Ask the Author: D. Jackson Leigh

“Headed to Denver, Colorado, Pride next weekend, June 16-17, and I've got advance copies of my newest "Take a Chance" with me. ” D. Jackson Leigh

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D. Jackson Leigh Which series? Cherokee Falls? Dragon Horse War? Pine Cone, Ga series?
D. Jackson Leigh Ack. I'm trying to get as many of those corrected as possible. I don't know about the review, but the blurb come from the fact that when we sign a contract, we have to write the blurbs many times before we ever finish writing the book. In this case, I was halfway through writing "Swelter" when three other books hit the market with characters named Griffin. So I changed the name of my character, not realizing that getting it corrected on a million websites would be like killing a million ants one at a time. My guess is that the reviewer had let some time lapse and read some other books before she wrote the review, then pulled up one of those bad blurbs to remind herself of the character's name. I often love a book, but only tend to remember the name of the one character I fell in love with or identified with if you ask me about it 6 months later.
D. Jackson Leigh I'm currently furiously writing the final book in the Dragon Horse War Trilogy -- "Shield and the Seer." My target publication date is December 2017. I know that seems a long way off, but that means I have to have it to my editor by April 1. I deliberately didn't sign a contract with a deadline on this one because I want to be 100 percent satisfied before I give it up for editing. I've got a main story line - a new romantic couple - and two secondary story lines going -- one involving Jael and Alyssa and the other involving a reshuffling of secondary characters so that a new heroine emerges for sort of a surprise ending. Weaving those together so that the timeline stays true is proving difficult. Writing fantasy is really complicated. :)
D. Jackson Leigh I actually have a blog that is scheduled to post on the Bold Strokes blog on Feb. 3. It will be widely promoted on their facebook page and mine. It goes in depth about my inspiration for the Dragon Horse War series, which will be a trilogy.

But I generally draw inspiration from everything around me. Sometimes a name makes a character pop in my head and I begin to build a setting and a story around her. Sometimes a setting stays in the back of my head for a year or more until the right characters pop up. Characters are important to me, because as a romance writer they are central to the story. Sometimes a real-life situation strikes me as story-worthy, and I tuck it away for future use.

Writers are always observers of life. I tell my friends that they are never safe around me. Anything they say or do could end up in one of my books.

I was in Knoxville last year, having dinner with a group of BSB authors. We'd spent the day selling books at Knoxville Pride and, after a few drinks, were telling stories about crazy things. The qualifier of the night was "but nobody can use that in their books because it's mine." Then we'd all laugh.

Just today, I found a name that totally suits a character for a story I'm planning to write next year for 2017 publication. That sounds far off, but it's not really.

It usually takes me six months to actually write, self-edit, send off to beta readers and give them 3-4 weeks to edit, re-edit, then send a story to my editor. Then six more months of the production process--editing with my editor, going to the copy-editor, typesetting, galley proofing, printing (usually two months before the release month), then shipping to distributors. So, I'm always working a year in advance.
D. Jackson Leigh Um...don't know because I haven't experienced it yet. I'm a career newspaper journalist, so I'm used to having to write under pressure. That's why I sign contracts in advance. Some of my fellow writers prefer to write an entire book, then submit it even after they've written many. But I work best under pressure. If the words aren't flowing, I just start writing and grind it out slowly until they do flow faster.
D. Jackson Leigh The very best thing about becoming a published writer is all the friends I've met all over the world -- friends that share the same love of reading that I do. That's made this journey worth all the long hours of sitting by myself at home, typing away instead of out doing other things.
D. Jackson Leigh Read as much as you write. Get a good editor and listen to them. Even editors need an editor because you can't objectively edit your own copy.

I also listen to audiobooks because words are my music. Your brain interprets things from your ear differently, I think, and it will enhance your pacing and structure.
D. Jackson Leigh I'm currently working on the second book of the Dragon Horse War trilogy which should release early 2016. After that, I've got a contract to produce a romantic intrigue entitled "Swelter" that should release in late 2106.
D. Jackson Leigh I dreamed about dragons for no apparent reason for three nights in one week. I'm not superstitious about dreams or anything else, but it started me thinking...

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