Author Spotlight

Recently, we were very lucky here at Joyfully Reviewed to have a very talented author take time out of her very busy schedule to answer  a few questions for us.
  Leslie Dicken/Jordanna Kay.

Have you always wanted to be a writer and when did you begin writing?
Ever since I was small, Iíve enjoyed writing. When I was in junior high, I wrote a few stories for fun and also wrote poetry. Then in college my roommate and I started writing about our adventures, but we never finished the book. I planned on becoming a high school business teacher, but that changed when I took economics and hated it. I switched to an English and Speech dual major. After I married and started a family, I no longer taught full-time. I began writing nonfiction when our oldest daughter was a toddler. I had several magazine articles published by the time I attended a romance writing conference in Cincinnati (I think it was in 1995) and it was sponsored by the Ohio Valley Romance Writers. I met many published authors and their enthusiasm was contagious. I decided to start writing fiction. I loved it but I got off to a slow start with six children at home.

It sounds like you have been creating stories for your whole life. Have you always known you wanted to be a writer?
As a little girl, I made up stories in my head.  On long car trips Iíd create a whole story just from seeing someone on the street or something.  It wasnít until high school that I started actually writing things down and thinking that I could be a ďwriter.Ē

Tell us a little about what makes youÖyou?
HmmmÖthis is hard!  People often describe me as surprising.  They often have an expectation off me because I start of shy and reserved, but then Iíll surprise them with something wild once Iím comfortable.  People at work had no idea I was writer and had a book out on the shelves.  Itís just not like me to brag or toot my own horn.

What else you want to know? J

How does the writing process work for you?  Do you plan the whole story out before starting or does the story come page by page?
Story typically comes page by page.  I often have a general idea, which changes over time.  Iím not much of a planner or plotter.  Both of my Jordanna Kay stories began as dreams Iíd had.  One of my historical started as a single line spoken by a character.  Then I just figure out the scene and then the next scene, etc.

I know you write in several different genres, do you have a favorite?
Historicals have always been my first love.  But I like the futuristic/fantasy world too.  I watched Star Trek with my dad as a kid and loved dreaming of what could be in the future.  But the sentimental part of me likes to live in the past with fairy-tales and castles.

Is it difficult to write under two pseudonyms? Is it like having an alter-ego?
Sometimes it is hard, mostly because of promotion. I want to grab all the readers I can, but I didnít want to confuse them either.  Now that I have several stories published under both Leslie Dicken and Jordanna Kay, Iím combining two websites to one.  Generally, although the time periods are vastly different, I think my voice is still my voice.

How do you find time to be a successful author while working a full-time job and raising a family?
Good question!  I donít write stories as fast as Iíd like, nor do I have as many done during a year.  Sometimes I write for several hours a week.  Sometimes I go weeks without writing.  Generally, I try to dedicate 1.5-2 hours a day for writing.  Itís not my family time that I sacrifice, but TV time.  There are lots of good TV shows Iíve never seen.

How does your family feel about your writing? Are they wildly supportive and do they read your workÖthose who are old enough?
While they are quite supportive, no one in my immediate family has read anything.  My husband isnít interested in romances and my kids are too young.  They are very excited that I have book out in the stores though.  However, my sister, father, mother, mother-in-law and other extended family members have read my novel.  That can be a strange experience, actually.

Who are some of your favorite authors and who are you reading now?
As for historicals, my two favorites are Jennifer St. Giles and Julia Ross.  Otherwise, my favorite reads are from my fellow writing pals, some of whom have sold their first books and others who are just a tiny step away.

Any advice for aspiring writers?
Keep writing.  Try different avenues of publication.  Although my first dream was to be published by a NY publisher, I decided to submit other stories to epubs.  This has really helped me to learn about the publishing process, what it takes to promote, how to work with editors, what to look for in contracts, etc.  The list goes on and on.  Iím not pushing one method of publishing over another; just donít overlook possible learning opportunities or quality publishers.

If you could bring a character to life, who would it be and why?
Iíd love to bring to life the hero of the historical gothic Iím working on now.  This story finalled in the 2006 Golden Heart and I just love the fascinating combination of tortured vulnerability and alpha masculinity he possesses.

How do you celebrate after finishing a book or meeting a deadline?
When I first started out, my husband would take me out to dinner.  Now I get a hug and a ďgood luck.Ē  Guess I should celebrate somehow, huh?

What is your perfect writing environment?  Do you need quiet or can you write anywhere?
I really prefer quiet, not even music.  However, desperation has led me to using my laptop while spending time with my husband.  Iíll write during commercials or breaks in our conversations.

Do you have a writing schedule you follow?  A certain number of hours a day, certain days of the week, or just when the mood strikes?
I had been very consistent in writing each weeknight from 8:30 to 11:00 or so.  Recently computer issues, revisions and moving the household have gotten in the way of my schedule.

Can you tell us a little about what you have coming up?
In March, my first historical full-length novel will be out from Triskelion.  Look for SECRET INTENTIONS by Leslie Dicken.  Iíll finish up my gothic and get that out to my agent for shopping around.  As for Jordanna Kay, I hope very soon to write the next story after TABOO.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Currently I have a contest running where if you take a picture of THE PRICE OF DISCOVERY on a bookstore bookshelf and send it to me; Iíll send you a prize.  Iím very interested to know where my book is out in the country.

Also, as I mentioned earlier, my websites are undergoing revisions.  So bear with me a bit until I combine them.  Both can still be found at the following URLs:

Iím part of group blog, Writes Across Time.  Check it out!





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