Hello and welcome to Author Talk. Today I have the great pleasure of interviewing Leanne Wood.
Please tell us a little about yourself and your background?
My Name is Leanne Wood and I am originally from Sydney. I moved to Orange which is located in Central Western NSW in 2000. Faced with a life shattering ordeal I struggled with PTSD and depression. Hospitalized, I retreated from the world and was forced to reassess everything. Writing assisted greatly through this period. I would class myself as a freelance writer and a poet, a research enthusiast who possesses a love for creativity and a keen interest in trivia and historical events. I have a gorgeous partner, I appreciate good friends, I enjoy great food and wine and I love to travel and write. I believe we should try to live our life to its fullest and follow our dreams.
Wow Leanne, you had some early knocks. I’d like to know more About You as a Writer
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
To simply write books that people enjoy
How long have you been writing?
I have been writing ever since I can remember, I have always found it enjoyable.
Which writers inspire you?
All writers inspire me, I believe they all have something to offer
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book? Noni Hazlehurst – “Pages Of your Life – The Secret Life of Shirley Rumming”
What is the easiest thing about writing?
You get to set your own timetable, however, you must also be able to apply yourself as books don’t write themselves.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
The last one probably 12 months (give or take a little) from start to being published. I don’t think there is a need to rush.
Do you ever get writer’s Block? If so, Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
Yes, I think all writers get writer’s block from time to time. I always walk away, I never dwell on something that is not happening. You can’t force a square peg in a round hole, just as you can’t force writing. I go for a walk, have a chat with a friend, enjoy the company of my partner, play with my dog, enjoy a nice meal or glass of wine (or two).
Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.
I don’t read as much as I should. My favourite authors are Bryce Courtenay and Stephen King. I also enjoy reading trivia and biographies.
For your own reading, do you prefer e-books or traditional paper/hard back books? I prefer traditional paperbacks.
What & whose book/s are you reading at present? I am not reading a book at present as I am focusing on the launch of my second book.
Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
I do and I also have others as I believe a writer can be too close to their own work.
Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit? Yes, I believe it is important to let it sit before editing
When did you decide to become a writer? What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
Several years ago I experienced great trauma, writing was an escape. The more I wrote, the better I felt, the more I loved writing. Writing is addictive, life experiences inspire my stories.
Why do you write?
I love writing, creating a story and developing characters
Do you write full-time or part-time? Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I do write full-time, however, I do not have a rigid writing schedule. I do prefer mornings for writing but I write whenever I have the urge as I believe writing should not be forced. Some days I will work on a novel for over 12 hours with only small breaks while on other days several hours is enough.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? How successful are you at achieving that goal?
Sometimes I set a word count, but believe it is more so about quality not quantity
Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand? Do you use a special writing program, or just type away?
Computer, I also have ideas on post-it notes, in my mobile phone and on scraps of paper
Where do the your ideas come from?
Some of the ideas within my first book, “Pages Of Your Life- The Secret Life of Shirley Rumming” are adaptations of real stories as told to me by my relatives. Other ideas came from extended hours of research and from within my imagination.Generally, my ideas can come from anywhere, observing others and listening, from reading, TV shows, movies and even sounds.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you? I do attempt to work out an outline, but I find my stories develop and change, so the story then takes me on a journey
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I have evolved greatly…I do believe writing is one big learning experience. I still have so much to learn. Talking with other writers, learning about the industry and embracing what I love so much (writing) means that I have to evolve.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Like anything, there are always distractions and you must have self discipline. Research also takes up a lot of time and sometimes you can feel you are getting no where fast, but it is all worth it in the long run.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
As a writer I do get caught up emotionally, so if it is sad, I do feel for the characters. Writing is an emotional journey.
How do you market your books? Why did you choose this route?
I market my books through social media and my blog; these methods have been extremely helpful.
Would you or do you use a PR agency? Possibly in the future
Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
Exposing your books is one thing, but you should never inundate potential readers as this could dive them away.
What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?
Probably not as much as I should, however, I do post regular updates to social media
How do you relax?
I go for a walk, have a chat with a friend, enjoy the company of my partner, play with my dog, enjoy a nice meal or glass of wine (or two), go on a holiday and I write
What is your favourite motivational phrase.
You can overcome everything, achieve anything and do everything.
What is your favourite positive saying?
Let your past make you better, not bitter
What is your favourite book and why? A Map Of The World by Jane Hamilton. This a compelling story about life, consequences, regrets, friendship, marriage and endurance. It illustrates that a predictable life can change direction in the blink of an eye. It explores the most basic of human emotions. It is an excellent portrayal of human nature and serves as a reminder that life should not be taken for granted. Thought provoking.
What is your favourite quote?
Never underestimate your acts of kindness and how much you are appreciated and loved
What is your favourite movie and why? Cleopatra, starring Elizabeth Taylor – what an amazing woman
Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Do what you love every day. A successful day of writing should not be determined by the number of words written but the content which has been created.
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why? Elizabeth Taylor – she was talented, generous, inspiring, beautiful, successful, caring…a wonderful soul
Thank you for all of this Leanne, I too am a fan of the Late, Great Elizabeth Taylor. She would be one person I would definitely love to meet myself. Now on to read something About Your Books
What genre are your books?
Historical Fiction / Women’s Fiction / Mystery / Life Drama / Suspense / Thriller / Crime
What draws you to this genre?
I love research and I love stories with a twist, books that keep the readers wanting to turn the next page. All of my books are about life and events that could happen to anyone.
How much research do you do?
For my first book; “Pages Of Your Life – The Secret Life of Shirley Rumming” I completed many hours of research as the book spans many decades. I wanted to set the scene and correctly reflect the times with facts relating to historical events. Ensuring there was a balance of facts in which the story could take place without the reader feeling overwhelmed by these facts was imperative. My second book; “Travels Through My Mind” (which is the 2nd book in the “Secrets” trilogy did not involve as much research while the last book; “Where Secrets Lie” does involve more research.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
I believe you can maintain a greater control over your books. My books are like my children, I would never want to cast them asside and have someone else control them.
What do you do to get book reviews? How successful has your quest for reviews been so far?
I have not received a great deal of reviews since I am only relatively new, however they have been great and I appreciate all feedback.
Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers?
Not really, I do ask but I don’t want to be pushy.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
I think it is important to acknowledge that not everyone will agree on everything; as such we would be foolish to believe everyone will love what we write
What’s your views on social media for marketing? Which social network worked best for you?
I think social media has its place, facebook has worked well for me.
Any tips on what to do and what not to do?
I wouldn’t bombard the same social media site with marketing details, otherwise people will switch off.
Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?
I promoted my first book launch with the assistance of the local library and bookshops. I also used facebook and the local press. I am holding the book launch for my 2nd book on Tuesday 5th May 2015 and I will use the same strategy.
Did you get interviewed by local press/radio for your book launch?
Yes and they were wonderful
What do you think of “trailers” for books?
I like trailors
Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book/s?
No, maybe one day
Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
Sometimes yes, however on a limited basis and only to those you know will appreciate it, not to companies who want to profit off your hard work.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
I would give them the same advice Bryce Courtenay gave to me; write, write and write some more. Also maintain an open mind, writing is a learning experience, be open to suggestions and critique.
Where do you see publishing going in the future?
Hopefully onwards and upwards with indie writers achieving the recognition they deserve. You do not have to be published by one of the big 5 to be a good writer.
Thank you Leanne, I like your open hearted honesty. Finally we are ready to read something About Your Current Book
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? My trilogy spans 3 generations. “Pages Of Your Life – The Secret Life of Shirley Rumming” starts with Shirley Rumming, born in Sydney in 1924, the first book is based on her life story. The second book; “Travels Through My Mind” picks up after Shirley has passed away. Claire her only child discovers her mothers book and is forced to question the truth and value of life. She doubts the platform on which she believed her life was built as she embarks on a journey to reveal the truth. Deceit, secrets and lies collide with preconceieved thoughts and more than one person winds up crushed. The third book; “Where Secrets Lie” highlights the impact of delving into the past and family secrets. While it is still a work in progress and without giving too much away it examines the destructiveness that secrets and lies can have on others.
What are you working on at the minute? Currently I am focusing on the book launch for “Travels Through My Mind” and looking at the 3rd book of my “Secrets” Trilogy; “Where Secrets Lie”
Is this book part of a series? What are your thoughts on writing a book series.
It is a trilogy and I love it. I never intended to create a trilogy. However, when I finished my first story there was so much more that needed saying. The story could not end when the character died, she had family and so the story continued.
Did you format your own book? In what formats is your book available?
I had assistance with formatting. My books are available in paperback and as an e-book. I think it is important to cater to all readers.
If formatted by someone else, how did you select them and what was your experience? I looked at the work they had created previously. I watched how they interacted with others and I had a great experience.
Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about. Who designed your book cover/s? The cover of “Pages Of Your Life – The Secret Life of Shirley Rumming” came from a collection of photos once owned by my grandfather (who is deceased). I was led to believe that he had taken the photo, however, I was shocked to discover although it was in his collection it was infact a photo he had taken of a photo. Having a great attachment to the photo I purchased the licensing rights to use the photo so as not to breach any copyright. For my second cover, “Travels Through My Mind” I took a photo of my partners eye.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process? Definitely, if the cover looks interesting a potental reader is more likely to pick it up.
How are you publishing this book and why (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)
Indie. I think it’s the control factor plus I can try to keep the pricing of the book down. Reading should be enjoyable not expensive.
Please list all of your published books here
Book Title: Pages Of Your Life – The Secret Life of Shirley Rumming Genre: Historical Fiction / Mystery / Family Sagas Australia / Life Drama ISBN: 9781742844800 Publisher: Bookpal Author:Leanne Wood Paperback / Hardback: Paperback & Kindle Distributor/Seller: Amazon Book Cover by: Leanne Wood
Book Title: Travels Through My Mind Genre: Mystery / Family Sagas Australia / Life Drama / Paranormal ISBN: 9780994302908 Publisher: Leanne Wood Author: Leanne Wood Paperback / Hardback: Paperback & Kindle Distributor/Seller: Amazon Book Cover by: Leanne Wood