Leslie has generously offered to give away one copy of her novel, WIFE GOES ON. To enter, just post a comment in the comment section below. But for now, let's get to the questions!
Tell us about your most recent novel in 25 words or less.
Wife Goes On is the story of four women who have nothing in common besides being in various stages of divorce who find this to be the basis of true friendship. After all, husbands may come and go, but friends are forever. The story has been described as a modern mix of First Wives Club and Sex and the City, with that combination of heartbreak and humor and fun.
When did you first begin writing?
I always wrote, had a silly poem published in a magazine during elementary school, but I never considered writing as a career. I was interested in TV and film and left Ohio for California to go to film school. After the hormones hit, when I proposed to my now ex-husband and had our first child, I realized that having it all was one thing; doing it all was quite another. The travel and long hours of film production weren’t conducive to motherhood – or creativity, for that matter. I kept pages in the drawer when I was on staff as the West Coast manager of a commercial and video production company, then when I went freelance to work on movies, I wrote between projects. Then I read a novel that was a hit and thought that I would have done that story differently, and better. So I gave myself the summer to try it before heading back to the film business, traded a neighbor for babysitting a few days a week, and gave it a shot.
How do you fight writer’s block?
My biggest challenge, as a single mom, is finding those uninterrupted hours to write, so I'm always excited to be writing. That said, when I sit down most days, I backtrack to get into the story mood. I can start in by doing research or working on a different part of the story or someone’s dialogue. Monday’s are almost completely a matter of getting back to where I was Friday. Between my kids and my boyfriend, I’ve given up working on the weekend, so that’s the price you pay to have a good life. ☺ But if I’m really stuck on the story and my outline isn’t giving me the enough direction for the scene, I found it’s waste of time to just sit there and force out bad stuff. If I can get around the guilt of playing hooky and go to the beach or the movies - anything but more family errands - I usually wake up in the middle of the night inspired.
If your book were to become a movie, whom would you cast?
Diane Lane as Diane, Viveca Fox as Annette, Gwyneth Paltrow as Lana and Jessica Simpson as Bonnie.
What is your favorite part of writing?
Being inspired when I least expect it, when my brain does the work for me or when my characters do things that surprise me - but it’s logical and heightens for the story.
What tips would you offer to aspiring writers?
Read!! And remember, you can never fail until you quit.
How do you usually begin your stories—with a character or with a plot?
A character who has a burning question. That drives the plot.
Do a quick character study on yourself: don’t forget to add in the fun stuff, like favorite foods and things you love/hate!
My favorite place, aside from the real ocean, is my office, which is periwinkle blue with a custom made antique white desk with giant files for my work and photographs of my daughters under the table top glass. I have an old couch covered with blue and pink rose fabrics and my French doors look out onto the pool. It’s small, but perfect, with my palm tree drawings and pictures of mermaids. I was a swimmer and grew up in Ohio, so being in California close to the beach is like heaven. And I start with coffee and lots of healthy stuff, but have to have Diet Pepsi and Popcorn to really work. I love frozen yogurt when I watch TV in bed at night. I wear white skirts in the summer and black in the winter and a few bright colors between. I hate Steven King saying that a writer has to write every day. He has someone to do his laundry and grocery shopping. Plus, thinking is even more important than the writing part. Writing is the fun part.
Lana says that when you wear a jacket, you immediately elevate yourself above the crowd. Is this advice that you follow?
Not to be above the crowd, that was Lana talking – she’s a performer. But jackets do add polish and look more professional, so I feel more confident wearing one and have more authority if I’m teaching or speaking. I love a black jacket over a silky blouse and nice jeans and heels. If there were more jackets out there that are good for everyday, I would get them. I actually love to dress up, in dresses since they are more comfy for me than pants, but it’s hard to find casual dresses after summer. To write, I usually I wear soft sweaters and stretchy pants. But my panties have to match or I can’t concentrate at all!
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