Jen: Readers, please help we welcome Lesli Richardson to Book Talk this week. Lesli, will you please share a short bio with us?
Lesli: I’m a native Floridian and life-long resident of the state (endangered species) who’s never seen real snow. I’ve been married almost twelve years to the World’s Best Husband (who, ironically, was originally from Ohio), and I have a thirteen year-old son. I’ve done a lot of things in my life, including teaching SCUBA diving, running an automotive machine shop, marina parts department manager, auto parts store manager, quilt store manager, website creation, and I was certified as a master gardener. I can rebuild an engine, stitch a quilt, and plant something that hopefully won’t die. *LOL* I also wrote various articles and columns both for online publications and local newspapers.
The stint at the quilt store, which also sold home embroidery machines, led to me learning how to digitize embroidery designs and teaching the software classes. Which led to me writing software tutorials. Which allowed me to work from home and eventually start focusing on my fiction again. I’d always “played” with my fiction, including being a member of the Internet Writing Workshop, but I didn’t feel I could take time away from my “paying” writing to work on my “play” writing until my husband finally sat me down and encouraged me to start sending out submissions.
I write as both Lesli Richardson and Tymber Dalton, and I’m currently published with Amira Press, Lyrical Press, and Siren-BookStrand. I have over twelve current and contracted releases, including “Love and Brimstone” and “Doggy Style” (Amira), “Out of the Darkness” and “The Reluctant Dom” (Lyrical), and “Cross Country Chaos” and “Love Slave for Two” (Siren-BookStrand). I am the self-proclaimed queen of “dark snark.” *LOL*
Jen: Tell us about your recent or upcoming releases and where they are available.
Lesli: I’ve got the sequels to “Love Slave for Two” and “Trouble Comes in Threes” coming soon to Siren-BookStrand (release dates pending). I also have “Good Will Ghost Hunting: Demon Seed” coming from Lyrical Press in April. Think “Men in Black” meets “Ghost Hunters” with an “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” mythological treatment. Where demons save the earth and are the good guys. It’s the first in a series of at least six books. It’s what I classify as “dark snark paranormal romance.” *LOL*
Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Lesli: I’ve known ever since I was a kid that I wanted to be a writer. As a kid I spent my free time usually either reading or writing fiction, from when I was in my early teens. My high school was next door to a shopping center with a bookstore, and I would frequently not spend all my lunch money so I could save up to buy more books. *LOL*
In high school, I seriously realized I had a true talent for it when my creative writing teacher (who didn’t hand out good grades easily) gave me an A+ for a partial novel I’d written called “Out of the Darkness” (yes, the same one now available from Lyrical Press, although the story has evolved quite a bit since then *LOL*) and told me he wanted to read it when it was published. My first published fiction novel was my vampire romance, “Love and Brimstone,” which came out on 08-08-08 from Lyrical Press. (What a cool date, huh? Same as the opening day of the 2008 Summer Olympics! *LOL*)
Jen: How does your family handle the time that you write? Are they supportive or disruptive?
Lesli: They’re supportive, but sometimes my husband forgets he shouldn’t interrupt me and he’ll do something like come out to the living room and try to tell me about is favorite college team’s latest acquisition and I’ll glare at him and he’ll apologize and go back to his room. *LOL* I told him when he retires in a couple of years that I will be getting that room and he and my son can share the rest of the house.
As far as my overall writing goes, my husband is my biggest supporter and fan, I can honestly say. (My son is far too young to read what I write and he’ll be lucky if I ever let him read it. *LOL*) If it hadn’t been for my husband giving me a gentle nudge to seriously pursue my fiction, I’d still be focused on my software tutorials. I call him the World’s Best Husband for a very good reason. *LOL*
Jen: Describe your writing in three words.
Lesli: Characters. Come. First.
Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
Lesli: Not a strict one. I have “writing” cycles and “editing/promo” cycles. Regardless, I’m usually at the computer at 7 a.m. and there until I stop at the end of the day. (Remember, this IS my “evil day job.” *LOL* I’m a full-time writer.) Sometimes that’s early evening, sometimes it’s 11 p.m.. If I’m in a writing cycle and the story is coming, I keep writing until I’m written out or about to drop from exhaustion. Usually only my dogs or needing a refill on my coffee dislodges me from my chair. *LOL* It’s not uncommon during a writing cycle for me to knock out 5-10k words in a single day, or more. Keep in mind I’m a speed touch typist with a caffeine addiction. *LOL*
Jen: How do you pick the character’s names?
Lesli: Depends on the story. Some stories, they name themselves, or other characters name them for me in the process of writing. For “The Reluctant Dom” I did look up some names so I had some specific meanings behind them. For the “Triple Trouble” series I wanted A-B-C names for the triplet boys that were Scottish in nature. Ironically, it was only after I named vampire hero “Matthias” in my “Love and Brimstone” series that I found out there really was a man named Matthias involved in the Vlad the Impaler mythos in real life. *LOL* That was pretty cool.
Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?
Lesli: Most challenging? Promotion. Seriously. Editing is the second most challenging. To me, writing is the easiest. I don’t get blocked, really, because I’ve got so many irons in the fire at any given time I simply switch projects until the blockage works itself out. Then I’m never losing productivity. I use SuperNotecard for my initial drafts, which makes it easy to drop and drag scenes around or write just a section as it comes to me. Once the manuscript is mostly done, I export to a document and start the editing and clean-up process.
Jen: What’s the most rewarding aspect?
Lesli: When a reader emails me saying they laughed, cried, stayed up all night to finish it, or read it multiple times because they were sad to see it end. I feel honored when readers allow me to monopolize their time like that!
Jen: What did you do to celebrate the sale of your first book?
Lesli: My husband brought flowers home and took me out to dinner.
Jen: Do you have a favorite character or one that you identify most with?
Lesli: Denny, the heroine’s son in “Cross Country Chaos” is one of my favorites. He’s inspired by my son, who was born with spina bifida and is a wheelchair athlete.
Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?
Lesli: I made a real life BDSM, wield-a-whip Dom cry when he read through my manuscript “The Reluctant Dom,” because it was so emotional and so true to life. That’s probably the best compliment I could ever receive, I think.
Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Lesli: I love a wide variety of genres and authors. If I was forced to pick only one, I’d say James Lee Burke because he’s a master of narrative description and honest characters. I think all aspiring writers should read him to learn how to trim where necessary and how to write only what you need. Elmore Leonard is another good one. MaryJanice Davidson is hysterical, I love her stuff. Stephen King, Tim Dorsey, Carl Hiaasen, Randy Wayne White. My current TBR pile is…well, overflowing over the whole house.
Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Lesli: *Snicker.* What’s free time? *LOL* I walk my dogs, spend time with my son and husband, read, and write. Writing is my dream job and my favorite past time. I’d be writing even if I wasn’t published. I love to write. I do enjoy old cars and going to antique engine and tractor shows with my family. But seriously, I like to write. It’s fun. I consider myself beyond lucky and blessed that I’m able to follow my dream and write for a living.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Lesli: I’m working on several series: my vampire romance “Brimstone” series with Amira Press; the “Love Slave for Two,” “Deep Space Mission Corps,” and “Triple Trouble” series for Siren-BookStrand; the “Good Will Ghost Hunting” series and two follow-ups to “The Reluctant Dom” for Lyrical Press. In addition to several other projects floating around in my brain. *LOL* Running out of ideas is never a worry of mine. *LOL*
Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Lesli: What really makes you a character resonate with you, whether they’re a good guy or bad? What really sucks you into a book and holds you there to keep you reading? What is the biggest turn-off in a book that will make you want to throw it against the wall?
Jen: Lesli, thanks so much for being our guest this week. Readers, Lesli is giving one random commenter a $5 e-gift certificate to Lyrical Press. The winner must be 18 years or older. To enter the contest, please answer one of Lesli’s questions, or ask a question of Lesli. The winner will be announced around 5:00 PST pm Thursday, March 26.