Leisa Rayven is the author of Bad Romeo which I recently loved, and the equally intense Broken Juliet which will be released on May 1st with Pan Macmillan and you can stop back around then for my review too.
Hi Leisa and welcome to Beauty and Lace.
Hi! Thanks for having me.
When is the first time you remember wanting to be a writer?
Since I was a kid, I’ve always loved writing, but I didn’t consider doing it seriously until about five years ago. I’ve been a professional performer for most of my life, and even though I’ve written several stage shows which have been toured professionally, I always thought writing fiction was beyond me. I started writing my first novel when I was living in Rome. My husband was working in the opera house over there, and because my Italian was pretty woeful, I ended up reading a lot. It was then the itch to write my own book started. In the six months we were there, I began three novels. (Sadly, I’ve never finished them, because quite honestly, they were rubbish.)
Still, it was that experience that fanned my passion for writing fiction, and I’ve been doing it ever since.
Can you tell us a little about your journey to publication?
When I first started taking my writing seriously, I joined a writers’ group and started posting my work online so I could get feedback. I wrote a couple of popular stories, but the last one I posted seemed to gain a very passionate following. The story ended up being the very long, rambly first draft of what has now become Bad Romeo and Broken Juliet. I queried several agents before finding the wonderful Christina Hogrebe from the Jane Rotrosen Agency, and she then found my work a home at Macmillian New York, with the lovely Rose Hilliard. Thankfully, both Rose and Christina loved Cassie and Ethan every bit as much as I did. Being offered a publishing deal was an absolute dream come true.
How did you make the shift from playwright to novelist?
Well, for a start I had to accept the fact I couldn’t just write dialogue and a few stage directions anymore. Writing a play is very different to writing a book. In a play, every word matters, but all you get is dialogue. There aren’t long descriptions of action or settings, so every nuance of the language has to be distilled as much as possible. It took me a while to get used to writing all the description and action needed in a novel. I’m better at it now, but I still write all my dialogue first, then fill in the rest later.
Can you tell us a little about your upcoming release Broken Juliet?
Broken Juliet begins exactly where Bad Romeo finishes – with a knock at the door. In the novel, we’ll delve deeper into the train wreck of Cassie and Ethan’s past relationship, and see if they can both move past it to gain happiness in the future. We’ll see exactly how far they’ve both come since their passionate, tumultuous days at drama school.
Can you tell us a little about what you are working on next?
Right now I’m working on the third book in the Starcrossed series. It will focus on Ethan’s sister, Elissa. She’s a top stage manager on Broadway, but when she has to deal with Hollywood golden couple, Liam Quinn and Angel Bell, her professionalism is tested. Mainly because she’s been in love with Liam for as long as she can remember, and despite having a fiancée, Liam seems to feel the same way. It’s called Wicked Heart, and it will be release in 2016.
Is there anything specific you must have with you as you write?
Silence! Haha! It’s tragic, but I find it very difficult to get into my groove if there is lots of noise around me. I could never be one of those cool, hipster authors who writes at the local coffee shop. I’d be shushing the hell out of every one all day long.
What is your preferred genre to read?
I actually love reading a whole variety of genres. I grew up on a steady stream of horror and paranormal suspense, (think Stephen King and Dean Koontz), I’ve binged on the crime thrillers of James Patterson and Kathy Reichs, I adore Laini Taylor’s epic fantasy trilogy, Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I’ve also been known to adore the odd zombie tale in titles like World War Z and Warm Bodies. So yeah. My To Be Read list is all over the place. Romance has always been a favorite genre as well.
What does being a woman mean to you?
I love being a woman. I think women as a gender are kickass. We’re a complicated lot, but at the same time, we’re incredibly versatile, resilient, creative, and resourceful, and the sense of community and sisterhood which has greeted me in the book world makes me smile every day. I’ve met some of the most unbelievable generous, supportive, and loving souls I could ever imagine. Book babes are the best!
Thanks for your time Leisa.
My pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Broken Juliet is released on May 1 with Pan Macmillan, it is available for pre-order where good books are sold.