Back in Europe now to meet one of my very first Wattpad friends: Leigh W Stuart, the American who's trying to survive Switzerland. Her words, not mine. (What? Don't tell me Europeans are weird now... ok, maybe we're a little. But so are you. We're all weird. Never mind.)
If memory doesn't fail me, it was on a lazy Sunday morning back in April, when the kids were still sleeping. I was all hesitant, not knowing if I should post my first story or not, and she gave me that final push: "oh, just go for it. We're all here to let you know if it sucks or not!" No, these are not her words now, she was much kinder. And very supportive during the whole writing and posting process. She's definitely one of my gals!
Leigh writes mostly Paranormal Fiction and Horror, but she's also revealing a romantic (and bold) side now: Two Ticktets to Paradise is her first incursion into Adult Contemporary Romance and, trust me, she rocks!
In five words, who is Leigh?
(Ok, I’m being worse than Twitter. You can expand, if you wish…)
Five words only? Hmmmm.... Mother, reader, traveler, woman, wife, writer! Well, almost five! If only I could have mentioned wine or rum drinks, too. Darn it.
Have you always written? What do you like best about it?
I’ve written off and on since I was young. I decided I wanted to be an author when I was six, but convinced myself that it wasn’t a reasonable career goal by the time I went to college. I came back to my dream (I misspelled dream just then and wrote cream, maybe there’s a hidden message in that?) after I was married and felt the need to tell my own stories. I love bringing my characters to life.
Who are your favourite authors / influences?
There are many, but here goes for a mix of authors and books in no particular order: Kurt Vonnegut, 1984, Toni Morrison, The Dragonlance Chronicles, Anne of Green Gables, Peppermints in the Parlor, Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Rose, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Misery, Jane Austen, The Princess Bride, and Margaret Atwood – to name a few!
You’re such a terrific and versatile writer: your book Ferocious creeps me out and I’m hooked on Two Tickets to Paradise. Horror/Paranormal vs ChickLit/Romance. Where do you feel most comfortable?
Probably in between in the realm of fantasy! There are strong fantasy elements in both the books you’ve mentioned, most obviously the visions and ghost-like figures who appear in Ferocious, but there is some escapism fantasy in the romance, too.
How did the idea for Ferocious come to you?
All my stories are like cheese. I start with something small, usually a few characters or a strange setting and some feelings. Then I let my ideas sit in the back of my mind for long time. Ferocious began as an image of a woman with white hair who was screaming and chasing a teenager through dark woods. I’m not sure if this exact image will make it into the story, but that was the beginning.
What is the easiest and hardest thing about writing?
The easiest thing is getting lost in my dreams and ideas. The hardest is coming back to reality and making them as wonderful on the page as in my head!
What is your message for those who would like start writing?
It would probably be similar to what I told you! Don’t be afraid, just try and see what happens. You’ll most likely surprise yourself!
Finally, how does it feel to be an American living in Europe?
It’s frustrating, wonderful, fun, annoying and crazy at different times. I love it here, but I have periods when I wish I could live in Missouri again or at least be closer to my family. But there are many, many days that I love Switzerland and I wouldn’t trade it for anywhere else in the world. Except for Hawaii, where we lived for a year when our son was a toddler and was afraid of the ocean…
Thanks, Leigh, for taking the time to answer my questions. And for everything else too! ;-) Wishing you the very best for your writing career.
You can also find Leigh on WATTPAD, FACEBOOK and TWITTER.