Author Spotlight: Chatting with Leigh Ann Edwards
Congratulations, Christina Salem, you are Leigh Ann’s giveaway winner! Leigh Ann will be in touch! Thanks to you and all the folks who stopped by!
I was happy as can be to have a chance to chat with fellow Tule author and my friend Leigh Ann Edwards this week. Leigh Ann’s fascination with history, romance, magic, fantasy, time-travel, and Ireland sparked her interest in creating the Irish Witch Series and her growing collection of published novels. Growing up in a very small Manitoban village on the Canadian prairies left a lot of time to create stories and let her imagination soar.
An author for nearly thirty years, Leigh Ann is presently writing her fourth series with Tule Publishing and is thrilled to have recently signed a contract for a fifth. Besides writing, Leigh Ann loves spending time with her four grandchildren, reading, traveling, doing intuitive readings and reiki. Leigh Ann and her husband, their one large dog and two cats, live near Edmonton Alberta, Canada.
Be sure to check out her giveaway!
Welcome to the Spotlight, Leigh Ann!
Thanks so much for inviting me, Nan. I appreciate your ongoing support to me and other authors. I’m excited to be featured on your author spotlight again.
N: So first question, what comes first––characters or plot?
A: Typically, it’s the characters. I develop the plot around them. This time, however, I developed the plot first, along with the profession or life station of each of the four women. The actual characters came next…and then the plot twists.
N: Autumn’s Magical Pact, book one in your new series with Tule Publishing, Maidens of the Mystical Stones, released on September 26. What is the most surprising thing you discovered about yourself while writing Autumn’s Magical Pact.
A: Almost all my books take place centuries ago so I was surprised how emotional–– both sad and angry––this story made me when imagining how it would have been for women during medieval times. They had no rights, literally no say in any part of their lives. They often endured poverty, disease, and other hardships, as well as disrespect, and abuse.
N: So this story is the first of several books in this series. Can you tell us how the whole concept began? What started the idea for the Maidens of the Mystical Stones.
A: Originally there were only four books in the series, but I was happy/relieved my editor also believed there needed to be five to do the story justice. I was thrilled when Tule agreed.
I chose the story’s location after discovering through genealogy, that my branch of Edwardses were from a small village near Stonehenge. That sparked my imagination. I’ve always been drawn to otherworldly things and mystical places.
The concept began when I noticed how often people envy or compare themselves to friends, acquaintances… even strangers. With the internet and social media, it’s become more common. It’s a destructive behavior. When we only see snippets or photos of outward appearances, it can be quite misleading. We don’t know the challenges people face or the secrets they keep.
I liked the movie Freaky Friday where mother and daughter switch bodies and soon discover the other doesn’t have it as easy as they thought. But that transformation wasn’t by choice. I carried it further. If people must actually agree to a magical pact where they’d switch bodies/lives with their friends, not for hours or days, but for a whole season, would they agree? If so, would they remain friends? Be more empathetic? Discover secrets? Resent one another?
N: Give me three words to describe your heroine, Rhianwyn and your hero, Broccan.
A: Rhianwyn is intelligent, protective, and independent. Broccan is amusing, chivalrous, and stubborn.
N: What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
A: I hope readers will understand that the grass isn’t always greener and we don’t always know what others, even our friends, are up against. Also, I want readers to learn a lot of issues and challenges women faced during medieval times, are still relevant today.
N: What is the most difficult part about writing for you?
A: I always write beyond the allotted word count. I have an outline and basically know the beginning, middle, and end, but I give the characters free rein, so their personalities and relationships emerge and the story naturally takes shape. Then I have to determine which parts aren’t essential which is time consuming and less enjoyable for me.
N: What is the toughest criticism you’ve received as a writer? The best compliment?
A: Firstly, I’m very sensitive or thin-skinned. I’ve had to toughen up as far as book criticism. Reviews can be brutal and deflating. I completely understand if people don’t like my stories; they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. The toughest criticism I’ve received is when someone said my writing was flat and boring and my characters weren’t well-developed. Thankfully, I’ve had many other reviews that say the opposite.
The best compliments are when people say they can see, feel, hear, smell, and taste everything I describe––or that they’ve laughed out loud or cried when reading my books. Evoking readers’ emotions is maybe a writer’s greatest accomplishment.
N: I know Autumn’s Magical Pact is book 1 in your series. Want to give us a sneak peek at whose book is next?
A: Initially, I thought each heroine might have one book…their story. I soon realized I’d need way more than four books to have reader’s see how all four women are affected while living each life. If each book revealed all four transformations, it would be very confusing. Readers would see a mere snippet of each life. We find out a lot of what happens with all the women, but it’s Rhianwyn’s journey we follow in living one of her friend’s lives in each book. The books are seen from Rhianwyn’s and Broccan’s POV.
I will give a little sneak peek into book 2, Winter’s Haunting Pledge. In that story the first switch/transformation happens. Rhianwyn must live winter as a harlot at the brothel, while Selena takes her turn as Lady Brockwell, Broccan’s wife. Lilliana and Elspeth, the princess and castle servant, also then trade places.
N: Writing can be an emotional, stressful pursuit. Any tips for aspiring writers?
A: Some people would likely say write what you know, but I disagree. I’d encourage people to write what you love or what piques your interest. You can research nearly everything, but if it isn’t a topic you enjoy, you probably won’t stick with it. Also, I’d say just write. A little or a lot isn’t so important, but like almost anything, you will grow and improve the more you do it.
N: What did you want to be when you grew up?
A: I went through the array of usual professions girls often considered back in my day: nurse, teacher, hairstylist, flight attendant. But I also seriously considered becoming an Olympic track and field athlete. It’s very hard to believe now, especially with fibromyalgia often makes getting my steps in a chore, but I was really good at sprinting. In junior high, I set records in the 100-meter (I’m from Canada) race. By the time I reached high school, that dream faded. Living in a smaller town, I had to be driven to practices. I was hours away from a facility with year round track and field programs. Friends and social life became more important. An unyielding track coach also insisted his sprinters run long distance, too. I never had the endurance for that.
N: Favorite book when you were a kid?
A: I loved so many. Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables books were my favorites. I read them over and over. As a shy child, I admired Anne’s spunkiness. I was thrilled to visit the Green Gables house in beautiful Prince Edward Island.
N: And here is my signature question that everyone loves: If you could choose three people, living or dead to invite to a dinner party, who would they be and why?
A: The first would always, always be my beautiful sister, Darla. She passed away ten years ago this July. She was my only sister, best friend, and go-to person all my adult life. She supported me endlessly and could make me laugh no matter what.
The other two guests, hmmmm… that requires more thought. At this particular time, they’d be two ancestors I found while researching my genealogy: Selena Jory and Elspeth Warren. (There was also a Lucinda Lovelace. Yes, that’s my actual ancestor and not a stripper name.) LOL I actually combined their names to create two character’s names in this series––Elspeth Jory and Selena Lovelace.
It would be interesting meeting these women who lived two and three centuries ago. I’m sure even though we wouldn’t have a lot in common, I’d ask lots of questions and Darla would make them laugh, too.
Again, thanks so much for having me here to discuss my story, Nan. I’m very grateful.
GIVEAWAY! Now, for a chance to win a signed print copy of Autumn’s Magical Pact, a unique bookmark Leigh Ann made herself, and some book swag, tell her your favorite season and why.
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Autumn’s Magical Pact
Can one choice alter destiny or is fate set in stone?
After her father’s unexplained disappearance, the entrancingly beautiful healer Rhianwyn Albray finds herself in a perilous position. She’s nineteen, living alone, and unwed—which, by the king’s law, is strictly forbidden. Several men rally to claim her as their bride, but when a mysterious Irishman, Lord Broccan Mulryan, requests the king’s permission to wed her, Rhianwyn immediately objects. Though he is handsome and there is an undeniable physical attraction, he’s also demanding, arrogant, and not husband material.
Rhianwyn meets with her three closest friends, Elspeth, Selena, and Lilliana, at the mystical stone circle near their small English village. Bemoaning their inevitable and undesired fates, each presumes the others will fare better. Then a peculiar old crone offers them a magical opportunity to trade lives—a binding pact that will forever change them, their friendships, and their destinies.
With a world of possibilities ahead of her, Rhianwyn must decide: is there a future for her with Lord Broccan?
Spring and Fall are my two favorites. Happy Release Week!
Kimberly, I like those two seasons beast, too.
I love Autumn: college football, boots, scarves, sweaters, crisp apples, cooler air, spicy baked goods, Thanksgiving, and my birthday!
I really love fall, too for all those reasons. I hope you have a lovely birthday and Thanksgiving, Denise.
My favorite season is winter because I love the cold weather! I love watching my hound dogs playing in the snow snow and catching snowflakes and as many as there are they will fight over the same ones too. One of them will stand on her hind legs and twirl in circles while catching them like a ballerina and I’m like I need a tutu for her but I know she wouldn’t have it. I also love baking so many goodies and Christmas and the Christmas Hallmark movies and so much more!
Fall is my favourite also because of the colours, the weather I get to wear my sweats, football starts, and my biggest reason is because there are not any bugs out they all LOVE my sweet blood. I can go for a walk and enjoy it to the fullest.
Fall is my very favourite, too, Christina. I love the colours and the cooler weather. I’m always glad when mosquitoes disappear, too. They can make summer really unpleasant.
Thank you. There is so much I love about winter, too. It’s beautiful in so many ways.
I just wish they weren’t so long. We often have snow from October to April. My dog loves the snow, too!
A wonderful interview! Fall is my favorite season, too. It has every sensory experience going for it.
Thanks Liz. I agree. Fall is delightful in so many ways!
I enjoyed the interview. My favorite season is fall because Texas summers are so brutal, fall’s cooler temperatures are more than welcome.
Leigh Ann Edwards
Thanks so much. Fall is my favourite, too. I have a sun sensitivity so summers are tough even when they aren’t as hot as this past summer.