Today's Darklight On is... Leisl Leighton.
How did you come to write speculative fiction? What attracted you to the genre?
I fell in love with speculative fiction when I was young. I loved reading gothic horror novels and stories based on mythological creatures of Celtic and Greek legends. I was the girl who watched Doctor Who and The Twilight Zone and Star Trek and The X Files. During my early teens I discovered fantasy books as well and I was hooked: mythology wrapped up in historical settings with the twist of being on different worlds! I couldn’t get enough. Tolkein, Anne McCaffrey, Raymond E Feist, Jani Wurst and many others filled my bookshelves, and they were joined by others with a more paranormal bent – Anne Rice, Barbara Erskine, Nora Roberts and so on. I most love reading series and so when I sat down to write, it was only natural that I gravitate toward the types of books that I love.
Are you a plotter? Pantser? Or somewhere in-between?
I am most definitely a pantser. I love the thrill of sitting down with a scene, an idea, a character in my head and seeing where it takes me. My current novel, Dark Moon, started out with just a scene where a guy knocks over a girl on a ski slope. I thought it was going to be a contemporary romance, but very soon, my characters were exhibiting magical and shapeshifter abilities and I knew the novel was going to be something else entirely. Although, I didn’t know exactly what that was until I finished it and could look back at what my characters had shown me. Writing a series though, I have to have an idea of an overall arc and find the threads that will carry through and hold the series together, so I do have a basic idea of where the series story is heading and some of the main plot points that will happen – although how I get there is still unknown to me.
Do have a favourite of your characters?
My favourite characters are always the ones I’m working on at the moment. When I was writing Killing Me Softly, Daemon and Lexi were my favourites, when I was writing Dark Moon, Skye and Jason were. I’ve just finished writing the next in the Dark Moon series, Healer Moon (which is currently with my editors for appraisal), and when I was writing it, the main characters were my favourite. I’m currently working on two books, the third in the Dark Moon series, Blood Moon, and another WIP, titled Seer’s Blood, so I vacillate between loving the leads in them. I also always have a tendre for my secondary characters too – probably because in the back of my mind, I’m coming up with a story that will be for them.
What is your favourite part of the process of writing?
I love writing the first draft of a story, where I’m just letting inspiration flow through me. It’s freeing and I lose vast swathes of time – luckily my family is there to bring me back from wherever I go. The redrafting is much harder, but there is something wonderful about that too; making sense of what my brain had vomited up in the first draft and trying to wrest it into something special.
What can we expect from Leisl Leighton in the future?
More books in the Dark Moon series and hopefully books in the Seer’s Blood series. I also have a pet project, the first thing I actually ever wrote, which is an urban fantasy paranormal with a strong fairy tale mythological bent. It is currently the overlong very raw draft of a first time writer, but I would love to go back to it and make it into what I always intended it to be. I originally wrote the first 2 books of that series, but got to a point where I realised it was getting too big and complicated for my skill level at that time, and so I put it down and concentrated on learning more about my craft so that I would one day be able to go back and do it justice. I’ve also got some more ideas for some romantic suspense novels.
Who are your favourite authors?
To add to the list above, I’d have to mention Nalini Singh, Anne Gracie, Rachelle Meade, Sherrilyn Kenyon and more recently Cassandra Claire and M.J. Scott.
What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading the latest Anne Gracie (I love her Regency Romances) and then I will be reading MJ Scott’s latest in the Half Light City series.
Do you have a favourite spec fiction movie or TV series?
How can I pick just one? I am a SyFy channel junkie. On my shelves I have all the Buffy The Vampire Slayer series (this was my first ‘couldn’t miss an episode’ series) and Angel, Babylon 5, Stargate SG1 and Atlantis, the Star Trek movies, Firefly, Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica, True Blood, Sanctuary, Once Upon a Time, The Vampire Diaries, all the Harry Potters, Twilights, Hunger Games, Game of Thrones, Torchwood and Teen Wolf. Most recently I’ve really enjoyed on TV Orphan Black, Continuum, Haven and Sleepy Hollow. My son and I are also big fans of all the Marvel movies, especially the X-Men (we’re watching one while I write this).
Do you have advice for emerging writers?
Keep working on your craft and write what you love. If you do those two things and just keep persisting, you will eventually end up with something to be proud of that others will see something special in too.
Dark Moon blurb:
Lately, Skye Collins has been unable to shake the feeling that she's being watched. After a lifetime spent hiding her true nature, she knows that any unusual attention is something to be wary of. And the only attention she's been receiving lately is from the intense and attractive Jason McVale.
Jason claims to know things about Skye that can't be true, and it's obvious he's hiding secrets of his own. Yet despite herself, Skye can't resist the attraction between them, and her surrender will set in motion a chain of events that will have consequences for everyone she holds dear.
Gradually, Jason convinces Skye that she has to trust him if she is to solve the riddle of her past and learn the truth about her power. But believing Jason means that her entire life has been based on a lie.
As her enemies gather strength and the danger increases, Skye is forced to accept who she really is. Will she risk everything and fight for those she loves? Or save herself and let them be destroyed by the forces of darkness?
About the Author:
Leisl is a tall red head with an overly large imagination. As a child, she identified strongly with Anne of Green Gables. A voracious reader and a born performer, it came as no surprise to anyone when she did a double major in English Literature and Drama for her BA, then went on to a career as an actor, singer and dancer, as well as script writer, stage manager and musical director for cabaret and theatre restaurants (one of which she co-owned and ran for six years).
After starting a family, Leisl stopped performing and instead, began writing the stories that had been plaguing her dreams. Leisl's stories have won and placed in many competitions in Australia and the US, including the STALI, Golden Opportunities, Heart of the West, Linda Howard Award of Excellence, Touch of Magic and many others.
Leisl lives in the leafy suburbs of Melbourne with her two beautiful boys, lovely hubby, overly spunky dog, Buffy, and likes to spend time with family and friends. She sometimes sings in a choir and works as a swim teacher in her day-to-day job.
Leisl writes paranormal fantasy and romantic suspense. Her debut novel, Killing Me Softly, was released last year with Penguin’s Destiny Romance and her new paranormal novel Dark Moon has just been released.
Buy Dark Moon here:
Amazon | Kobo | Destiny Romance | iBooks | Google Play
And Killing Me Softly here:
Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | Destiny Romance | Google Play
Follow Leisl and find out more about her and her books via her website: www.leislleighton.com
Or: Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter @LeislLeighton