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.
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
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
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
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
Can you tell us a little about what you have
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
part of group blog, Writes Across Time. Check it out!