Interview: Leigh D’Ansey

One reason I enjoy talking with authors is that I’m always impressed with how hard they work to get their writing published. Oftentimes they work as freelancers, or in other “day jobs,” all while pursuing the writing life. To that end, it’s exciting for me to introduce Leigh D’Ansey today as she releases her brand new romance book Kincaid’s Call. Leigh is a talented writer and artist who has published short stories, children’s literature, and freelance articles. Enjoy this interview.

You’ve got a brand new romance book coming out! How exciting! Tell us about it. What do you hope readers take away from it?

Thanks, Cherie – it sure is exciting! This is my first full-length romance, the culmination of a lo-o-ng apprenticeship. My hero, Nathan Kincaid and heroine, Kate Summers have lived with me for years so I’m especially thrilled they’re able to tell their story at last. It was an exciting day when I received the acceptance from The Wild Rose Press.

I hope readers will find Nathan a strong as well as insightful and tender hero who won’t allow past tragedies to barricade him from loving the woman he’s meant to be with. I hope readers will enjoy Kate’s vibrant personality, her passion and loyalty, and her determination to stand up for what she wants. I’d love it if readers smile in some parts and maybe shed a tear in others, because I certainly did while I was writing. And, of course, I hope readers will take away the desire to read more because I’m hard at work on my next romance.

You mention on your website that your “heroes and heroines are flawed, intense, passionate, and sexy.” Sounds like the perfect mix! Who is your favorite character? Any that are like you?

Mmm, this is tricky! I think all characters must contain elements of the writer – or maybe qualities the writer wishes she had (or not). Because “Kincaid’s Call” is my first published novel (I’ve had short stories, children’s literature and freelance published) I suspect Nathan and Kate will always be close to my heart – although Jack McAllister and Sam Ryan from my current WIP are certainly vying for attention! I see myself as more of an introverted observer than someone who’s ‘out there’ but I like to create characters who are larger than life, so I can’t say that any of my characters in romance are like me. Perhaps in some of my short stories the characters are a little more similar to me.

Share some of your writing goals. What’s next for you?

I’m hard at work on another romance. This one will also be around 50,000 words. After that I’d like to tackle something more complex, still in the romance genre. An intergenerational saga is also somewhere in the future. I’m in my 50s so my central goal is that within the next couple of years I’ll be able to progressively downsize my ‘day job’ and spend the rest of my professional life (which I hope to be very long) as a working writer.

What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?

According to Mary Magdalene by Swedish author Marianne Frederiksson: a fictional account of Mary Magdalene’s life and relationship with Jesus that invites readers to consider an old story from a new and unorthodox perspective.

Favorite authors?

There are too many! My grounding in romance came via scores of Mills and Boon romances, Georgette Heyer, Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, Barbara Cartland and Catherine Cookson among many others. Joanna Trollope, Margaret Drabble, Joyce Carole Oates, Isabel Allende, Jodi Picoult and Anita Shreve are among my favourites, as are New Zealand writers Elizabeth Knox, Shonagh Koea and Patricia Grace. I return many times to the Brontë sisters and Jane Austen. I like crime writers such as Elizabeth George, PD James, Ruth Rendall, Minette Walters, Kathy Reichs and Tami Hoag. Marian Keyes is a great choice for chick-lit. Two of my favourite heroes are Augustus McRae from Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry, and Sean Courtney of When the Lion Feeds by Wilbur Smith. Sometimes I like to go to the library and just grab a bunch of books and see what comes up.

Book you’re currently reading?

I’m presently reading Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult which looks at the complex reasons behind why a young man would go on a shooting rampage at his school. I’ve just finished a book by Barbara Delinsky called While My Sister Sleeps which raised questions about how a family copes when one of their members has suffered profound brain damage and is dependent upon life support.

In your opinion, what’s the measure of a successful writer?

I think a writer is successful when he or she delivers what the reader is looking for at any particular time. Sometimes this might be a simple romance with a happy-ever-after ending. Other times it might be something more complex, encouraging readers to explore issues such as those in the novels by Jodi Picoult and Barbara Delinksy mentioned above. While it’s important to tie up all the loose ends in a logical way, I think writers are also successful when their novels raise questions and encourage readers to look a little deeper, perhaps to explore events and issues beyond the end of the book. Writers are successful when they create vivid, memorable characters. Characters from classics such as Jane Eyre and Heathcliffe spring to mind, but some of my other favourites are Sean Courtney from When the Lion Feeds and Penelope Keeling from the Shell Seekers by Rosamund Pilcher.

Advice for other writers?

For yet-to-be published writers: don’t give up! Learn all you can. Join writing groups, make contacts and network with other writers both published and un-published. While it’s important to have depth of knowledge in your genre, read widely and try to analyse how writers have constructed their stories and characters. Be cautious about whom you share your work with – friends and family are not usually the best critique partners. A thoughtless comment from someone who doesn’t really understand the craft of writing or a particular genre, can be paralysing for a new writer. NEVER pay someone to publish your work: check out writer Laura Resnick’s take on self-publishing and vanity publishing. Writing is a job and like any other job, you must do it as often and as well as you can in order to develop your craft. Be respectful of other writers. Keep the faith!

Where can we learn more about you?

Please visit my website or my blog .

Anything else you’d like to add?

Don’t be afraid to be a writer. Submit your work to publishers, newspapers, magazines. Enter competitions. It can be risky putting yourself into the public arena, but be bold – it’s worth it!

Leigh D’Ansey’s debut novel, Kincaid’s Call is available as an e-book from The Wild Rose Press.

Thanks for the great questions and for inviting me to guest on your Working Writers Blog!

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