Jen: Today we welcome Melinda Leigh to Romancing the Book as she blog tour makes a stop with us. Melinda, please share a short bio with us.
Melinda: Melinda Leigh is a fully recovered banker, wife, mom, lifelong dog lover, and second degree black belt in kenpo karate. She is a 2012 Thriller Award nominee and the bestselling author of romantic suspense novels. Her next book, She Can Scream, releases in September 2013.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Melinda: The plot of Midnight Sacrifice was born during a documentary about Stonehenge. Recent archeological digs have indicated that perhaps the Druids performed human sacrifices at the site. What’s more terrifying than a human sacrifice and a killer who believes his “work” is critical? Not much, right? My imagination started cranking out scary scenarios. I don’t have the expertise to write historical fiction, so I brought my ideas into the present.
One by one, people are mysteriously disappearing from a small Maine town.
Four months ago, a ruthless murderer killed two people and kidnapped three more, including Danny Sullivan’s sister, who barely escaped. Unfortunately so did the killer, vanishing without a trace into the vast wilderness. When the police fail to find his sister’s captor, Danny returns to Maine to hunt him down.
He begins his search with another survivor, bed and breakfast owner Mandy Brown, but her refusal to cooperate raises Danny’s suspicions. What is the beautiful innkeeper hiding?
Mandy Brown has a secret. But sexy Danny Sullivan, his relentless questions, and the desire that simmers between them threaten to expose the truth. A revelation that puts her family in danger. As more people disappear, it becomes clear the killer is planning another ritual…and that he’s circling in on Mandy.
Jen: Are you a plotter or pantster?
Melinda: I’m a combination of the two. I plot out the most significant parts of the book, but I’ve found it’s also necessary to remain flexible and allow the plot to change and grow while I write. As the characters and story develop, the plot often takes unexpected twists and turns. I used to write a detailed synopsis before I began the story. Now I use a magnetic board and keep my plot points on note cards. This enables me to substitute or move cards as I progress. A flexible plotting system becomes more important when deadlines are tighter, and I don’t have the luxury of unlimited time for rewriting.
Jen: Describe your writing in 3 words.
Melinda: Carefully controlled chaos
Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
Melinda: I prefer to write in my office while the house is quiet, but life sometimes intrudes on my routine. I have 2 teenagers and other family members who often need me. One of the best things about being a writer is the flexibility to be available if necessary. I’ve written in my car outside guitar lessons, in waiting rooms, hospital hallways and cafeterias. Since shopping is about as attractive to me as a root canal, I’ve even taken my laptop to the mall and written in the food court while my daughter and her friends shopped.
Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Melinda: Midnight Sacrifice required a vast amount of research, especially as the plot grew more and more complicated. Topics include Celtic rituals, the Druids, insomnia, inn-keeping, post-traumatic stress disorder, mental illness, police procedure, forensics, survival training, and many more. Thankfully, I’m a geek at heart and love research. I enjoy it too much, in fact, and often have tons of notes that I’ll never use. On my first pass through my rough drafts, I usually have to delete paragraph upon paragraph of information that is no interest to anyone but me.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Melinda: My next release is She Can Scream (September 2013). Self-defense instructor Brooke Davenport stops a brutal assault. Her obsession with finding the predator responsible provokes an equally obsessive response from the killer. My current work-in process is She Can Hide (winter 2014?). After that, who knows? Conor Sullivan from the Midnight novels is clamoring for my attention. I’d love to write his story.
Blog Tour Schedule
4/12 – Cocktails and Books
4/13 – Book Monster Reviews | Literal Addiction
4/14 – Curling Up with a Good Book
4/15 – Books, Books and More Books
4/16 – Books-N-Kisses
4/17 – United by Books
4/18 – Romancing the Book
4/19 – Salacious Reads
4/20 – Scenes From A Chaotic Mind
4/21 – Romance Junkies
4/22 – Book Lovin’ Mamas
4/23 – The Reading Café
4/24 – Riverina Romantics
4/25 – The Jeep Diva
4/26 – My Secret Romance
4/27 – Reading Between The Wines
4/30 – Beach Bum Reads
5/01 – Paranormal Haven
5/04 – Alexx Mom Cat’s Gateway