least like the fact that I’m undisciplined time-wise. I often let other things take priority – although I’m working on that at long last. I’m frustrated by my writing process. I edit as I go, constantly going back to change things over and over. It’s almost obsessive, and it’s not helpful when it comes to completing a manuscript. I’m trying hard to change this way of working, get the story down first then go back to revise.
4: What do you for fun and relaxation when not writing?
Read! I also like to paint and do mixed media art. I love reading books about art, or flipping through magazines. I have two children and three grandchildren and I love to spend time with them. The kids are so much fun. I like being outside, although I’m allergic to exercise – by ‘outside’ I mean sitting on the steps with a coffee early in the morning or a glass of wine on a nice evening. I love to go to the beach or to be beside any body of water – rivers, lakes, streams. I’m not a shop-till-you-drop person. I’m quite happy staring into space and letting my thoughts roam. I’m never bored.
5: Which authors do you like to read?
Too many to name! Contemporary authors I enjoy include Jodi Picoult, Anita Shreve, Barbara Delinsky, Marian Keyes, Isabelle Allende, Joanna Trollope and NZ writer Elizabeth Knox. I like crime writers such as Elizabeth George, Kathy Reich, Tami Hoag and Ruth Rendall. My grounding in romance came via scores of Mills and Boon, Georgette Heyer, Catherine Cookson, Mary Stewart and many others.
6: What’s the one thing you’d most like people to know about you?
That I’m a best-selling novelist (one day!).
7: Tell me about your current novel, where I can find it and your website/blog.
You can find my debut novel, Kincaid’s Call at The Wild Rose Press. This is the story of Nathan Kincaid and Kate Summers who meet each other for the first time as adults when Nathan unexpectedly becomes Kate’s boss. Their last meeting, when Kate was just a kid on the verge of womanhood, was traumatic, especially for Kate who didn’t understand that Nathan was recovering from a tragedy he believed he’d caused. Kate and Nathan lived with me for a long time and I’m so pleased they’re now able to tell their story. I promised them they’d have their day in the sunshine. Kincaid’s Call is rated ‘spicy’ on The Wild Rose Press website. Jessica Hastings of Suite101 online magazine Kincaid’s Call a great review:
My website: www.leighdansey.com
8: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?
Do it. Don’t let time slip away because you’re too busy doing other things. If you really want to be a working writer, set time aside every day and write. All those other things in our lives are valid-family, work etc but developing writing skills needs the consistency of regular practice. I’m a fine one to talk but that’s my advice!
9: Do you base your characters on real-life people?
Not consciously, but I believe characters must contain something of an author’s essence, or perhaps some quality that the writer would like to have herself. I tend to be a reserved person but I like my heroines to be outspoken and feisty and to dress in a much more interesting, colorful way than I do – perhaps these are qualities I’d like to see more of in myself!
10: Where do you get your ideas and what inspired you to write this book
Ideas just seem to swim around all the time. It’s turning them into a working manuscript that’s the problem. There’s fodder for stories all around – in the lives of our own families and friends, newspapers and magazines, television, celebrity stories, a snippet of an overheard conversation. We all have such busy lives and are often involved in small or large dramas, comedies and tragedies. It’s not difficult to find ideas but trammeling them efficiently is where I struggle. The hero of Kincaid’s Call, Nathan Kincaid was with me for ages. He appeared in earlier partials and I was desperate to get him to the end of a novel! I’m inspired by the heroes and heroines in our daily lives and truly admire people who stand out in our communities through their courage, honor, humor and dignity.
11: What are you currently working on?
My WIP is called ‘Married to McAllister’. I’m about 10,000 words in and I’m working towards about 50,000 words. This is also a reunion romance where the hero and heroine knew each other when they were teenagers. Samantha Ryan thought marrying Jack McAllister was her destiny – until he up and left town with Fern Logan. Needless to say, Sam’s not pleased when Jack walks back into her life…
12. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?
I’m a New Zealander. I live in a beautiful natural environment that could have been tailor made for the writing life. My partner is also a writer so we understand those writers’ foibles that can be so frustrating to others!
Add an excerpt and picture from your book.
Kate dumped another cardboard box on the floor and lowered herself into the oversized leather chair. “That’s it,” she said to herself. “The rest can wait till tomorrow.”
With a sigh of relief she kicked off her spike-heeled sandals, swept aside a pile of papers and swung her bare feet up onto her absent employer’s desk. The airless room was stuffy and her forehead felt hot and sticky. During the week the small college nestled in the hills above Lake Rotorua hummed with activity. Now the campus was deserted, the rooms eerily silent.
Kate pushed her lower lip out to blow away a corkscrew of hair—and stopped mid-breath. The faint squeak of the exterior door swinging shut was a familiar noise, but not at this hour when encroaching darkness had pressed long fingers into the bush-clad slopes.
A drift of night air brushed her cheek. The skin on the back of her neck crawled at the unmistakeable sound of footsteps stalking along the shadowy corridor.
She had a nanosecond to scrabble awkwardly for Professor Schräder’s hefty paperweight, but before she could tighten her grip, the office door swung inwards. And there, to her horror, fifteen years older and even more devastatingly handsome than she remembered, stood Nathan Kincaid.
“What the hell—!?”
Nathan drew to an abrupt halt. The angle of light at the end of the corridor had warned him to be cautious. He didn’t have a weapon, but he knew he could rely on his bare fists and street savvy. He was confident he could handle a petty thief on the prowl for some loose change—and there couldn’t be anything else worth stealing from Second Chance’s run-down rooms.
It took a moment or two for his eyes to adjust to the glaring fluorescents, and less than a moment for his body to react with a carnal reflex that had everything to do with primal instinct and nothing to do with conscious thought.
A pair of startled topaz eyes stared up at him from behind an ugly cube of furniture he hoped wouldn’t turn out to be his desk. Hair the colour of malt whiskey swirled around smooth bare shoulders. Her lips pouted as if she was about to blow him a kiss—and her gorgeous legs were startlingly displayed from golden thighs to peach-painted toenails on the cluttered desktop in front of him.
Laced with an accent that was part California and all woman, her throaty voice ramped up the tension that pulled his muscles taut. A lick of heat stroked his groin. “You seem to have the advantage,” he growled. “Who the hell are you?”
Her slender fingers hovered over a paperweight he recognised from painful hours spent pouring his heart out to Armand during his long ago stint in juvie. He stepped closer, crowding her with his bulk. “Don’t even think about it.”
The intensity of his sexual response tugged at his gut. But the alarm in her eyes made him want to run his hand down her cheek in the same way he might soothe one of the Mustangs on his ranch back home. It didn’t take long to arrest the impulse.
He remembered how tender he’d felt towards his ex-wife when she’d told him she was pregnant—and how his delight at the idea of fatherhood had evaporated when she’d added the enlightening fact that the baby she was carrying belonged to someone else, someone who could trace his forebears right back to the damn Mayflower, according to Ginny. “You don’t even know who your father is, Nathan,” she’d said cuttingly.
Feeling tender towards women was something he’d shied away from ever since. He preferred dates who knew the score—fine wines, expensive gifts and sex that was fun but without commitment. That way nobody got hurt. He’d been a lot of places in his life and enjoyed most of them. But marriage wasn’t a trip he intended to take again.
He reached low, closing his fingers around the smooth glass weight with its insect trapped grotesquely inside. A drift of air warmed his knuckles as his sexy trespasser snatched her hand away.
The pupils in her marvellous eyes were as huge and glossy black as a night-prowling cat’s. “You…you’re not supposed to be here for another ten days—”
“If you’re Janet McKenzie—” Please, God, don’t let this be the PA he’d inherited from Armand. He wondered if she’d signed an employment contract and whether it was watertight. He flicked a glance around the cramped room littered with boxes and papers. “—I e-mailed you ten days ago detailing my change of plans. I let you know I’d arrive in New Zealand at the beginning of the month instead of mid-December.”
Her hand drifted defensively across the swell of breasts barely covered by a band of white knit fabric. A ribbon-width red skirt rode low on her hips, leaving her thighs naked. Gleaming from a neat navel dead centre of a midriff tanned to just the sun-kissed shade he liked, a gold stud winked in the light.
Although those tawny eyes stirred something hot and dangerous deep inside him, it seemed smarter to switch his focus in their direction, and away from the band of scarlet material that had no right to call itself a skirt. “—as I recall, you e-mailed me back, told me there’d been some admin problems, nothing you couldn’t handle, and you looked forward to meeting me.”
Reined-in testosterone roughened his voice. The brief, inexplicable charge of recognition didn’t help. She wasn’t a woman a man would forget in a hurry, but a quick flick through his mental filing cabinet didn’t bring anyone to light.
The last thing he needed was a pocket dynamo from his past complicating what he’d determined would be a quick, clean operation. Not exactly slash and burn, but if heads did have to roll, he accepted his responsibility as axe man.
It probably wasn’t PC, he told himself irritably, but he’d envisioned someone older and maybe chubbier. He and Janet McKenzie would have to do some serious work together to get Second Chance back on track. It would have been less taxing on his libido to work with the matronly 2IC he’d imagined, than the piece of eye candy playing secretary in the black executive chair way past its use-by date.
She might be an ornamental fixture around the office, but if the evidence all around him was anything to go by, her organisational skills were nonexistent. Maybe she thought a short skirt and a figure that curved in all the right places made up for inefficiency. Not in his book, they didn’t.
He sized her up with narrowed eyes. “And if you’re not Janet McKenzie, or the janitor…,” he let the disbelief ice up his voice, “or any other key holder at Second Chance, then you’re trespassing, sugar.”