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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Author Spotlight: Leigh Bennett

Firstly, when did you realize that you were a writer?

I have a tendency to start things, become completely obsessed, think it's my life's calling, then lose interest just as quickly. I realized I was a writer when I had been treating it like a hobby but discovered it was the only thing I kept coming back to so decided it was obviously where my heart was and was what I should be concentrating on.  

Do you have a specific writing style?  

I don't set out to be a literary genius or to change people's lives through my writing. I want my books to be somewhere to escape to for a few hours and come out happy.  

Can you tell me a little about the current projects you are working on and what stage of finish they are at?  

My first novel, Flirting with Magick is due out 14 February 2013 and is currently with the editor. 

I'm currently rewriting the first book in a new series.  The book is called Avalon's Child and the series is called Urban Fae. I'm hoping to release it later in the year.   After that I'll be finishing the second book in the Flirting with Magick series which is called Winter Park.  It's about a woman who discovers her new apartment is haunted.   

Is there a specific genre that you prefer to write for, and if so what is it and why?
I'm still trying to work it out as I enjoy reading so many different genre's. FWM is contemporary women's fiction and I do like writing about women and relationships so that's probably what I'll be writing the most. Avalon's Child surprised me as it is an urban fantasy story with faeries, probably aimed more at the Young Adult / New Adult group.  I've also got a teen romantic suspense floating around in my head. Generally I'm a sucker for a bit of romance so there will always be that in my books. 

 When did you start playing with the idea of writing a novel and what inspired it?  

 I think It's been something I had toyed with for some time but never seriously.  I was pregnant with my second child when I had the idea for Flirting with Magick.  It originated as a short story about a woman using a spell to get a new job and then I was thinking back to when I was single, living in inner Melbourne.  I had studied Music Business Management and subsequently worked at a record company so had hung out with a lot of bands and gone to plenty of gigs.   That's where the idea first came from.   Then I just started writing and couldn't stop.   

How hard has the journey been - both emotionally and mentally, on yourself as a writer?  

It was hard for me to take myself seriously, so that was really the first step, and I think I was just waiting to get bored, as I usually did.   It took a long time to treat it as more than a hobby and I kept it to myself for a long time. Only my husband really knew what I was doing and he has always been a massive support.  He was actually the one who suggested I drop everything else I was trying to do and just concentrate on writing.  Then when I finally took myself seriously, so much more opened up for me.  

Can you tell me what you've learned so far?
I wish I had known other writers when I first started out.   That's the first thing I tell new writers now.   Other writers offer so much support.    Also I've learned to be more discerning about what to keep what to get rid of and what to work on.   I've learned to just get the story out first and you can perfect it later.  

Some writers prefer to write in the morning, locked away in the study, others at night. What is your own writing process and are there certain quirks you have that are uniquely you? 

I have about four different places in my house where I write: on the couch, the dining table, my desk which is right beside the dining table so I can spread out and our other living area downstairs.  I usually just sit on the couch and have my headphones with music on while my family watch TV or play console games.   

Which writers inspire you?

I actually love hearing stories of writers who have had very little writing experience who just come up with an idea and just do it.  Marian Keyes is one such writer and she has also struggled with some personal demons, alcoholism and depression which she has been able to put into her books in a sensitive way without losing the wit and humour her books are known for.  She does a fabulous job of injecting darkness into otherwise lighthearted books.   Stephen King and J.K Rowling have also been a huge inspiration.   I love the way Susan Hill creates an eerie atmosphere and I love how Shirley Jackson can make you feel uncomfortable.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging when writing (Research, psychological, literary etc?    

 Trying to find the balance between writing for a decent stretch and fulfilling my home duties.    Not spending too much time on research.   Reminding myself that I'm no wordsmith so can only do my best before handing it to my editor. 

In your opinion what makes a book worth reading? 

Just the enjoyment I think -  something you come away with at the end, whether it just be a happy feeling or something you think about for days afterwards.  

As a writer, the changes to technology have both open and closed a number of literary doors. What do you think are both the good and bad points of the introduction of e-books

I think it's great that people who otherwise wouldn't be able to release a book are now able to as we don't necessarily have to go through a traditional publisher.   Unfortunately though, because it is easier I think there are so many published books that haven't gone through the rounds to become a top quality book.    There is still professional editing, quality covers, formatting which need to be carefully considered and it's a shame that the people who go through all that are lumped into the category with those who just  publish without going the extra mile.

And last Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

Hopefully still writing full time but actually earning something from it, having my name more known and people waiting anxiously for my next book to come out. I'm also hoping that eventually I will have the confidence to approach agents and try for more exposure with a traditional publisher.

Leigh Bennett's novel Flirting with Magick will be released on February 14th. For information on Leigh:

Website:  Coming soon.
Twitter: @LeightaBennett

1 comment:

  1. It was a fabulous interview. Thank you so much for having me :)


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