I’m thrilled to be interviewing Ellis Leigh, author of the Feral Breed series, and The Gathering series. I’ve been fortunate enough to have read several of the stories in both of these series, and I have to admit, I’m hooked.
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Hi Ellis, thank you for agreeing to this interview.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, and your background?
Hi! I’m Ellis, typical Midwesterner with a spouse, a couple of kids, and a dog who rules the roost. Most of the time. I’m a project manager by day though I’ve worked in a few different fields including things like custom framing, waitressing, and carpet sales. I stopped writing fiction sometime after college but dove back in when I discovered what fanfiction was. Five years later, I published my first book and the rest of the story is…still being told.
When you’re not writing or doing work related to writing, what do you do that’s fun and just for you?
Play with my daughters. If I’m not doing that and it’s just “me” time, I watch bad reality TV. Kardashians, Gypsy Sisters, tow-truck drivers on dangerous roads, bounty hunters, burger shop owners…if it’s about a life I have no experience with, I want to know about it.
What type of author would you categorize yourself as, a plotter (one who plots the story from beginning to end), or a pantser (one who lets the story take shape without meticulous planning)?
A plantser. Really. I should trademark that term. I can’t fully pants or the story tends to go off the rails and never get where it needs to go. I have to have some kind of structure before I begin but not too much. My characters have to have room to breathe and change as the story builds. I tend to plot out my beats (tension, pinch points, dark moment) in a simple format—one to three sentences per chapter, super vague info to keep me moving forward. “They go bowling. Funny banter about rented shoes. He needs to be looking at her arse the whole time. Kiss when they get home.” See? Simple. The characters fill in the rest as we go.
Are you planning to attend any reader conferences in the next year? If so, which ones?
In 2016, I’ll be at Romance Times in Las Vegas, Great Lakes Authorpalooza in Battle Creek, MI (September), and Indies of Romance in Fort Wayne, IN (April). I may add on one or two more, but between work and kids and writing, events are hard for me to get to. There’s an Events category on my website where you can find all that information.
Working in collaboration with other authors is always a challenge all on its own. What advice would you give to someone wanting to be a part of or organizing a boxed set with other authors?
Prepare for mistakes, put a lot of time up front in your planning, and give yourself enough flexibility at the end to keep everyone on board. Life happens, deadlines are missed, people get sick—keep your eye on the larger picture instead of a single deadline, and you’ll do fine.
What do you do when your well of inspiration runs dry to get it flowing again?
That…never happens to me. *knocks on ALL THE WOOD* At this point, my problem is finding time to write the ideas I have, not searching for new ones. Inspiration hits me at the strangest times, but I write down my idea in my planner and keep moving. If I can write up a simple plot, it becomes a potential project.
We all know that in order to be a successful author, a great deal of time has to go toward self-promotion. What is your favorite type of promotion, and why?
I love talking with my readers about their lives. That to me is the best part of this job. From daily stuff to bigger life events, I love that they include me in their world.
What are some challenges you’ve had to overcome to become a successful author? Is writing easier, or harder than you expected it would be?
Losing sleep. Finding time. Balancing work and writing work and life in general. It’s such a struggle sometimes to keep going at the pace I’ve set. That’s been the hardest lesson—realizing I can’t do everything I want to and accepting that as okay.
Claiming His Desire is coming out later this summer. Can you tell us a little bit about the hero, an heroine? What is it about them that will draw us into their story?
Well, readers of the Feral breed series have met Jameson a time or two. He’s one of my favorite heroes ever. To be honest, and I’ve been waiting to write his story since the idea came to me. There’s something so broken in him, so tortured. But when he loves, he loves big and hard. Which sounds dirty…and probably should. Aiofe is in the same boat, a little broken and lost, though she came out of nowhere. This was not the pairing I had planned, but it works perfectly. Together, they have chemistry that explodes from the first time they meet…which is really the second time. But we’ll get to that. Claiming His desire is about second chances, death and life and coming through it all. It’s also the final novel in the current series, so there’s a LOT going on.
And now before you go, how about a snippet from one of your books that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us?
Oooh, okay. I have a super-secret project for August that I can’t even tell you about, but it’s going to be amazing! My reader group helped me name it, and I’ve been writing like a madwoman to get it done. Here’s a super tiny sneak peek at Bearly Dreaming.
For the first time, he approached me. Slow and direct, a fire glowing in his eyes that made my knees turn to jelly. Animalistic almost, he crept forward, stalking me as his prey. The energy between us felt different somehow, the tension in the room not from frustration or fear. Something else…something warmer. Something heated and desirous. Something needful.
He stopped directly in front of me, the scent of him filling me, making me shiver. I wanted to touch him so badly. Wanted to feel him under my fingers, wanted to know what his body felt like against my body.
Slowly, eyes on mine, he raised his hand, bringing it to my face, running the side of one finger down my cheek. And I swear, I swear, I felt a whisper. A slight disturbance that I could actually feel. Just a hint, but enough to make me crave more. To make me yearn.
I leaned into his ghost-like touch, wishing hard to truly feel him. He inched closer, holding my gaze, eyebrows raised in question. And then he mouthed a single word. One that made my heart practically leap out of my chest.
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me, Ellis. I look forward to reading Bearly Dreaming later this summer. For our readers, if you want to check out Ellis’s books (and believe me, you do), you can find her at her home on the web, http://www.ellisleigh.com/, on Twitter, @ellis_writes, and on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/ellisleighwrites. Oh, and you can find her amazing books on Amazon.