Monday, March 1, 2010

Author Inteview ~ Leigh Wood





Today on the couch we are delighted to welcome author Leigh Wood. Let’s all make sure she feels welcome, I know the Cabana Boys will do their utmost best to make her feel… welcome. So, that being said;

Welcome to The Menagerie, Leigh! It’s so great to have you here with us. Let’s get started: Where are you from, Leigh?


I’m from the darling little state of New Jersey. Try not to hate me based upon that fact. I’m a South Jersey baby through and through, none of that Northern up New York’s ass business. Just think of me as a Philadelphia gal if it makes you feel better.

LOL, since I don’t have any… preconceived notions, that’s kind of funny to me. So, how about you tell us your latest news?

I baked Apple Cinnamon Bread last week, which was an accomplishment! Truly, I steam it up inside the kitchen and out with my new Eternal Press science fiction erotica novel On the Way to New Isosceles. What else must people do on long space flights but eat and have sex?

Too funny, I have no idea what else they could do, but eat and have sex seem to be what I’d RATHER do on a long space flight! When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing when I was ten or twelve years old-really bad and stupid stories. I submitted to a few contests, but nothing much ever came of it until a few years ago. I’ve always written for myself but after meeting other local authors I decided to polish my material for publication. So here I am!

I have yet to meet an author who didn’t want to write from a young age. I think I was ten or eleven. When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I suppose the word that a writer uses to define oneself is a personal preference. Though I don’t really write short work, I wouldn’t say I’m a ‘novelist’ either. I feel I’ve always been a writer. I can’t not write something. All the musing in my head would put me in the nuthouse otherwise. In my mind, I think I can say now that I’m published, that I’m an ‘author’. Does the name matter? No, it’s the feeling of being bookish and about my pen and paper that counts.

Yup, that makes sense to me, and I don’t honestly think the name matters. What inspired you to write your first book?

Do you believe I don’t rightly know? As a child I had so many fanciful stories and I couldn’t keep track of them so I began to write down all sorts of scenes and silliness. Some of it stuck around to become fully developed. Instead of hiding my stories or having no one to tell them to, I wrote them down. It sounds snotty to say I inspired myself, but I think that’s a big part of it.

I dunno, not necessarily snotty, you just knew what was there and you did it. Do you have a specific writing style?

In my mind, perhaps not, but I imagine a reader can discern my style. That’s probably a bad thing to say, for a writer should know her voice and style! I, however, prefer not to be pigeoned in one vein or genre. I imagine my work is witty, sarcastic, fun perhaps; but at times I can still put forth serious, dark, and heavy material without sacrificing the joy of a story. On the Way to New Isosceles is very frank about its sex and has its fun, but it is also a serious science fiction novel, dealing with post apocalyptic re-establishment and sociological issues. Either way, I tell it like it is! In some ways I enjoy going to the places and sharing true thoughts and emotions that might make others uncomfortable. Sometimes I write and think, ‘Hot Damn, I can’t believe I did that!’ I like that!

Good philosophy! How did you come up with the title(s)?

I have had one person ask me what On the Way to New Isosceles meant, but I expected more confusion and a change from the publisher. I stuck with the title because I like how it captures each aspect of the book. They are traveling on a sexy spaceflight, not just to a destination, but to a balance of equality and understanding. Our couple JJ and Rub need to work out the sexual kinks in their relationship yes, but also the rival factions at hand have to come to an equal understanding as well. I’ve not written the sequel fully as yet, but I keep leaning towards its title as Equilateral Planet. It keeps with the triangles and sense of dual sides and balancing the issues and relationships at hand. Instead of changing the title, I’ve had many more folks tell me what a great name On the Way to New Isosceles is. I have to admit, though, on a bad day I can’t always spell it!

Very interesting! Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I suppose it’s strange to talk about a message being within an erotica novel, but by golly yes! One of the reasons I’m so proud of On the Way to New Isosceles is that it captures the seriousness and issues of a proper sf novel while at the same time being frank and truthful about the human sexual condition on a long spaceflight. My message is that you can have such a thing as intelligent erotica. Books for your brain, not the porn. There is a difference, indeed.

Absolutely, although I don’t always mind the “porn” label. I prefer “porn with a plot” lol. What are your current projects?

In addition to the promotions and crazy virtual book tour for On the Way to New Isosceles, I’m working on my next draft of a medieval fantasy erotica called Horns of Myleness. I’ve posted a few musings from it on my blog, but it still needs some work before I’m completely pleased with it. Where Isosceles is about a healthy sexual relationship amid a divided futuristic war time, Myleness is a fantasy love triangle with dire consequences for the kingdoms involved. It’s topped 100k now, so it might be broken up into a series with its sequels. I have a lot of stories and ideas that come fast and I write them fast, but I tend to be a little slow when it comes to revision and fully crafting a manuscript for publication. I write longhand, then type it as an extra composition and revision step- but then I have to let it stew before I return to it for two or three more polishes. I’m just too anal sometimes about my work, too.

Wow, you’re certainly keeping busy. Do you see writing as a career?

Yes and no. I’d love it to be a career, it certainly can be, but I wouldn’t want my quest to make it super successful at the expense of my literary quality. I’d rather be poorer and enjoy my stories than hammer out a book of crap every six months.

That’s something I have to agree with you on. Who designed the covers?

Eternal Press’ Head Cover Artist Dawne Dominque did our cover for On the Way to New Isosceles. Initially I suggest a back to back JJ and Rub in their sexy uniforms with laser guns looking hot and tough. Dawne couldn’t find the right military look I was going for, and made the exceptional suggestion of some nudity. It makes perfect sense now, of course, and I love the cover!

Love when it all works out, yanno. What was the hardest part of writing your book?

In many ways, the toughest part is saying its done, giving it away to some one and submitting for publication! Of course you’re not done with acceptance, then there’s the critical editing phase naturally; but for me, the toughest thing is being done. You keep thinking something in it is not right. You always want to change something. In the midst of editing sometimes your so sick of it and never want to hear of the book again, but there is always this latent fear about handing it over to the public-at least for me. Will they like it? What if they hate it? Will anyone even read it? A lot of the mystique of writers has changed I think, but us being fragile about our work never changes!

Oh, I can certainly relate! I just sent one of my babies off last week, and the waiting is killing me. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I did learn a lot from EP’s Acquisitions editor Lisa. Isosceles was rejected from a big name publisher before I submitted to EP. I knew a lot of the ladies at EP but perhaps was shooting too far looking elsewhere. Lisa took the time to conditionally accepted-she wanted more Rub! Scaredy Cat as I am, it’s great to have other professionals look at your manuscript and see the spit and polish that can make it shine. When writing yourself, you discover all sorts of things, about the story, the characters, yourself, everything. You can’t not learn something by writing a book. Maybe that’s why so many people always want to do it. For many years I’ve lived on the experience of writing for myself. Now I’ve got the bonus of getting a publishing education!

That’s a wonderful way to learn in my opinion. How long does it take you to write a book?

As I said, I probably take longer than others, completing a book every couple years. I started writing On the Way to New Isosceles when I worked in a video store, then at a desk job on lunch breaks, saving the sex scenes for when I got home. Even now, being a domesticated housewife who writes naughty stories in her spare time, it took about 6 months to revise Isosceles and then 6 months for the publication process. If I didn’t hand write it would probably cut my composition time in half, but I suspect I’d loose some of my creative vibe without the sound of an itchy pen and all those paper cuts.

Every person goes on their own schedule. I think if we have deadlines then we can move a bit faster, but when we’re going on our own steam, it may take longer cuz we obsess! What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I’m fortunate to be married and home now but kid free, so I can write in the afternoons until my husband comes home. Of course, a writing binge, is well, a binge-and that can happen a lot. Days and nights can go by when I’m on streak. Let the laundry and the trash pile up! Right now is a little crazy since I’m doing the virtual book tour for Isosceles in addition to writing. So, in short, I don’t know that I have a schedule! Sometimes that’s good, other times bad. All the books say to write every day at a set time like a day job, but I just go with where the story takes me. Woohoo!

LOL, so what you’re saying is that even when the kids aren’t around it could be a bit insane. Got it. :-D What does your family think of your writing?

I don’t think my parents know much about it, but my sister likes to tease me for my choice of material. Somehow then, it pleases me when she can’t make it through my entire manuscript! My husband also doesn’t deny my talent, but wishes I wrote more wholesome things. I wasn’t going to finish Isosceles but he read it and said it was good-until he got to the first sex scene, that is.

Oh, you have one of those guys. Mine is proud of me, but has recently said he would prefer I wrote in a different genre… no, not gonna happen. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I’ve heard nothing but good things from readers thus far. While some really enjoy the serious science involved, my female demographic is all about the peanut butter sex scene in On the Way to New Isosceles. I wish I heard from readers more. With online promotion it’s either ridiculous mania or crickets. Writers like to hear from readers, really we do. We’re readers and just regular weird people, too!

Good it’s always nice to know someone loves your work. So, now it’s time for our “Nothing-To-Do-With-Writing questions: Do you hate how you look in pictures? Why or why not?

Yes, actually I do. I always look fat and silly, like my head is out of proportion with my body. I’ve tried to draw some sketches from a few photos, but I’m not that artistic either-or as artistic as I’d like. Photos tend to present everything that’s wrong with me physically, so I’d rather not have them about! I prefer my words and books capturing me better. A lot of times they say more and show all the things a picture can’t.

This is true, but somehow I doubt you look the way you think you do. Do you have any strange handwriting habits, like capitalizing all your “r”s or dotting your “I”s with heart (or anything like that)?

I’m not a bubbly heartsy writer by any means, but I do still write my stories with pen and paper, which I think is becoming an oddity in itself. My writing is often sloppy, and the weirder the pen the better!

LOL, I love the look of pen and paper. All my ideas go down on paper, and ideas and fleshing out, so I can relate. You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be?

At first I was going to say the entire year of hell that brought about my writing of my first self published memoir Cracked, but perhaps in hindsight I would keep it all. I wouldn’t have the experience and mental character or be the person I am today if those things hadn’t happened in my life. At the time it’s never easy, but we are indeed better people for having experienced the worst!

It’s always hindsight that tells us things like that. But it sucks when it’s that hard to move past. When you looked in the mirror this morning, what was the first thing you thought?

‘Shit, a pimple.’ And of course, I’m so damn Irish fair that the cover up is still a shade darker and spotlights the zit instead of concealing it. See what happens when a writer is too busy writing? I don’t wash my face for a day and don’t go outside and now I’m pale and pimply!

LOL, I keep telling my hubby that the Health Class LIED when they said I would stop getting pimples when I got past puberty. Uh huh… suuuure. What were you doing at midnight last night?

I was watching the original Star Wars on Spike and getting really p-o’d by all the wireless charging commercials. I was thinking how old and dated A New Hope seemed amid the high tech ads. I prefer the classic fantasy of a good solid science fiction show before all the wireless and high tech ads, just so you know.

LOL, makes sense. My boys are always asking for more more more electronics. I’m not much better, but I’m an adult. LOL So, what’s a saying you use a lot? Where did it originate from?

I’ve noticed recently that I say a lot of old fashioned things that young folks don’t understand. I don’t say ‘ain’t’ or a lot of modern slang or valley, like you know, speech. I much prefer seemly, and ‘shan’t’. I tend to say perchance a lot instead of perhaps, and I do enjoy the confused looks I get by speaking proper, classical English. The language is splitting, yes! Soon their will be a vulgar slang English and a classical, old fashioned in literature alone English. But look how that turned out for Latin!

LOL, I say things that throw my kids off all the time. Except mine are Southern (Cajun) based, like “I’m fixin’ ta do it!”. Do you like thunderstorms?

Yes. What’s not to like? So many good story bits can be brought about by a good storm. Maybe we think of horror first, then perhaps some naughty sex when the electricity goes out. Thunderstorms bring the seeds of creativity! Isn’t that why God sends them?

Absolutely, I love storms and dancing in the rain when there isn’t any thunder and lightning. Do you sleep with the light on? Why or why not?

Heck no. I like it dark. Last night I jumped up for my flashlight so I could write some bits down and cracked my skull on the night stand. I like how the dark can play tricks on you. It makes the imagination stew.

LOL, I hate the dark, I have to active an imagination. Can you taste the difference between Pepsi and Coke? If so, which do you prefer?

I really don’t care much for either one. I like Root Beer- Mug, A&W, Stewarts, that’s all the same to me. Every now and again I like Dr. Pepper, too. I mean, a carbonated beverage is the place to go crazy, isn’t it?!

LOL, can I say that’s blasphemy? :-D Can you share a little of your current work with us?

How naughty can we get? Here’s a little PG-13 excerpt. I’m tempted to share that Peanut Butter sex scene, but that wouldn’t be fair, now, would it?

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 of the 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?


Thank you so much for hanging out with us today here at the Menagerie. Sit back and hang out and let the Cabana Boys take real good care of you. It was great getting to know you better. Come back any time, hon.

Thank you for having me!

Newly married and living the high-rise condo life, Leigh Wood is not tech savvy and fights with writing on her laptop between baking and sewing projects. She prefers handwriting with weird pens and odd paper and collects animal prints and records via rummage sales. Leigh loves naughty fantasy and science fiction, but sharpens her skills with nonfiction essays and reviews. Her articles can be found at I Think, Therefore I Review (http://ithinkthereforeireview.blogspot.com) or her own blog (http://leighwood.blogspot.com).

Previously, Leigh boldly wrote her memoir Cracked, and is currently working on her next epic erotic novel-a fantasy tentatively titled Horns of Myleness.

You find her on the web here:

Blog ~ http://leighwood.blogspot.com/


Facebook ~ http://www.facebook.com/people/Leigh-Wood/100000432241842

On The Way On The Road To New Isosceles by Leigh Wood (Fictionwise Buy link) (Amazon buy Link)

JJ was as hard nosed as they come-and them some. But, hey, the destruction of earth did that to everyone. Humanity fractioned into three groups. Affectionately known as 'the Shitters', the Shipper Brigade manufactures the best space faring vehicles for themselves. Skilled fighters and martial artists Combatants like JJ fight the Shippers for what they can-even though Combatant numbers were severely depleted by the third faction. The Nukes rescued chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons from earth's doom and aren't afraid to use them.

You can imagine JJ's surprise when she meets the Nuke Lieutenant Rub. Their initial meeting didn't rub either the right way. Despite her Nuke anxiety-JJ has to put it all aside. Her Captain and the Nuke Colonel have struck a deal to defeat the Shippers once and for all. The Nukes leave their tiny outpost on a far flung, degrading planet and join the Combatants in taking the lush planet protected by the Shippers.

It's a long, tough journey on the way to New Isosceles, and the animosity between Rub and JJ gets hotter by the day.......

5 comments:

Author Mary C said...

Great Interview, Leigh. It's impressive that you can write with pen and paper. I'd never get all my thoughts down in time.

Can't wait for the naughtiness in your newest book. Best of luck!

Helen Hardt said...

Wonderful interview -- great to learn more about you, Leigh!

Kristin Snouffer said...

Great interview, Leigh!

Cate Masters said...

Great interview Leigh! Best of luck with On the Road to New Isosceles.

Lorrie said...

What a great interview. I enjoyed every minute of the read.
Best of luck with the release.
Lorrie Unites-Struiff