Saturday, December 6, 2014

Spotlight on Multi-Published Romance Author Leigh Michaels.....

Welcome to an Interview with Multi-Published Romance Author  Leigh Michaels....

Hello-Hello and how are you today? I'm back and hope everyone is doing well and happy! Welcome back to my blog where I try to share whatever I think may interest you. Today I interview a fellow author. And with me this time is Multi published romance author, Leigh Michaels.

Leigh Michaels ( is the award-winning author of more than 100 books, including Regency romances, contemporary romances, and non-fiction. Six of her books have been finalists in the Romance Writers of America RITA contest, and more than 35 million copies of her books are in print in 25 languages and 120 countries. She is also the author of On Writing Romance, and teaches romance writing online at Gotham Writers’ Workshop where we first met.

Without further ado, lets us begin. …
Photo of Leigh at a conference. 

SJ: You’re a romance writer, Leigh, but actually studied journalism at Drake University. How on earth did you transition from one to the other? What transpired that made you switch?
Leigh: I always knew I wanted to be a writer, but I was fond of the idea of having a roof over my head. I figured I could work at a newspaper or magazine and write on the side. Instead I ended up in radio and public relations and as a librarian. My first editor told me I wrote “lovely clear prose” that translated easily, and that helped to explain my success in overseas markets. I credit my journalism training– it taught me to write precisely, to write fast, and to meet deadlines.

SJ: You’ve written over 100 books including romance and non-fiction: Where do you continue to get your ideas after so many stories?
Leigh: I almost always start developing a story with a problem – an interesting situation that’s going to put pressure on my main character – and then I figure out what kind of person would be most affected by that problem. Why is it important? How would they react? Sometimes it can be as simple as reading a snippet in a newspaper, but that’s only the germ of an idea. It’s the characters, and why this problem is so all-encompassing to them, that make the story special.

SJ: Now this one will cause you to think…of all the books you’ve written, is there one that stands out as your favorite to write and why?
Leigh:  Oh, actually that’s easy. My all-time favorite book is my runway bride book – Backwards Honeymoon. I’d been thinking about that story for a year, but one morning I woke up knowing exactly who the heroine was and why she was running away from her wedding, exactly who the hero was, what put him in her path and why he was willing to help her run away,  and pretty much how their story unfolded. I wrote that entire book in 17 days, and my editor didn’t change a word. (What’s not to like about that?)

SJ: What do you love most about being a writer? Least?
Leigh:  I love that writing allows me to live multiple lives – I can, through my characters, have many different jobs, live in different places and even different eras, and follow different lifestyles. Being an author means I never really have to grow up. 

What I like least is the pressures of a writing career – things like deadlines and the demands of marketing and promotion.

SJ: What one writer inspired you most and how?
Leigh: Georgette Heyer. I always enjoyed reading her Regency romances, long before I started writing historicals. I loved the humorous twists and I loved her heroes – and I think all of my books, even the contemporaries, have a similar flavor and sense of humor. I still go back to Georgette Heyer every year or two and reread my favorites.

SJ: If you could give just one piece of important writing advice to an aspiring writer, what would it be?
Leigh: Stick to it. In the classes I teach, I see a lot of people who have talent – but they never make it because they give up when the first book doesn’t get published. I see people who achieve moderate success but don’t reach their full potential because they don’t challenge themselves to make each story better than the one before.

SJ: In closing, Leigh, what is a favorite book you enjoyed reading and would recommend without hesitation? Why?
Leigh: Oooh, this is hard. I’ll settle for sharing a book that I’ve just finished and really enjoyed – The Unquiet Bones by Mel Starr. It’s the first book of a series set in 1365 in and around Oxford, England – about a young surgeon who gets drawn into trying to solve murders. If it was on television they’d call it CSI: Medieval!

SJ: Thank you, Leigh so much for your time and allowing me to take some time out of your busy schedule and interview you about your writing career and your latest historical novel: Ruining the Rake.

Follow news about Leigh at her website: 

Her latest release, Ruining the Rake is a new Regency romance novella and here is a synopsis: 
                                                    A desperate young lady…

When Elinor’s guardian arranges her marriage to an elderly merchant interested only in her society connections, she will do anything to sabotage the wedding – even if it means ruining herself by running off with another man.

A gentleman rake…

Who could be a better choice for a woman who needs ruining than a man so notorious that all of London calls him Lord Rake?

A straightforward bargain…

But when their arrangement goes awry, saving Elinor may mean ruining the rake! 

And before we close this interview, Leigh would like to share an excerpt for you to enjoy: 

As Gus descended the stairs on his way to breakfast, a commotion at the front door drew his attention. One of the footmen appeared to be attempting to block the entrance as he remonstrated with a caller – certainly an odd circumstance. If it wasn’t the master of the house who was the object of the call, the visitor should have used the servants’ entrance instead. Gus himself was expecting no visitors, and anyone who had the temerity to call on him at this hour would be such an intimate friend that he would be admitted without question.

The butler hurried toward the door, and Gus’s eyebrows rose. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen old Feather take anything but a slow and deliberate pace. The footman moved aside, deferring to the butler. Beyond him, Gus caught a glimpse of a slight figure draped in an all-concealing dark gray cloak, standing just inside the door.

Gads! Were the determined ladies of the marriage mart pursuing their quarry even into a gentleman’s own home these days? Or was this some new sort of wager among the bored young women of the ton, to beard Lord Rake in his own den? Last night, there had been those two young ladies prowling around the folly as if they were seeking prey...

“I have come to see Lord Rackham,” the visitor said clearly.

Definitely a lady, judging by the accent – though the timbre of her voice was lower and richer than he had expected, not the high-pitched, giggly prattle of the simpering debs whom he avoided at all costs.

Intrigued, he moved closer.

“My business is my own,” she said firmly, obviously in answer to a question Gus hadn’t heard. “My errand is personal, and I shall speak of it only to his lordship. Please tell Lord Rake a lady wishes to see him.”

“A lady? Not hardly,” the footman breathed with a smirk – until his gaze slid away from the caller and landed on Gus. Instantly, the servant straightened back to attention, displaying the same wooden expression normally found only on a nutcracker.

With the servant reminded of his place, Gus stopped glaring at him and turned his attention back to the gray-clad figure. The cloak enveloped her entire body, and the deep hood was drawn up till it concealed her face. There was nothing he could see about her except her height – or lack of it; he estimated the top of her head would come only to his chin. But her voice...

 Gus concluded this was not a woman he’d met before, because he would have remembered her voice. He couldn’t possibly have forgotten any woman who could sound so soft, so gentle, and so fiendishly determined – all at the same time.

Regardless of what the footman so obviously thought, Lord Rake had never seduced this female.

Or perhaps it was more accurate to say he hadn’t seduced her yet. The day was young and he had no other plans, and suddenly Gus felt like whistling.

“Now, Feather,” he said gently. “Surely we must not allow a lady to stand on the doorstep where any chance passerby might see.” He stepped forward.

The lady turned to face him and curtsied, and for an instant the shapeless, dull-colored cloak parted and Gus was rewarded with a brief glimpse of a pale muslin skirt and a slender ankle.

He swept a magnificent bow. “Do come in, my dear. I am Rackham – or perhaps I should say, I am Lord Rake. Will you come with me to my library, and tell me what I may do for you?”

He held out a hand, and though she hesitated for an instant, the lady laid her gloved fingers in his and let him lead her across the marble-floored entrance hall. The servants melted away, and as Gus shut the library door, closing them in together, she pushed back the deep hood of the cloak that all this time had shadowed and hidden her face.

He turned to inspect his prize – and sucked in a stunned breath, for this young woman was familiar after all. “You were at Vauxhall last night, at the folly. What the devil are you doing in my house?”

And she said, in her gentle and soft and very determined voice, “I want to run away with you.”     

Ruining the Rake is available in both e-book and print available from online retailers:

Until next month....stay safe. Smile. Be happy. Show compassion. Be nice to others. Pass it along...
S. J. Francis
 In Shattered Lies: "It's All About Family."  Coming in 2015 from Black Opal Books.
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