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Leisa Rayven
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Author Q+A's > Q&A with Leisa Rayven

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message 1: by LeAnn (last edited Mar 18, 2018 09:57PM) (new)

LeAnn (leannelizabeth)

Happy Sunday, NABC!

We have a special treat this week with the lovely Leisa Rayven joining us for a Q&A! Leisa is the author of Bad Romeo, Broken Juliet, Wicked Heart, Mister Romance, and the upcoming release, Professor Feelgood!

Please leave your questions below! <3

message 2: by Court (new)

Court | 22 comments Where do you get your inspiration for the men in each of your books?

message 3: by Judy (new)

Judy Koot (judykoot) Leisa, what does your writing process look like? Thanks!

message 4: by Cassie (new)

Cassie (exbuffalo2001) | 198 comments What is your "must have" when you're in writing mode?

message 5: by Beatrice (new)

Beatrice Masaluñga (beatricemasalunga) | 120 comments Hi Ms. Leisa!

How many books will there be on Masters of Love series? I am excited for your upcoming release book Professor Feelgood 🙌🏼

Also, who's your dream author collaboration?

message 6: by nicandbooks (new)

nicandbooks Which character out of the books you’ve written is most like you (even if it was a younger version of you 😉)??

message 7: by Debra (new)

Debra Shutters (debrashutters) What inspired you to become a writer?

message 8: by Bookish Addict (new)

Bookish Addict (bookishaddict) Where is your favorite place to write?

message 9: by Edienna (last edited Mar 18, 2018 08:43PM) (new)

Edienna (gingergoddess) Hi Leisa! I loved your Bad Romeo series! I especially loved how the story involved students in a theater program! Have you ever written any plays? If you have been in plays what was your favorite role? thank you!!

message 10: by J. (new)

J. (leaj) | 275 comments If you could be any book character for a day, who would you choose and why?

message 11: by Lena (new)

Lena | 6 comments Hi, Leisa! Is it true that Bad Romeo was a fanfic at first? I love this series! Thanks!

message 12: by Whitney (new)

Whitney Cannavina | 57 comments What next for your writing?

message 13: by Katrina (new)

Katrina Dehart | 133 comments Which one of your characters would you date in real life?

Bookphenomena (Micky)  (bookphenomena) Hi Leisa, your heroes are amazing, do you normally need a visual muse when writing? Thanks!

message 15: by Hanne (new)

Hanne | 758 comments Which book was the most difficult to write so far?

message 16: by Yunnuen (new)

Yunnuen (yunnuengonzalez) | 29 comments How do you deal with the writer's block?

message 17: by Irma (new)

Irma *Irma The Book Whisperer* | 325 comments Hi Leisa. I love your books! How do you select the names of your characters?

message 18: by Leisa (new)

Leisa | 47 comments Court wrote: "Where do you get your inspiration for the men in each of your books?"

I'm lucky to be married to an amazing man who treats me like a goddess, but even though he likes to think he's the inspiration for all my male protagonists, most of my literary men are a combination of traits from lots of men; some real, some imaginary.

Generally, I take a bunch of qualities I find attractive in a man, and morph them into a single guy. (I also throw in some annoying habits as well, because let's be honest, a guy who's too perfect can be boring.) ;)

Thanks for your question, honey! <3

message 19: by Leisa (new)

Leisa | 47 comments Judy wrote: "Leisa, what does your writing process look like? Thanks!"

My creative process looks mostly like expert procrastination peppered with sporadic bouts of productivity. Lol!

But, seriously, because of my anal, perfectionist tendencies, starting a new book is always tough for me. I'm always terrified of it being absolute crap. (Of course, once I get over that and accept that the first draft of any book is pretty much crap, I get stuff done.)

I'll usually start with an idea of the type of relationship I'd like to explore, and that informs the story and how I tell it. (Although, every now and then, I'll have an idea for a specific type of character, and then build the story around them. That was the process for Mister Romance. Max was definitely the inspiration for that one.)

I do most of my writing during the day while my two boys are at school, because I have to have total peace and quiet in order to concentrate. Funnily enough, that never happens when my boys are home. :)

message 20: by Leisa (new)

Leisa | 47 comments Cassie wrote: "What is your "must have" when you're in writing mode?"

Well, carrying on from my earlier comment about being a Mistress of Procrastination, I need my surroundings to be neat and tidy or else I'll be all, "Oh, GOD, I can't POSSIBLY write until I wash the floors/vacuum the carpets/fold laundry/make the beds etc, etc, etc. I will literally find any excuse to not sit on my butt and write.

Once the house is a sparkling jewel of domestic perfection, I need a comfortable spot, a bottle of water, and zero distractions. While I'm getting everything together for a day of writing, I'll pop on a playlist I've prepared for that particular book so it can help me get into the characters' heads, and then, off I go. On a good day, I'll write 4K words, on a bad day, 400. It all depends on how my mojo is flowing.

message 21: by Leisa (new)

Leisa | 47 comments Beatrice wrote: "Hi Ms. Leisa!

How many books will there be on Masters of Love series? I am excited for your upcoming release book Professor Feelgood 🙌🏼

Also, who's your dream author collaboration?"

Hi, Beatrice!

The Masters of Love series will consist of three books - Mister Romance, Professor Feelgood, and Doctor Love. I'm in the middle of writing Professor Feelgood right now.

My dream author collaboration? Well, part of me would looooove to write something with Colleen Hoover because I respect her enormously, both as an author and as a person, but I fear once she was exposed to the full level of my writing-process craziness, (which includes, but is not limited to: massive bouts of self-doubt, re-writing a scene dozens of times until I'm happy with it, and needing someone to wrench a finished manuscript from my hands to prevent indefinite fiddling,) she might never talk to me again, and that would be a tragedy.

Better for me to just love her from afar, methinks. :)

message 22: by Leisa (last edited Mar 25, 2018 06:57PM) (new)

Leisa | 47 comments nicandbooks wrote: "Which character out of the books you’ve written is most like you (even if it was a younger version of you 😉)??"

Hmmmm, that's a hard one. I think Cassie in Bad Romeo/Broken Juliet is most like me when I was younger. While I was in drama school, I was very much a people-pleaser and found it difficult to speak my mind. These days, I'm much more like Elissa (Wicked Heart), and Eden (Mister Romance). Like Elissa, I hate exercise and have an unhealthy addiction to cheese, and like Eden, people are going to hear my goddamn opinion whether they like it or not. Haha!

message 23: by Leisa (new)

Leisa | 47 comments Debra wrote: "What inspired you to become a writer?"

I’ve always loved writing ever since I was a kid, and during my time in drama school I wrote quite a few plays. After graduation, I got a bit of a name for myself writing corporate theatre and commissions, and even had a few of my theatrical piece get professional productions and tours.

But it was while I was overseas living with my husband in Italy that I got a sudden and irrepressible urge to write a novel. When I got back to Australia six months later, I’d started four novels, and I couldn’t stop writing.

During the whole Twilight craze, an unhealthy obsession with Robert Pattinson lead me to the world of reading fanfiction. Once I fell down that rabbit hole, I was gobsmacked at how good some of those stories were.

One day, I must have been feeling particularly brave, so I started posting my own fanfic online. It was a story idea not related to Twilight at all, except through the concept of epic love - Edward was a neurotic rock star, Bella was sassy homeless chick - but it felt easier to express myself creatively within the warm-and-supportive community of fanfic readers and writers than to just go it alone. To my surprise, people really responded to my story, and it got a decent following.

Over the next couple of years, I wrote millions of words in various types of stories, all the while reading, learning, and honing my writing skills. When my fans started yelling at me to get something published, I thought they were nuts. Writing was my hobby. That's it. Something akin to creative therapy that kept me sane and happy, no matter how busy and stressed I was in my real career.

I think I went down the path of getting an agent and trying my hand at publishing more to get people off my back than anything else. I never expected anything to come of it.

Well, that little exercise seems to have backfired on me in the most wonderful of ways. I've never been so grateful to be proven wrong in my entire life.

In a nutshell, I owe this amazing career to all the readers who nagged me so viciously, I got myself a book deal just to shut them up, and I'll always be more grateful than I can possibly express for them caring enough to kick my sorry ass. :)

message 24: by Leisa (new)

Leisa | 47 comments Bookish Addict wrote: "Where is your favorite place to write?"
I'm not sure if pics will work here, but this is a pic I just took of my current view:

This is out on my back deck, and because we're on a slightly raised piece of land, I get a fabulous view of the neighborhood and surrounding scenery. I have a very comfortable sun lounge out there that lets me put up my feet and get comfortable, and when the weather is nice, it's an absolutely gorgeous spot.

If the weather is too hot, cold, or wet, I usually write on the couch, or on my giant bed. I always need to have my feet up, for some reason. I absolutely can not write at a desk. I know lots of writers do, but I'm not one of them.

message 25: by nicandbooks (new)

nicandbooks Leisa wrote: "nicandbooks wrote: "Which character out of the books you’ve written is most like you (even if it was a younger version of you 😉)??"

Hmmmm, that's a hard one. I think Cassie in Bad Romeo/Broken Jul..."

Thanks so much for answering! I love your answer :)

message 26: by Leisa (new)

Leisa | 47 comments Edienna wrote: "Hi Leisa! I loved your Bad Romeo series! I especially loved how the story involved students in a theater program! Have you ever written any plays? If you have been in plays what was..."

Hi, Edienna!
I have written plays. In my theater course, I majored in acting and minored in directing, but playwriting was always a favorite subject.

After I graduated, I found my first taste of success writing corporate theater. (If you don't know what that is, it's where companies commission special theatrical productions for things such as awards' ceremonies, product launches, or national conventions. One of my first gigs was doing an adaptation of West Side Story for Mazda. All the songs had lyric changes to be about drivers falling in love with their cars. For example, instead of singing "Maria", our main guy sang, "Astina ... the most beautiful car I ever saw." Lololol! It was exactly as cheesy as it sounds.)

After that, I was commissioned to write shows for large-scale public events, I wrote a few shows for the state opera company which toured professionally and were very successful; I wrote a show for one of the theme parks on the Gold Coast which ran for several years; and wrote and performed in several touring shows with an orchestral cabaret ensemble.

A few years ago, I wrote and performed in a musical based on the work of Stephen Sondheim.

In terms of plays I've starred in ... well, one of my most memorable acting experiences is detailed in the Starcrossed series. My first major role in my first year at drama school was playing the lead in The Killing of Sister George. Keep in mind at the time, I was a very naive, goody-goody teenager from a small country town, and suddenly I was in the big city playing an alcoholic, chain-smoking ex-soap-star sadistic lesbian. Dudes ... until I went to drama school, I'd never even met a lesbian, and there I was performing my first on-stage sex scene with a woman. The culture shock was severe.

Of course, in any drama course, inhibitions are pretty much beaten out of you, so I quickly learned to let go of my insecurities and just concentrate on living the truth of the character. These days, you could ask me to make out with a green, three-mouthed alien called Thrusty, and I wouldn't bat an eyelid. I have zero shame. ;)

message 27: by Leisa (new)

Leisa | 47 comments J. wrote: "If you could be any book character for a day, who would you choose and why?"

When I was younger, I desperately wanted to live inside a Jane Austen novel. I absolutely loved reading about that time, and it was during a stage in my life when I'd come to the conclusion that all men were pigs who just wanted sex and nothing else. I was craving a gentleman in my life. Someone who treated me with dignity and respect.

Ironically, it wasn't long after my passionate Austen love-fest that I met my darling husband, who's the most respectful, gentlemanly guy I know. :) <3

(By the way, if you haven't caught a little British show called Lost in Austen, about a modern-day chick getting transported into the world of Pride and Prejudice, I highly recommend it. Brilliant!)

message 28: by Leisa (last edited Mar 28, 2018 07:05PM) (new)

Leisa | 47 comments Lena wrote: "Hi, Leisa! Is it true that Bad Romeo was a fanfic at first? I love this series! Thanks!"

Hi, Lena!

Yes, it's true that I got my start crossing over from plays into fiction by diving headfirst into the world of fanfiction.

Almost ten years ago, I was meandering around the internet when I stumbled upon Twilight fanfiction while googling pretty-boy British actor, Robert Pattinson. My first reaction was, "What the hell is this?" At the time, I didn't know much about Twilight, but I did know that Edward was a vampire and Bella was human; and yet, here were all these stories where Edward was human. Not only that, he was a CEO/veterinarian/tattoo artist/hockey player/billionaire playboy.

Color me intrigued.

That day, I read fanfiction for the better part of the day. To say I was hooked was an understatement. I soon came to realize that a lot of Twilight fanfiction writers didn't give a hoot about sparkly vampires and buff werewolves. The thing that hooked them about these books was the love story; a seemingly destined-to-be couple overcoming the odds to be together.

Upon closer inspection, I found out these stories were being written by (mostly) women from all walks of life – housewives, doctors, lawyers, actors, microbiologists. The simple but powerful concept of epic love had inspired all of these ladies to express their own creative visions, and let me tell you, a lot of the stories were amazing - far better than some of the published books I'd read.

The courage and creativity of the fanfic authors was so inspiring, one day, I decided to write my own version of epic love. It was tale about a rockstar and street kid, and it was the sort of Cinderella tale I loved to read. Apparently, a lot of other people liked those stories too, because it got a lot of positive attention.

Buoyed by the response, I kept writing. Chapter by chapter; story after story; I wrote every day, sometimes seven days a week. The more I wrote, the more refined my writing became. One of my readers became a friend and offered to edit my work for free. She was amazing with grammar, and because all my stories were set in the states, she beat all the Aussie-isms out of me and helped me sound more American.

Every chapter, I gained more readers. Their reviews were like a drug, inspiring me to write even more.

Hundreds of hours turned into millions of words, and eventually, I developed an extremely passionate and loyal fanbase who started yelling at me to publish a book that they could cuddle and add to their shelves. Until that point, I'd never considered writing as a profession. But my fans kept begging me, and so I put on my big girl panties and strode forth into the terrifying world of professional publishing.

One of my most popular stories was a rambling, half-a-million-words long tale called The Diva Diaries that told of the tumultuous relationship of two actors whose chemistry came to a boiling point performing the lead roles in a drama school production of Romeo and Juliet.

Even though the fanfic was massively long, I knew I could edit back that rough version into a few decent books, which is what I did.
After spit-polishing my manuscript for book one, I threw it at agents willy nilly, hoping against hope one of them would catch it, and one did. I’d only submitted a handful of queries before I got the email that would change my life. It was from a New York literary agent telling me she wanted to represent me. (If you don't think I screamed loud enough to wake the dead on receiving that email, welcome to being wrong forever. Folks on the International space station heard that scream.)

Working in conjunction with my agent, I re-edited the three books based on The Diva Diaries down to two, streamlining the story and distilling the chemistry into a more potent form. A couple of months later, when my agent told me she was ready to take my work to publishers, I settled into what I thought would be a months, or perhaps years-long wait.

Much to my surprise, I had to wait a grand total of three days before my agent had amazing news: Macmillan New York had offered me a three book publishing deal. When I read that email, I actually fell off my chair. No lie.

Of course, you guys know those first two books as Bad Romeo and Broken Juliet. I'm still gobsmacked that they've been published all over the world, including being translated into fourteen foreign languages. Every day I have to pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming.

I know that I owe my current success to that random Google search years ago. If I hadn't stumbled upon fanfiction, I would never have had the courage to find my own literary voice. Fanfiction allowed me to experiment and grow as a writer. I was able to hone and refine my craft in a safe environment, and I connected with an incredible network of amazing, like-minded, supportive women, both readers and other authors. To this day, some of those women are my closest friends, all because we bonded over a wonderland full of tales of epic love. :)

message 29: by Leisa (new)

Leisa | 47 comments Whitney wrote: "What next for your writing?"

I'm currently neck-deep in the world of Professor Feelgood. This book seems to be taking forever to write, and I'm desperate to get it finished and published.

Being able to get a book out of one's head is sometimes a delicate operation. Factors from real life can completely block the flow of words, and over the past year, there have been some personal upheavals which have stymied my writing process. Right now, I'm caring for my dad who's battling cancer, and that has almost turned into a full-time job. (If you haven't heard, I've actually cancelled all of my 2018 public appearances so I can be with him. I'm so very sorry to anyone who was expecting to see me. Hopefully I can catch up with you all next year.)

But back to Professor Feelgood - if you want to know more about it, here's the lowdown:

What's a girl to do when a man who's countless shades of wrong feels oh-so-right?

Ambitious book editor Asha Tate is a hopeless romantic. Despite her mediocre track record with men, she believes in swooning, sighing, and the everlasting love of true soul mates. Sure, sex is okay, but she’s not someone who’s ever been driven by her animal urges.

Until now.

When Asha stumbles upon the scorching hot Instagram feed of someone calling himself Professor Feelgood, she falls in lust for the first time. Not only is she left panting over sexy arthouse photos of the professor’s insane body, but his angst-filled poetry about losing his one true love speaks straight to her soul. 

Desperately in need of a bestseller for her struggling publishing company, Asha knows the professor’s literary ability and millions of loyal followers could be the lifeline her bosses need to prevent the whole company from drowning in debt. However, the ink is barely dry on a book deal when she realizes she’s made a terrible mistake. Sure, the professor is incredibly talented and sexier than any man has a right to be, but the man behind the persona isn’t at all who she pictured. In real life, he’s intense, arrogant and infuriating, and his uncanny ability to rub her the wrong way turns her dream project into a total nightmare.

Knowing that the professor is everything she doesn’t want in a man should help Asha ignore her occasional urges to mount him, but she quickly learns that explosive, unwanted chemistry can make even smart people do stupid things.
Look for publication mid-year, and if you'd like to add it to your 'to-read' list *bats eyelashes*, here's the linky:

message 30: by Leisa (last edited Mar 28, 2018 07:37PM) (new)

Leisa | 47 comments Katrina wrote: "Which one of your characters would you date in real life?"

Hahaha! Oh, God. What a minefield of a question, Katrina.

Truthfully, I'd date all of them. (In some cases, I've already dated them. That's why they're in my books, lol!)

The wonderful thing about being a romance author is creating perfectly imperfect men who are arousing and frustrating in equal measure. And the best thing about it is that we get to choose our favorite book boyfriends and keep them forever. ;)

message 31: by Leisa (new)

Leisa | 47 comments Kindling wrote: "Hi Leisa, your heroes are amazing, do you normally need a visual muse when writing? Thanks!"

Hi, Kindling!

You know, I'd love to be able to find visual muses for all my guys, but the truth is, it's very difficult to find a breathing human male who can live up to their gorgeousness. ;)

Often, I have a really strong image in my head of what my heroes look like, and I never truly find a real-life equivalent. There are some guys who can be close substitutes, though.

For example, supermodel Sean O'Pry is close to my mental image of Ethan Holt. Even though he's not as tall or muscular as the E-man, he definitely has the brooding down:
Young Ethan:
The Art of the Brood:

If you morphed elements of Liam Hemsworth and Jason Morgan, you'd get a pretty decent representation of Liam Quinn:
Mix this:
with this:

Right now, my mental image of Professor Feelgood is a bit like this:

Feel free to let me know if you have anyone in mind when you read my characters. I love hearing how other see them. :)

message 32: by Leisa (new)

Leisa | 47 comments Hanne wrote: "Which book was the most difficult to write so far?"

Wicked Heart was the most difficult by far, and here's why: Bad Romeo and Broken Juliet I wrote for fun. I never anticipated they'd get published so there was zero pressure on me when I wrote them. However, when it came time to write Wicked Heart, I had an agent looking over my shoulder, I had a contract with a big publisher, BR and BJ were out in the world and had garnered a whole bunch of very passionate fans, and expectations in general were at an all-time high. Dear God, THE PRESSURE!

Every time I sat down to write, all I could think of was how I didn't want to disappoint anyone. I wanted Elissa and Liam's journey to be just as popular as Ethan and Cassie's, but could I do that in one book instead of two? I knew I wanted Liam to be everything Ethan wasn't, but would readers like him as much?

Anyway, I sat down and wrote, but I let all the pressure get to me, and instead of writing from my gut as I usually did, I wrote for everyone else. Needless to say, my first draft sucked giant hairy yak balls. It was terrible.

After I bitch slapped myself several hundred times and purged as much pressure as I could, I decided to go back and do what I'd always done with my writing - craft a story I wanted to read, everyone else be buggered. So, that's what I did.

These days I still get bouts of paralysis when I think about the possibility of disappointing readers/publishers/agents, but I always remind myself to let that go and just write what I feel. If people don't like it, so be it. At least I've been true to myself. :)

message 33: by Leisa (new)

Leisa | 47 comments Yunnuen wrote: "How do you deal with the writer's block?"

Ugh, writer's block. It's like a form of mental constipation for which there are no laxatives.

With any creative endeavor - writing, composing, drawing, painting etc, a lot of the energy behind the creation comes from inspiration. That's the grain of magical plutonium that powers our need to create.

Sometimes, if inspiration is in short supply, it's difficult to convince oneself to ignore the lack of inspirational push and create anyway. And yet, that's the ONLY WAY to deal with writer's block.

As any writer will tell you, when inspiration hits, words flow like water at Niagara. Our fingers can barely keep up in describing the movie playing in our heads. But without inspiration, it's like sex without arousal - rough going and not at all satisfying.

But writing when you don't want to is part of being an author. And often, pushing through those bouts of non-aroused writing will help make them less severe and shorter in length.

The short story is, you have to kick the ass of the bastard writer's block and send him on his way. He's a no-good, goddamn, freeloading sonuvabitch and he doesn't deserve an ounce of your time. :)

message 34: by Leisa (new)

Leisa | 47 comments Irma wrote: "Hi Leisa. I love your books! How do you select the names of your characters?"

Hi, Irma!

Ahhhh, naming characters. It's one of the most essential parts of my process, and also one of the hardest.

I always try to match my names to how a character feels, and if it's not exactly right, it affects my ability to write that character.

I had the same issue when my husband and I were naming our boys. Before they were born, we had a short list of names we liked for each of them, and even though everyone kept pushing us to choose one while I was pregnant, I just couldn't. How could I name my little guys before I'd even met them?

So, after each birth, there was about a 24hr period in which neither of them had names. Hubs and I tried out several names on each of them, and finally landed on the ones that suited them the most. (For the record, elder Rayven ended up being Xander Jay, and little Rayven is Kyan Flynn.) The final factor in choosing those names was what I like to call the 'angry mum' test: I yelled their names as if I was pissed at them. Eg. "XANDER JAY! YOU GET HERE RIGHT NOW, YOUNG MAN!" and "KYAN FLYNN! HOW MANY TIMES DID I ASK YOU TO TAKE OUT THE GARBAGE!" Needless to say, both names passed with flying colors.

But, I digress. Character names are all about feel for me. I don't want names that sound unrealistic or too whimsical, mainly because if I read a story with too many fancy-schmancy names, it really draws me out of the action. I find it distracting.

So, I try to choose common-ish names that seem realistic and strong. Of course, for my hero names, there has to be an element of sex appeal as well. I mean, I'm not saying I couldn't write a hot-as-hell hero named Albert, but it would certainly be a challenge. ("Oh, God, Bertie, yes! Right there! AHHHHH")

Thanks for your question, honey! <3

message 35: by Leisa (new)

Leisa | 47 comments LeAnn wrote: "

Happy Sunday, NABC!

We have a special treat this week with the lovely Leisa Rayven joining us for a Q&A! Leisa is the author of Bad Romeo, [book:Broken Juliet|3..."

Hey, everyone! Thank you so much for having me for the past week. I thoroughly enjoyed all of your questions. Don't forget, if you ever have questions for me, I'm all around social media and am always happy to chat.

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Leisa x

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