Melinda Leigh is a fully recovered banker. A life-long lover of books, she started writing when her youngest child entered first grade as a way to preserve her sanity. in 2007, she joined Romance Writers of America, learned a few things about writing a book, and decided the process was way more fun than analyzing financial statements. It was time to get serious about making her hobby a career. She began submitting her work in 2008. In 2009 she signed with an agent, who sold Melinda’s debut romantic suspense novel, SHE CAN RUN, in 2010 to Montlake Romance.
Melinda is also an avid martial artist. She holds a 2nd degree black belt in Kenpo Karate, studies Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and teaches women’s self-defense. She lives in a messy house in the suburbs with her husband, two teenagers, a couple of dogs and one neurotic cat with an inexplicable fear of ceiling fans. With such a pleasant life, she has no explanation for the sometimes dark and disturbing nature of her imagination
To find out more about Melinda and her books you can connect with her online:
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Melinda: My latest release is SHE CAN SCREAM. The story came from my experience teaching women’s self defense. Every day I watch the news or surf the Internet I see story after story of women attacked, raped, and/or murdered. It’s a global crisis.
In one moment, high school teacher and single mother Brooke Davenport interrupts a vicious assault, saves a young woman’s life, and attracts the attention of a serial killer.
Sixteen years ago, Brooke lost her roommate to a brutal murder. Now she teaches women’s self-defense, still trying to heal from the guilt and grief that plague her. Convinced the predator knows his victims and is stalking his prey online, she is determined to find him before he strikes again. Her brother’s friend, Luke has the computer expertise to help. But Brooke’s unexpected desire for Luke complicates her investigation, and her fixation with the case provokes a deadly reaction from the killer.
Injured in terrorist bombing overseas, computer expert Luke Holloway is still haunted by flashbacks of his young assistant’s death in the explosion. But Luke can’t refuse the request of a deployed friend to look after his sister, Brooke. Taking on responsibility for Brooke’s safety threatens Luke’s tenuous recovery, especially after he develops feelings for her that transcend a promise to a friend. When Brooke saves a young girl from a brutal assault and becomes a killer’s obsession, Luke vows to protect her at all costs.
Jen: Are you a plotter or pantster?
Melinda: My books are heavily plotted. That said, I have learned (the hard way) to be flexible about my plans for a book. Sometimes, the characters think of something better the story progresses. For example, Midnight Sacrifice had a completely different end on the plot board. The story, and its final end, evolved during the writing process.
Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
Melinda: I prefer to get my fresh pages written in the morning while the kids are at school. I have two teenagers with busy schedules that often usurp my late afternoons. Most nights I go back to work in the evening to write bogs, edit, or take care of administrative tasks. If I haven’t made my word count for the day, I’ll stay up until it’s done. Some days the words and story flow more easily than others. Last night I wrote until midnight. Today I finished my writing at 2 p.m.
Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors?
Melinda: That’s a really tough question. There are so many fabulous authors to choose from! But the next few books on my TBR are from Kendra Elliot, Harlen Coben, and Lisa Gardner.
Jen: What are you reading now?
Melinda: I’m lucky enough to have a copy of Kendra Elliot’s January release, Alone. I’m so excited to start it this week.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Melinda: The 4th book in the She Can series, SHE CAN HIDE, releases in March 2014. I’m also working on a novella for that series. My current major work-in-process does not have a name yet, but it stars Conor Sullivan of the Midnight Novels.