Talking with New Author Leigh Wood
How did you start your writing career?
I didn't begin formally submitting erotica until two years ago. For many years I've been writing naughty short stories and tales, but I wasn't seeking publication. After my husband prodded me to finish On the Way to New Isosceles I sent it off!
Tell us about your favorite character from your books.
I think of my couple in On the Way to New Isosceles, I'm more partial to Rub than my leading lady JJ. Sometimes JJ can be sweet and sassy, but bitchy circumstances arise in the novel as well. Rub however, starts off as a jerk and matures in to a hip and responsible fellow. I'd writing first hand male point of view before, but Rub's insightful close third journey was a lot of fun to write. When I first submitted to Eternal Press, the acquisitions editor Lisa accepted with one condition, "More Rub!" It was nice to see someone else enjoying him as much as I do.
Where do you dream of traveling to and why?
I'd love to go to the UK and Ireland. I love Celtic motifs and magical places. Stonehenge, Avalon. There's something enchanting to me about ancient, green, old world places. Maybe it's because I'm working on my next book, an erotic medieval fantasy now; but that's where my mind's at now. But why stop there? If I had the resources, I'd probably never sit still. Private jet takes you to a place a day!
Tell us about your current/upcoming release.
I'm pretty proud of my EP release On the Way to New Isosceles. Yes it's my first big release, but I'm pleased with the near perfect blend of science fiction and sex. I started out thinking I would have a small novella of one sex scene after another on a long space flight. Halfway through I had twice as many pages and serious character conflicts, space battle action, and even some death and angst. Then I got to the sweet sex scenes! I wasn't sure if there was an audience for material that would please the hard sf fan but also the erotica lover. Sometimes you find some science fiction that's really lofty and full of space and technology over people and just a little too high brow. On the Way to New Isosceles has a tongue in cheek look about it. Be honest, what else must they do on long space journeys but get hot and bothered?
Has someone helped or mentored you in your writing career?
The gals at Eternal Press have been delightful. Not only does the owner Ally and the entire editing team personally support you, but the entire family of authors is a great bunch. He'd be embarrassed to say, but my husband has also inadvertently inspired my erotica. He was reading Isosceles, telling me how great it was and that I should really finish it. Then he got the the sex scenes and though 'Whoa!' He's not a serious reader or a writer, but his support means a lot. Besides, he pays the bills! I do think your family or even your closest persons can't quite get the internal creativity that is writing. Most importantly you have to push yourself forward. Family and friends may nudge, but you're the one writing, mentally exhausting yourself, and going to all the scary and sexy places!
Who is your favorite author?
Right now, Tolkien perhaps. I grew up reading a lot of Arthurian tales and have returned to a bit of a fantasy bend after returning to more Middle Earth material. I used to love Marion Zimmer Bradley, but I'm kind of tired of the Darkover Series. My classical and adamant science fiction inspirations stem from Isaac Asimov. I love his Foundation and Robot series and in many ways I wish we could return to that type of science fiction instead of the young hip styles and modern technology.
What was your first sale as an author?
I've had some articles and reviews published in print and online, and self published a memoir called Cracked. Actually On the Way to New Isosceles is my first big sale and I'm loving every minute of it. It's so awesome to talk to readers about books and literature and sex. The live chats I've guested with are a lot of fun. I receive questions about the military lifestyle inside Isosceles and then I've got another reader asking me about the Peanut Butter sex scenes. It's wonderful madness!
When in the day/night do you write? How long per day?
I'm streaky. Some afternoons I can write for several hours and not notice until my husband calls and says he's on his way home. Other times I'm up all night or binging on writing weekends. With Isosceles out now, a larger chunk of my times is going to promotions. Understandable, but I can't wait to get back into the hard core work of my erotic medieval fantasy Horns of Myleness. The project varies my times, too. Editing on a deadline or creative inspiration, you know.
Who are your literary heros and why?
Hmm....I don't know that I actually know of the top of my head. There are so many! Boromir is my favorite from The Lord of The Rings. He's so confused, misunderstood, conflicted, and flawed. He's just like us. For the same reasons I also love Peter. Is a Biblical figure a literary hero? Peter sank when he walked on water, but he was the only one to try! He invites the spirit of Elijah down for tea, cuts the soldier's ear. He never gets that there's something beyond Jesus' earthly power until after the denial, when it's too late. How human is that? Biblical ramblings and erotica musings at the same time!
Tell us five random things about yourself.
My full name means Ash Tree Meadow Laurel. Kind of redundant I know. I collect records and animal prints and am partial to cats before dogs I think. I categorize my bookshelves and would rather have a true library completely dedicated to my books then more closet space. We have entire rooms dedicated to our materialistic ways but yet my husband tells me I can't any more bookshelves! Although I must say, if I could move my cookbooks for more records space I'd do it.
What type of writer are you—the one who experiences before writing, like Hemingway, or the one who mostly daydreams and fantasizes?
I'm a fantasizer, oh yes. I've written about my experiences and of course they latently factor in writing, but I'm much more interested in foreign worlds of past present and future . How can their sexy magicness or alien nature make a human connection. I can't just have a simple fantasy, there has to be back story, understanding, meaning. I love how fantasy can turn you round and round and then it comes to its explanation and turns round right.
From the moment you conceived the idea for the story, to the published book, how long did it take?
On the Way to New Isosceles took about three years total I think. I handwrite still, and after my husband took my notebook and told me to finish, I kept writing during my lunch breaks while I was working at a video store. I remember sitting in one of those vignettes in the mall at Christmas time crying because I just killed a character off. I thought, this is supposed to be a sex story! After some editing and submittal, we were published at Eternal Press in six months. I've got plenty of other stories that have been waiting a lot longer!
How was your experience in looking for a publisher? What words of advice would you offer those novice authors who are in search of one?
Isosceles was actually rejected by another house before I submitted to EP. It was a just a 'thanks, but no thanks' email with no details. When Lisa gave us our conditional acceptance, however, she took the time in a lovely letter to tell me how great the romance was and that there should be more our our darling Rub. I suggest new authors find such personal and caring allies if they can. Otherwise, just write write write. More than anything I write for myself because I enjoy it. Only when I done do I take a look at my work and ask how publishable it may be.
What book are you reading now?
I'm reading 'What's a Christian to do with Harry Potter?' by Connie Neal. I've never read Potter, but I enjoy reading non fiction books that examine Christianity in the popular condition. I do read a lot of non fiction and writing books. When I'm on a writing kick not only do I not have the time for some reading fiction escapism, but I also don't like a reading to interfere and influence as I work. The last fiction book I read was Mists of Avalon.
Have you ever woken in the night with the need to write? If so, how do you deal with this urge?
My first reaction is Oh my YES! I have flashlights and notebooks and pens and paper by my bed to write down quick thoughts. The best always happen for me at that fine line between being fully awake and dreaming. Sometimes of course, merely writing it down is to no avail. It festers, stews, an idea won't let you sleep. Most of the time I have to get up and type it just to catch everything-usually at the expense of sleep. Woken in the night? Bah! Writers just don't sleep.
Sneak Peek into On the Way to New Isosceles:
Rub waited with Captain Westmayer and Colonel Gauthier by the Nuke's small but streamlined transport in the Mother Ship's Lift-Off Zone. Once Rub had met the very hot and charming Kimmie Dejonaire, Miguel warmed to him as well. Most ofthe Combatants had relaxed on their flight to Isosceles – except for one. Well,two, but he suspected Private Wu never thawed. The zone's doors parted as Kimmie and Ina strutted toward him in their sexiest getups; satin and tiny, hair vamoosed – Rub noticed these things. Friendly or iced, it was still hawt.
Miguel hurried behind them, equally dressed for a night on the town. His style was a little flashy for Rub's tastes. He didn't have to show his dick size on the outside. It showed in his smile and charm.
"How do I look?" Kimmie asked her friends.
"Not as good as me," Ina chuckled. She did look phenomenal out of uniform, if a bit scary. She was taller than Miguel and probably always intimidated him. Ha!
"Where's JJ?" Miguel asked.
Yes, where was the anti-Nuke who spent all her time avoiding Rub? A little socializing would do her good; all the other Combatants were dressed to the hilt and ready to part-ee! He wanted an opportunity to piss off JJ, but he didn't really expect her to join them. His duty to pilot the transport almost assured it.
"She's pouting, of course," Kimmie puckered her lips in mock imitation. She stopped beside Captain Westmayer and Colonel Gauthier. Her breasts had entered the Lift-Off Zone before she did, and Rub was amazed by her ability to not give everything away when she hiked into the Nuke shuttle before the men. Did all the Combatant women have such long legs?