Welcome, Everyone! I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving. I'm incredibly excited to have bestselling romantic suspense author, Melinda Leigh, with me for this month's Creating the WRITE Reality's Author Spotlight! I met Melinda a few years ago at the Create Something Magical Conference. She is a fellow member of the Liberty States Writers Group, and one of the most genuinely nice, down-to-earth authors I've met through the group. In addition to that, she also happens to be one the hottest Romantic Suspense authors on Amazon.
Melinda, I want to start by congratulating you! Tracks of Her Tears is at #58 in PAID Kindle books, and #1 & #2 in your other categories. My review is below, and I can definitely say: “Well deserved!”
So people, it's BLACK FRIDAY, if you're looking for gifts this season, consider Melinda's novella, Tracks of her Tears, set a few days before Christmas in a small Oregon town. Or try any of her other novels or novellas (links at the bottom).
I have some questions for Melinda, so let's get started…
I love the covers of your Rogue Novella series! How exciting to see this collaboration with Kendra Elliott… Can you tell us a little bit about the series? What inspired you? How did that collaboration / packaging come together? Any tips for making something like that work?
[ML] The Rogue Novellas is a romantic suspense series about two sisters who live in the small town of Solitude, Oregon, where keeping a secret can be murder.
Kendra and I are friends as well as coauthors on the Rogue novellas. We have similar work styles. Each of us knows the other is deadline driven and will get the job done on time. We also found that a detailed outline and writing schedule are an absolutely necessities when writing a joint project.
On a Kindle Love Stories video that I saw recently, your dog Bandit is featured. I’m also a mom of a rescue dog, so I’m a huge sucker for canine characters in books. Tell us about Bandit’s literary debut. Also, you mentioned in the video that you were holding a contest to choose another dog to be featured in an upcoming book. Has it come out? Which dog did you choose? Quirks?
[ML] Bandit stars in two of the She Can books, She Can Tell and She Can Kill, which releases in December 2015. He is a small dog with a huge personality. He makes me laugh so many times in real life I just had to include him in a book.
AnnaBelle the golden retriever in Hour of Need and Minutes to Kill is a character created from the dog-character naming contest. She is loyal and sweet and the best friend of six-year-old Carson Barrett.
Given you are an accomplished martial artist, what’s your best advise for writing a fight scene?
[ML] Keep it simple or consult with an expert to make sure your scene is plausible. I often choreograph fight scenes on the mat to ensure the action makes sense. Also, know your character and his/her capabilities.
What's your process? How long on does it take you to write a full-length novel?
[ML] I need about four months to write a full-length novel. Then I spend another month revising with my editor.
If you had all the time in the world, and you could choose another genre, is there a story you are dying to write outside of Romantic Suspense?
[ML] I love romantic suspense, but I could also write straight suspense or some type of humorous fiction, perhaps a romantic comedy. I’ve also considered writing a historical fiction novel. I’m not afraid to tackle a new challenge. (Although there’s no guarantee someone won’t die no matter what I write…)
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing new writers today? What do you feel is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an author?
The temptation to self-publish before a book is ready. My first book, She Can Run, went through five complete rewrites before it was sold. It would have been far easier to simply self-publish it at any time during that two and a half year process. But the book wouldn’t have been ready, and sales would likely have reflected its immaturity. I finished the original draft for She Can Run 2007. The book didn’t sell until 2010 and wasn’t published until 2011. Considering how steep my leaving curve was, I’m glad I resisted the temptation.
What is your idea of a perfect romance in a novel?
[ML] For me a perfect romance isn’t full of flowery dialogue. Actions speak louder than words. For example, one of the most romantic things my husband has ever done was cook for my sick dog. When my beloved collie was dying, he cooked her pot roasts and chickens and spent six months hand feeding her. We’ve been married for twenty-one years, and he is still my best friend.
What do you find to be some of the biggest misconceptions about the romance genre?
[ML] I honestly don’t worry about this at all.
What do you love most about being an author?
[ML] I love everything about being an author.
What are the top three pieces of advice you would give other authors?
[ML] Be patient. Write every day, even when you don’t want to. Read.
What’s next for you, Melinda?
[ML] I’m finishing edits on the third book in the Scarlet Falls series, Seconds to Live. Then I can’t wait to get started on my next project: the fourth Midnight novel.
In my next novel, my heroine is a Romantic Suspense author, and the hero brings her a steaming bowl of homemade Mac ‘n Cheese as she’s struggling to finish her book. Can you remember the best mac ‘n cheese you’ve ever had? Recommended recipe?
[ML] My husband does all the cooking. I’m not a fussy eater. I like everything I didn’t have to prepare. (No, you can’t have him.)
Favorite dog breed?
[ML] By far, I love mutts. I have two rescue dogs: Bandit, a spaniel-dachshund mix, and Roxy, a pocket pittie we adopted last year. There is nothing better than turning a damaged dog’s life around and giving it a loving home. If you’re thinking about adding a furry friend to your family, please consider a rescue![LG] I already have one 🙂 We rescued my whippet Nevada right before Christmas, in 2009. Melinda, thanks so much for stopping by, and have a fabulous holiday season!
In the first thrilling Rogue Winter Novella, sleepy little Solitude, Oregon, wakes up to another deadly threat.
County investigator Seth Harding intends to spend the holidays with his newly reconciled family, but a few days before Christmas, a homicide thwarts his plan. Seth arrives at the scene and makes a painful discovery: the victim is his brother-in-law’s girlfriend. Her apartment has been ransacked and her toddler left motherless. To make matters worse, Seth’s brother-in-law, Bruce, is missing. With Solitude locked in a rare, deadly deep freeze and the temperature plummeting, the residents launch a desperate search.
Seth calls his wife, social worker Carly Taylor, to take the case so the little girl doesn’t get lost in the foster care system. With the holidays near, Carly brings the child home with them to celebrate Christmas. But when the Taylor farm is also trashed, Seth and Carly must race against time—and against a paralyzing winter storm—to find Bruce and catch a killer in the first pulse-pounding sequel to the Rogue River Novellas.
5 STARS *****
There are many things that make this novella an addictive read, but the biggest in my opinion, is an emotional connection to the characters. This is my first Rogue River read, so I came in with no history of this small Oregon town, or the characters. There is such a flawless balance between plot and characterization, that story swept me up and kept me reading way past my bedtime. Melinda Leigh is a masterful story teller, and this novella is a delightful snack-size mystery that will leave you wanting more. The next book is written by Kendra Elliot, which I will give a try. I will also be sure to add more of this series to my Kindle.
Melinda Leigh is a fully recovered banker. A life-long lover of books, she started writing as a way to preserve her sanity while raising her kids. Over the next few years, she learned a few things about writing a book and decided the process was way more fun than analyzing financial statements. Melinda’s debut novel, SHE CAN RUN, was nominated for Best First Novel by the International Thriller Writers. Her bestselling books have been nominated for the Daphne du Maurier Award three times.
Melinda holds a 2nd degree belt in Kenpo Karate. She’s dabbled in Arnis stick fighting, studied Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and taught women’s self-defense. She lives in a messy house in the suburbs with her husband, two kids, two rescue dogs and two shelter cats who clearly run the show. With such a pleasant life, she has no explanation for the sometimes dark and disturbing nature of her imagination. Find out more about Melinda by visiting www.melindaleighauthor.com
Book 1, She Can Run: http://amzn.com/B0053TIB6I
Book 2, She Can Tell: http://amzn.com/B00818J18A
Book 3, She Can Scream: http://amzn.com/B00BI2O1KO
Book 4, She Can Hide: http://amzn.com/B00E1Q55PO
Book 5, He Can Fall (Short Story): http://amzn.com/B00IGGZ4LU
Book 6, She Can Kill: http://amzn.com/B00XXYGNJC
Book 1, On Her Father’s Grave (Elliot): http://amzn.com/B00LNN17M8
Book 2, Gone to Her Grave (Leigh): http://amzn.com/B00LOPDL5G
Book 3, Her Grave Secrets (Elliot): http://amzn.com/B00LV4HZFM
Book 4, Walking on Her Grave (Leigh): http://amzn.com/B00MPTAG2Q