Guest Author Day with Aubrey Leatherwood/Excerpt

Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write such a story.
 
My latest book is called If You Asked Me To available from Aspen Mountain Press on November 26, 2010. Two things compelled me to write this. First, there was a call for submissions for books featuring a disabled person. I’ve never written anything like that before, and I wanted the challenge. The story, however, ended up much too long for an anthology. Second, a very close friend was diagnosed with a degenerative disease a couple of years ago, and it has been a journey for us both. I’ve known her all my life and I love her, but I’ll be candid: I’ve had to learn a new level of patience. She is a very independent woman, who has taken care of everything for herself and for others for a very long time. Now, she cannot be as independent for medical reasons. She resists help and can be a giant curmudgeon when must accept it. So I thought, if my beloved friend can be a pain in the heiney even with a good support system in place, what would the story be if an independent woman faced with this sort of illness was alone and didn’t have as good a support system? What would the courtship be like for a man who wants to express his love and offer help to such a woman?
 
What are you working on now? Anything you want to tell us about?
 
I’m very excited to say that I am just about finished with a novella called Fan Mail.
 
Model Lover introduced Alicia Langerud, aspiring model, and her somewhat dorky and shy Irish boyfriend, Tommy Touhy. The kids are all grown up now. Alicia is a super model, and Tommy has channeled his inner bad boy and turned into a hot and somewhat mercurial cop… with a superb fashion sense. The story begins with the couple having an explosive break up that has the paparazzi clamoring for the hushed reason why. They have their suspicions, and all of them paint Tommy as a brute not fit to be with America’s sweetheart. Soon after, Alicia finds herself being stalked by a mad man, she realizes that only Tommy can help her, and together they will have to slay their secret demons.
 
What books are currently on your nightstand/bedside? Anything coming you are dying to read?
 
I am dying to read the next installment in Christina Dodd’s Chosen One series. I also hear there is a new Marjorie M. Liu Dirk and Steele out in January.
 
 
If one of your books were to be made into a movie, which book would you choose and who do you see playing your characters and why?
 
Even though it’s not out yet, I think Fan Mail is the most suited for a movie. There’s suspense, intrigue, the glitz of the fashion world, the paparazzi, and some scenes that are guaranteed to get it an NC-17! Hard to say who would place them. The characters have very distinct physical looks: a super-hot, red-haired, freckled, buff fellow who’s a little on the short side, and a biracial girl with a thick mane of hair and piercing blue eyes. Find them for me readers! Give me suggestions!
 
What is your favorite pizza toppings?
 
I love Italian sausage, pepperoni, and mushrooms. Alternately, I like a four cheese and spinach pizza.
 
Which do you prefer: Mac or PC? 
 
PC… although, shh, don’t tell anybody… I think I’m spending too much time in front of the computer, granted I’m accomplishing a lot of good work, but I feel so very sedentary. I want to take a thirty day break from the computer, although I’m aware that is probably impossible considering my choice in careers. C’est la vie!
 
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done to one of your characters?
 
 
I’ve done a lot of bad things to my characters, but I do it all out of love. Ha ha! Typically, the bad thing happens off page or in the back story, so it’s hard to think of something truly awful I’ve done that the reader gets to see.
 
 
Which of your books contains the sexiest love scene? (if you have one that is J)
 
Ohhh, they’re all good, but Imperfection, hands down, has two… or three… or five of my favorite sex scenes. In fact, the very first scene in the book is a powerful sex scene and I struggled with whether I should start the book with such a strong, up front, and personal piece. But, hey, this book is about a couple celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary and the fact that they manage to stay in love. Part of that success has to do with their healthy and creative sex life, so I went with it. This book probably has some of the more emotionally intense moments I’ve written as well. It is also the one that I get most fan mail and personal stories from readers about.

 
Which of your covers is your favorite?
 
Oh no, are you really going to make me choose? OK, then I choose The People You Know; The Sex They Have. Not only do I think the cover really belongs to the tone and feel of the book, this was my first important step in my career, and that book led some award nominations and really solidified what I wanted to do in the world of contemporary erotica, which is to make sure there’s a real story, real people, and real emotion with my real sex.
 
Which of your books was the easiest to write? 
 
Easiest to write was probably a short I just completed called Passing Licks. It's not available yet, but I have to say it was so easy to write because it was so close to a conversation I've had, a situation I've participated in. It's so close to a part of my life that you could change the character names to mine and people in my life. It was so easy it almost felt like cheating!
 
What is the hardest part of writing your books?
 
Definitely, the hardest part of writing stories for me is the editing. I am a pantser and I am voluminous! So, when I write stories, I tend to start somewhere in the middle, write the end, maybe add a beginning. I’m all over the place. Editing is where I have to ensure that the dots are connected and the story is seamless when readers receive it. Also, because I tend to write complex characters, my stories tend to be longer and always have the capacity to become novel-length if I don’t reign myself in. Editing is painstaking, but it helps me distill a manuscript so that there are not too many idiosyncrasies, side stories, or back stories that, while they may enhance the characterization, do not necessarily add to the story telling.
 
 
Where can readers find you on the ‘net for more information on you, your books and other fun stuff?
 
 
I can be found at my site, www.aubreyleatherwood.com as well as on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aubrey.leatherwood and myspace at www.myspace.com/aubreymleatherwood


Sneak Peek Excerpt from If You Asked Me To
Coming to Aspen Mountain Press


Maybe this was grief not fear.
In her mind, she kept seeing her mother’s face. The image varied between narrow-eyed, pursed-lip disapproval and distance built on both natural and chemically-enhanced apathy. She'd never liked Shelley. Not once had her face held a warm smile or even begrudging approval for her daughter. Shelley didn't kid herself. It was possible it had never held love either.
But she had been someone and she had been there. Now, Shelley had no one.
Though she had accepted that one day this would come to pass, though she had spent every year since she was fifteen years old working toward this day, Shelley had not been prepared when it came. Insurance was an illusion.
Alone.
Shelley had always known she would be alone one day. Maybe this was fear and not longing. 
Not sure what time it was, not sure of anything more than the darkness hanging like a blanket from the sky and the mosquitoes alighting on her bare arms while fireflies created a distraction, she pressed a button on her phone again. She dialed the entire number and at the end her thumb hovered over the send key.
Her legs shook as they ached, and Shelley released them, letting them slide to the floor. She wondered if she would cry this time, but a familiar dry burn pricked her eyes. No tears.
She should hang up.

* * * * *

He answered the phone like this: "What, Shell?" The words were gruff and crackled across the phone lines like a fire just getting started.
"Hey Raymond." Normality permeated her voice. Shelley infused it with balance and clean modulation. He would never know that anything was wrong. Of course he wouldn't.  
For so long, when Ray said he loved her, Shelley knew he didn't. He couldn't if after all their time together, he still couldn’t read her. He had never been able to tell when her voice or expression lied, which meant he didn't know her. And if he didn't know her, then what he loved was nothing more than a daydream.
The thought reminded her of the enormity of this emotion, whatever it was, that had driven her to call him, to put herself through this. Why had she done it? Didn't she realize he wouldn’t know anything was wrong, that she would have to tell him? And that was something she couldn’t do, had never been able to do.
"What Shelley?" Irritation caused his words to grind like dry, flinty gears. Angry, smoldering fire.
His fire ignited her own temper. If only he knew, he wouldnt be so cruel to me. If only he knew Brash as ever, heated as ever, she attacked. "Thats all you have to say? You haven't talked to me in all this time and all you can say is, What, Shelley?"
"I'm hanging up."
"Don't." Desperation crackled in her voice then softened it. She wasn't sure if he heard.
Maybe he didn't. Maybe that's why he hung up the phone. 


 

Comments

Thank you, Dawn, for letting me stop in and share a bit about myself today.

Aubrey
Sable Grey said…
Well I always say Halle Berry for ANY movie...lol.
You do have a good point with that one, Sable! She's gorgeous!
Sable Grey said…
Yeah...I think so too! Question: Do you write everyday? Also, how much do you write daily? weekly?
I do write every day, I can't help myself. It could range from a paltrey hundred words to as much as about 4000 on say a Sunday when I'm focused.
Rita Vetere said…
Hi Aubrey!

Excellent interview, and I was especially interested to learn where the inspiration for If You Asked Me To came from. I always like to know the "story behind the story" so to speak. Loved the excerpt you posted. Oh, and of course, I highly recommend Imperfection to one and all.

Rita :-)
Cindy Jacks said…
YAY! Can't wait to get my hands on If You Asked Me To. I love that tale :) Congrats, Aubs!

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