UPDATE: The winner of Leigh Ann’s giveaway is Denise Holcomb! Congratulations, Denise! Leigh Ann will be in touch with you!
My guest today is fellow Tule author, Leigh Ann Edwards. Leigh Ann has always been fascinated by history, magic, romance, witches, and Ireland, all of which inspired her first series, The Irish Witch Series. Growing up in a very small Manitoba town on the Canadian prairies allowed lots of time to create stories and let her imagination soar. Now writing her third series with Tule Publishing, Leigh Ann also loves reading, traveling, spending time with her four grandchildren, doing intuitive readings, and reiki.
Leigh Ann lives with her husband, their two very large dogs, and two cats near Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Leigh Ann is doing a giveaway while she’s here–one lucky commenter will win two free e-books, The Witch’s Awakening and The Witch’s Compromise! Be sure to comment for a chance to win the first two books in her Witches of Time series! We will draw a name on Friday, April 16 at noon.
N: Welcome to the blog, Leigh Ann. I’m so delighted to have you with us today. So, what inspired you to start writing?
A: Thanks so much for inviting me to be here today, Nan. I really enjoy your blog.
I’ve always loved writing. As soon as I learned to read, I began writing poems and stories. I was always daydreaming, writing stories in my head. I grew up in a very small town on the Canadian prairies. I was one of the only girls my age. Between that and the long, cold winters I relied on reading and my imagination to entertain myself.
In high school I wrote mostly short stories, a couple were included in high school yearbooks. I started writing novels several years later when my two daughters were probably ten and twelve. I loved to read but I’d read a few books that disappointed me. My writing sort of began with the thought, I could write a book as good as that.
N: What comes first-the plot or the characters?
A: It might be kind of unusual, but often it’s the characters and the setting that come first. I build the plot around them.
N: You’ve written two stories so far in The Witches of Time series-what is the most surprising thing you’ve discovered about yourself while writing these books.
A: I believe what’s most surprising is how intently I take on the moods of the heroine. When Ainsley’s angry, sad, worried, etc., I really feel the emotions. I was recently writing an intense scene where the heroine and hero are arguing. She was very annoyed with him and I found myself a little short-tempered with my husband. He probably attributed it to me being up at 4:00 a.m. writing. I believe taking on my heroine’s emotions has become more apparent with the restrictions implemented because of Covid and being with fewer people. I’ve become even more entrenched in the story.
N: Your newest book, The Witch’s Compromise just released April 13. Can you share with us something about Ainsley Byrne’s story that isn’t in the blurb?
A: Ainsley is a survivor. She’s experienced past trauma that she hasn’t revealed to anyone, not even her mother or her best friend. Maybe because he’s a doctor, she trusts Cal. Even before she falls in love with him she opens up to him.
N: As you’ve written the Witches of Time series, has it been hard to keep the magical part fresh with each book?
A: A little. The four heroines live in different centuries, but share a genetic connection therefore have many similar supernatural abilities but also a few specific individual magical traits. They’re air, fire, earth and water witches. That does make it easier to create some unique fresh storylines.
N: Talk to me about writing the historical elements of the stories. How was the research? Fascinating? Arduous?
A: I absolutely love history so research is always fascinating to me. The arduous part is knowing how much history to include. At the core of my stories, there’s always a romance along with magic and fantasy. I also tend to have a lot of plot twists and several secondary characters. I’ve discovered with this series, like my Viking series, during the editing process, my pages of historical accounts are often reduced to paragraphs and sometimes mere sentences, simply to pare words.
Initially, in this book, I had a lot more about the American Civil War, what led to it, the battles and the aftermath, but eventually much had to be trimmed. I almost always write far beyond my allotted word count, which makes it stressful when deadlines are looming. Typically, I end up having to cut about 25,000 words or more from each book.
N: If you had to describe Ainsley in only three words, what would those three words be? And how about three words to describe Cal?
A: Ainsley is caring, strong and resilient. Cal is protective, compassionate and amusing.
N: If you could tell your younger writing self, anything, what would it be?,
A: I’d say, always make time for writing, even when you feel overwhelmed with the busyness or challenges of everyday life. Writing is therapeutic. Recognize that you’re much happier and more content when you’re writing.
N: Are you working on anything at the present that you would like to tell your readers about?
A: Yes, I’m working on the third book in this series. It’s called The Witch’s Journey. It’s been so much fun to write. There are several journeys through different times and it involves a witch, who’s a modern day heroine (which I’ve never written before) and an eighteenth century pirate whom she summons as her perfect man. Having main characters from different centuries has made for some funny conversations.
N: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
A: I love spending time with my four grandchildren. I homeschool my eldest grandson who’s sixteen. He has learning challenges with ADD and dyslexia but he’s doing great. I worked as a special-needs teacher assistant for ten years, so that helps. I provide part-time child care for my two grandsons who are seven and ten and I also spend time with my thirteen year old granddaughter. She keeps me up to speed with Snapchat. We’ve taken some really amusing photos with filters available.
I rent a healing room where I do reiki treatments and tarot and angel card readings. I also read tea leaves and do Akashic records. I’m hoping to start offering palm reading and Norse rune readings sometime, too. I just haven’t had the time to dedicate to learning those.
I really love to travel. My dream is to own a little cottage in Ireland one day. My husband and I have two large dogs and two cats so our house is seldom quiet. Of course, Covid has changed being able to travel or offer my reiki treatments, but thankfully I still get to see my grandchildren.
N: What did you want to be when you grew up?
A: It changed a lot through the years. I wanted to be a nurse, teacher, hair-stylist, flight-attendant, singer, Olympian runner, horse trainer and romance writer, not necessarily in that order.
N: Favorite book when you were a kid?
A: Anne of Green Gables. I adored Anne and reread the series several times. I loved so much about Anne––her eccentricity and that she liked reading and writing.
N: This is my signature question, the one that everyone loves to answer. If you could choose three people, living or dead to invite to a dinner party, who would they be and why?
A: I really do love that question, but it’s incredibly difficult. Anyone, wow! Especially loving history, that’s a lot of really fantastic options. Firstly, I’d have to pick my sister, Darla. She was my best friend and only sister. She passed away nearly nine years ago. She was easily the most-fun person I’ve ever known. I’m not saying that just because she was my sister. She could make anyone laugh. She just had that amazingly special quality. I always laughed most with her over the silliest things.
But now… two more. I’ve considered this a lot and it’s all people who have passed that I envision at this dinner party. I did read a lot of supernatural books when I was younger. Of all the possible historical figures, it’s authors that keep popping into my head.
So, I’d pick Lucy Maude Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables and Emily Bronte. (Maybe she could sneak her sisters, Charlotte and Anne in, too.) At age fourteen, after reading Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, I yearned to write a novel with a love story as beautifully tragic. I’ve visited the parsonage where the Bronte sisters grew up. Interestingly enough, my husband, who’s from England, grew up only about an hour from the Bronte’s home.
It might be a rather interesting and unique dinner party, but I’d definitely be excited to attend.
The Witch’s Compromise
A Death-bed secret throws her life into turmoil…
Before unearthing a mystical book, skilled Civil War nurse, Ainsley Byrne was focused on treating patients and keeping her magic hidden. Now, her life’s upended by a prophecy that foretells her unusual destiny. How can someone travel through time? When Ainsley encounters two witches with enlightening answers, it only leaves her more uncertain. And then there’s the handsome, dark-haired English surgeon whose entrancing smile and amusing charm prove irresistible. But Ainsley senses he’s well-entangled in the mystery now diving her life.
Caldwell Prescott’s been sent to 1863 Gettysburg as an army surgeon. However, even with a major battle imminent, his true assignment’s far more complicated and dangerous. Trying not to change history and escaping being killed is difficult enough, but avoiding falling in love with a beautiful nurse who’s believed to be a witch, might prove impossible. Tasked with discovering her supernatural abilities and finding the missing book, above all, Cal’s purpose here is to protect her. But who’ll protect him and his heart when she discovers the truth?