Guest Interview ~ Meg Leigh
Today we’re excited to welcome Meg Leigh – another of our fellow Sapphic Planet Anthology contributors!
Why don’t you start by telling us about yourself (Where are you from? What do you write/do in the publishing world? What do you do when you’re not writing — your “day” job, hobbies, obsessions, etc.?)
I am Australian, born and raised here and what the old timers used to refer to as a “Pure Merino” which means I am a third generation Australian by birth. I write both Lesbian (f/f) and Gay (m/m) fiction and have in the past, dabbled in het romance. My first published work was actually a het romance novel. I don’t have a day job, as I had to quit work due to a physical incapacity. That gives me lots of time to procrastinate…er I mean write. Yes, that’s it. It gives me lots of time to write! My hobbies include breeding chickens. I am hoping to develop my own bloodline of my favorite breed, the Australorp. I am also teaching myself how to use DAZ Studio 3D with a little help from a good friend. I’d eventually like to use that for making graphic art to illustrate my writing, or for web design.
Do you own an ereader? Why or why not? If so, what’s on it?
I have an iPad and an iPhone 4 each of which is crammed full of eBooks. I have everything from Agatha Christie to Zathyn Priest and all the letters of the alphabet in between. I tend to buy a lot of books, and then not read them for ages, so I guess that makes me an eBook hoarder. At least it doesn’t take up a lot of space!
Tell us about your writing: How long have you been writing? What genre(s) do you write in? What have you written (short stories, novels, etc.)? What works are currently for sale? Where?
I don’t really know how long I have been writing. I come from a family background where telling ‘yarns’ was a tradition. I used to love visiting my grandparents where my sisters and I would sit enthralled for hours listening to Pop tell stories of his youth, or ‘bush yarns’ about people and places in his life when he was growing up. A ‘bush yarn’ is a story that is not necessarily true, but is told as though it was. For examples of this, readers could look for the fiction of Australian ‘Bush Balladeers’ Banjo Patterson or Henry Lawson. I learned the craft of storytelling through listening to these tales and I guess writing them down was the natural progression from there.
I have a few short stories on sale at present through my account at Smashwords.com: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/megleigh
I also have a short story included in the new Sapphic Planet Anthology. My story is titled “Two Steps Back” it is a lovely erotic romance which I penned especially for the antho. It is the story of Juliet, an author who is struggling to rediscover her voice after battling a long illness. At the suggestion of her friend, Valerie, Juliet decides to take a weekend trip to a little Bed & Breakfast in the country. Her idyllic vacation is threatened though, when Juliet comes face to face with Heather, a woman from her past that Juliet had hoped never to see again.
The story deals with past betrayals and the concept of a second chance, both of which are some of my favorite themes in fiction.
What made you decide to write?
I guess that the answer to this question is covered above in the answer to the one about how long I’ve been writing. I didn’t make a conscious decision to write, but I do recall making a conscious decision to try and get published. I had spent a lot of years writing and sharing my work with friends, family and online pals but never thought about doing anything more with it, until quite a few of my friends began to say “You should be publishing your work for pay.” I figured that I must have developed a strong enough style and voice to give it a go. I submitted a short story for an eBook anthology and to my surprised delight, it was accepted!
What made you chose to write erotic literature in particular? Is there any other genre you’d like to write? And if so, why?
I like to write about human relationships whether erotic or just the stock standard day to day life stuff that goes on between families and partners. Erotica is a part of my writing, but I don’t really consider myself an ‘erotic writer’ in fact, when my characters want to have sex I often find myself wishing they’d go get a room and write it down themselves! *g* I tend to cringe and squirm my way through those scenes. Fortunately, no one has ever said that it shows in my writing. Maybe they’re just too polite? *bg*
How do you get ideas for your stories? What inspires you?
In a word, everything! I have seriously found inspiration in everything from a snippet of overheard conversation in a coffee shop, to a piece of paper blowing across the street. I am a keen observer of people, nature, and cereal boxes. I’ve even created characters based on the antics of my chickens!
Which comes first when you’re starting to write a new story: character, setting, plot, or theme?
It usually starts with a voice in my head. Sometimes I wonder if I’m not a writer at all, but just a nutcase who has learned to act out by writing things down, rather than actually going out and doing the things she imagines. Seriously though, I hear the characters talking. Sometimes it will be a line of dialogue. Other times, they’ll just start telling me their story and not stop until I have written it all down. I just transcribe, the “voices” do the creating.
Any advice for those who want to write?
One word. WRITE!
Oh, you wanted more than that? Hmmm ok. The best advice I can give someone who wants to write is not write what you know, but write what you love! Write things that ignite your spark, your passion. As far as writing what you know goes, you can learn and research just about anything, but if the stuff you’re writing doesn’t make your blood sing and your heart thud, it’s not going to do that for your readers either. WRITE and write what you LOVE.
Tell us about your first publication. What did you do to celebrate?
I danced around the house cackling insanely, shrieking “YES! Yes! Yes!” much to my partner’s alarm. She actually thought when she heard me shriek and then burst into wild laughter, that I was crying. She feared one of my kids had been hurt or worse. It took me about ten minutes to compose myself enough to let her know that it was actually good news.
Do you have a favorite character out of all the ones you’ve written? If so, who is it and why is s/he your favorite?
My favorite character of all time is “Alyssa” She’s the mother of Casey Lambeth in a novel I wrote called Hunter’s Dawn: Laying the Ghosts. Alyssa is actually a ghost and she was such fun to write. She has a very good sense of humor and was a fantastic comedic foil to the drama in that novel. It was kind of sad to say adieu to her at the end of the story.
Is there a way for fans and others to contact you?
Tell us about your latest release – we’d love an excerpt, too!
My latest release is my short story, Two Steps Back in the new Sapphic Planet Anthology. I gave a blurb a little way back so I will just add an excerpt here.
Juliet turned her car into the driveway of the little country cottage and switched off the engine. She sat staring at the house for a few moments. This would be the first real holiday she’d taken since before…she closed her eyes, remembered pain making her breath hitch in her throat.
It must be easily four years, she decided. She’d come back from that last vacation to bad news. The niggling cramps and nausea she’d suffered on her vacation had led to a diagnosis that stopped her life for almost two years. That, and the time it had taken to recover her strength. Writing had been her only solace in those dark days, but as her health and strength returned, Juliet had increasing difficulty in finding ideas to put on paper. She sighed, shaking her head to clear the morbid thoughts and climbed out of the car.
Grabbing her overnight bag from the backseat she made her way onto the porch and rapped at the door with the brass doorknocker.
While she waited for someone to answer, Juliet closed her eyes, letting the gentle cooing of mourning doves in the surrounding trees seep into her consciousness. Other birdcalls began to filter in as she listened. She drew a deep breath, letting it out slowly. Maybe this break would be good for her, after all.
Juliet turned to the door as she heard the latch work, smiling as the door swung open to reveal a petite blonde woman standing just inside, smiling broadly in welcome.
Her smile froze in place as Juliet looked at the woman. She blinked, unable to believe her eyes, and took a backward step.
“Heather…” Juliet faltered, “I… “
“Jules!” Heather said, throwing the door wide and stepping out onto the patio. “Oh my God! It’s really you.”
“Don’t!” Juliet dropped her bag, holding her hands out as though fending off a blow. “Please don’t do that.”
Heather’s smile faltered. She stopped and let her hands fall to her sides.
“There must be some mistake,” Juliet said. There had to be. She would never have booked into this place if she’d known it would mean coming face to face with a woman she had thought—hoped, she would never see again.